How hard can it be to find a statement light???
Any blog followers will know that I recently committed to a house rewire. As part of the rewire, I opted to buy the new lights for the entire house and get them fitted straightaway. However, one particular light set me off on something of a quest. Who knew it would be so hard to find a statement light for the hallway?
The challenge with my hallway is, it reaches the full height of the house, which is about 6 metres. So any normal sized room light is just lost in the space. The light in the picture is on a metre length chain, and as you can see it’s still lost at the top of the hall. The light from 3 bulbs isn’t really enough to illuminate the big space either.
Pretty basic requirements, you’d think:
- A light fitting which is ideally at least 75cm long, on a chain at least 1.5M long
- At least 5 bulbs to provide a good light to illuminate the space
- Contains chrome and crystal/glass, to match with the other light fittings I’ve gone for. I’m working on an art deco style, which fits with the style of the house, which was built in 1929
- Less than £1000. Ideally, a lot less than that! But you’ll see why my budget expanded as you read on…
4 requirements and a generous budget. How hard can that be?
What do local lighting shops have to offer?
So I started off with all the lighting shops in my area.
Learning 1: No lighting shops generally keep large fittings in stock. They they have nowhere to display them, and a limited number of people looking for them. They will give you all the main manufacturer’s lighting catalogues to look through instead.
Two of my local shops were prepared to order in lights for me. In the first case, it was a light that could be returned if I didn’t like it.
Thanks to Lightbox in Scarborough for getting the light in for me to view.
In the case of the second shop, BJ Lighting in Scarborough generously agreed to order in a light, taking the risk I wouldn’t like it and it might take them some time to sell. However the owner chose from my shortlist, as understandably he wanted to pick the one he felt had the most chance of finding a buyer. So I got to see another light, but not necessarily the one that was top of my list!
The fitting in the picture above has cool white light bulbs installed – you can see the light is a lot whiter than in some of the other pictures. I’ll be doing another post about different types of bulbs in future – but they matter
Can you go direct to the manufacturer?
Next step in the search: having looked through all the catalogues in the shops, I realised there are only 3 or 4 big lighting manufacturers. So then I investigated whether those manufacturers have showrooms the public can visit.
Learning 2: Most light manufacturers would prefer you to deal with lighting shops! So there is a catch 22 scenario at play. Some do have a showroom open to the public, but of course they will only have one in the UK. So whether you can visit depends on where you live and how prepared you are to travel.
I did travel to the closest showroom to me, which was Searchlight’s in Manchester. Whilst the staff were not terribly friendly to a retail customer spending a few hours turning on every single light in the showroom, it did give me an opportunity to view their entire range, which was really helpful.
I rather liked the Dorchester, above, but it was outside my price range!
Impex lighting do deserve a special mention for being really helpful. I couldn’t get to their showroom near London, but their rep gave me a web virtual tour of the lights I was interested in and sent me a lot of photos of them hanging in the showroom.
Learning 3: Sadly, the big manufacturers are not prepared to alter fittings, for example by extending the length of cables/chains. They prefer you find an electrician to do this for you. This can invalidate any manufacturers guarantee, so think carefully before going that route!
Does Ebay have the answer?
I spent quite a LOT of time exhaustively searching Ebay options. Within my budget, there wasn’t really anything large enough. I did find one company who were prepared to extend the length of chain and light flex in a fitting
The DUSX 12 arm light from EbayThis light was available in a range of finishes. It’s not quite the style I was looking for though.
There must be something online, somewhere then, surely?
Next step – try ALL the online companies. I went through all the big retailers: John Lewis, Debenhams, Next, Marks and Spencer, and so on. NOTHING was big enough for the space. I also had a good look through the extensive selection on Wayfair. Plenty of lights which are quite large in themselves, but they still didn’t have long chains!
Learning 4: As standard, most lights have a chain either 50 or 75cm long. Sometimes they go up to one metre long, but that’s your lot!
This light from Debenhams looks great, but it doesn’t have the chain length or fitting length I was looking for.
Lesson 5: Even when a lit seems to meet all your requirements on paper, it might not in reality.
I thought I’d hit the jackpot with this one: right style, right length, good price:
The order was placed and a couple of weeks later, a light arrived! However…..
Issue one: the fitting was marked. It should never have made it out of the factory.
Issue two: the cable was a full 30cm shorter than advertised! So not suitable for the space
The light went back. Epic fail.
Auctions were about the only option I didn’t investigate. I don’t have many local auction rooms and wasn’t really in a position to wait for the right thing to come up. I didn’t want to get into potential re-wiring of fittings either. If time is on your side and you are prepared to consider re-wiring a fitting, I would strongly recommend this option though!
I feel like the Goldilocks of the lighting world! Nothing was ever quite right. But this was my shortlist:
- Right length, wrong style
The DUSX Charlotte 12 light. It’s available in different finishes, and the manufacturers were prepared to increase the length on this one. But it wasn’t really the style I was looking for.
2. Wrong colour, good price: the make do option
The quality is amazing. It’s also a really good price – currently on sale at £100! It is in the art deco style I’m looking for. However it’s gold, and I’m looking for a silver finish. It’s not really big enough, either in width, or length of chain.
3. Right style, too large? The most expensive of the shortlist
4. Right style, too small? And the wrong hanging mechanism – I really wanted a light hung from a chain, rather than the more modern wires.
5. Right style, right hanging mechanism, too short, possibly too small
As I write, I have chosen an option, but it hasn’t been fitted yet. I don’t think I’ll know if it’s the right option until it’s in place and I’ve had chance to get used to it. So that’s the saga so far – what would you choose? Any suggestions for how to find a good light for a tall space?
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