I got so many messages about the chandelier that I posted on Instagram the other day, so today I wanted to walk y’all through how to choose a Sputnik chandelier.
One of the first items that we knew we would be changing in our new home was the light fixtures. It’s funny that you can live in rentals for years and barely even notice semi-permanent features like light fixtures, then, the minute you own a place, it’s like “OMG! There’s NO way I can live with these horrendous ceiling lights!”
So, we took to selling the existing fixtures and replacing them one-by-one. The first fixture that we were able to agree on was a Sputnik chandelier over the kitchen table.
WHAT IS A SPUTNIK CHANDELIER
You’ve probably seen this style of chandelier on Instagram or Pinterest. It’s a staple among mid-century design lovers and its origins date back to the time in our history known as the “Atomic Age”—roughly 1940-1960. This was a time when the race into space was on everyone’s mind and the Sputnik was the first satellite to orbit the Earth, way back in 1957.
This space obsession didn’t stop with science nerds, it influenced all verticals of the American lifestyle, including interior design. The iconic Sputnik chandelier is a child of that time and its shape, which features multiple arms that extend out from a center globe, each holding a light bulb, mimics that of its namesake Sputnik satellite.
Funny enough, when I showed my parents a bit of the inspiration for our new condo, my mom said that their first house actually had one of these Sputnik chandeliers in it.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SPUTNIK CHANDELIER
So, when it came to actually select the lighting fixture for the space above our dining table, we found ourselves wondering how to choose a sputnik chandelier. There were SO many options. Most of what I had included on our “New Home” Pinterest board was fairly classic in regards to the Sputnik shape, but, as we started looking, we found so many interesting styles. Some leaned more glam, others more industrial, others more modern.
Eventually, we decided that we did want to stick to the mid-century Sputnik style and that we’d use a classic chandelier formula to select the size. Measurements alone allowed us to cut our options down significantly. Standard formulas tell you to choose a chandelier that’s 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your dining table. With ours measuring 42″, that meant we wanted to be around 30″ for our chandelier (assuming we wanted to be on the higher end of sizing to make more of an impact). I also didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg considering, you know, we just bought a condo. So, this 8-light Sputnik chandelier from Amazon was the answer. At $89, how could we not go with this one? It was super easy to put together, easy to install, and it’s exactly the look we were going for.
Wondering about some of the other styles we considered? Here are a few for you.
WHAT ABOUT THE LIGHT BULBS?
If you’re going to go with a retro-inspired light fixture, you should go with retro-inspired light bulbs, right?! We decided to go with globe-shaped Edison bulbs to add a bit more visual volume to the chandelier. In an ideal world, we would have gone for the 12-light chandelier, rather than the 8, but the diameter just didn’t fit with our table. Fortunately, the globe bulbs were able to give us the full look we wanted.
Into the classic Edison bulb style? These were the ones we originally ordered and I’m obsessed with the wiring detail in the interior of the bulb.
You’ll want to choose a soft white or a warm white for the bulbs—for us, the soft white was the right choice. Warm white was a bit too, well, warm. The soft white is bright enough to light our space, while maintaining the integrity of our home’s color palette. Our next project? Installing a dimmer switch.
A FEW FINAL NOTES
I mentioned earlier in this post that we’ve been working on switching out all the light fixtures in our condo and, not surprisingly, I’ve gotten quite a few questions on whether we actually did this ourselves. In fact, we did! Two decidedly not-DIYers were able to tackle both taking the old fixtures down and replacing them with new ones (spoiler alert: taking them down is way easier than installing them).
While I’ll never be a DIY expert, I will do a post in the coming weeks about exactly how to install a light fixture. It’s surprisingly easy and, as long you turn off the breaker (or every breaker in the house to be safe, as I do), you’re totally fine to mess with the electrical wiring. Stay tuned—there’s more to come.