Chandelier Buyer's Guide

Chandeliers add elegance to any space, and the look is more versatile - and affordable - than you might think.

When you think of chandeliers, you might picture cartoonish dollar signs — they’re often associated with the wealthy– but, in fact, you can find a wide range of affordable chandeliers on the market. Chandeliers come in all types of styles, sizes, and price points, compared to industrial chandelier. Just about any consumer that’s considering a new light fixture for their home can find one that’s within their price range and matches the style of their space. All you have to do is look.

If you like the idea of adding some classy style to your home with a new chandelier, we can help. This buyer’s guide will take you through the main types of chandeliers available and factors you should consider in your search.

Types of Chandeliers

Chandeliers are far from basic in style. Some are fancy, like those you may picture accentuating a palace ballroom. Some are more modern and offer a simpler style. Others provide an old-fashioned look with candelabras updated for the modern era to be electric. In other words, when it comes to buying a chandelier, you’ve got plenty of options. Here are six of the most common types of chandeliers you will be choosing from.

Chandelier with Shades

If you’ve been looking at other types of lighting fixtures, then you’ll know that “lights that come with shades” is a common category, regardless of the type of fixture you're looking at. Chandeliers are no different.

Shaded chandeliers are available in a wide array of colors and styles, but in all cases, they do the double duty of adding a visual element to the chandelier while also somewhat dimming how much light it puts out. If you want softer lighting from your chandelier, or simply like the look of a chandelier with shades, then this is a category worth considering.

Tiered Chandeliers

If your ceiling as are high enough to safely install one, a tiered luxury chandelier can add a majestic look to your space. Like it sounds, a tiered chandelier will have multiple levels of lights. Perhaps the most common, are chandeliers that have two tiers of lights. However, it’s not hard to find a chandelier that offers three, four, or five tiers of lights.

Candelabra Chandeliers

Many of the modern chandeliers of the past held candles. Candelabra, or candle style chandeliers, borrow this idea to keep a classic, old-fashioned look, while updating the technology behind it to add safety and convenience. You can get the historical look of a candle-filled chandelier by simply flipping a switch (and without burning your house down).

Crystal Chandeliers

When you picture fancy, sparkling chandeliers from movies or the homes of the wealthy, the crystal chandelier is likely what comes to mind. Many crystal chandeliers will be costly, as you’d expect, but you can actually find plenty that fall in a reasonable price range for customers looking on the lower end of the chandelier price spectrum.

Drum Chandeliers

Drum chandeliers have a shade around the light or lights in the shape of a drum. This technically makes them a subset of the chandeliers with shades category, but they’re popular enough on their own to mention separately. The shades you’ll see on drum chandeliers can come in a number of different materials and often offer some extra design to the overall effect of the chandelier.

Mini Chandeliers

Chandeliers are often thought of as something grand, which in our imaginations usually also means large. If you want the elegance of a chandelier in one of the smaller spaces in your home though, you can find plenty of options in the mini-chandelier category. Mini chandeliers are available in a wide array of style types and at many different price points, so don’t let size stop you from going after the light fixture of your choice.

What is a downlight?

The downlight definition can vary depending on whom you ask, but generally speaking, downlighting refers to any light that is mounted in a high place and aimed downward at a surface, object, or general area, like a spotlight. The term is often used interchangeably with “recessed lights”, which are downlights that have been mounted within an opening in the ceiling.

Recessed downlights,also known as can lights or pot lights, are an excellent choice for many residential and commercial applications. These versatile lights give a clean, modern and attractive look to their surroundings and will work in practically any room. Homeowners and business owners can use them in a variety of ways for general lighting or to highlight specific parts of a room.

What are the common uses of recessed downlights?

They can provide ambient or general light to give broad, even light to an entire room. Alternatively, they can provide accent lighting, highlighting a painting, sculpture or other object that warrants attention. Recessed downlights can be used as task lighting over work desks, providing concentrated light on a project. Finally, these lights can be used for wall-washing to make a room look bigger and more attractive.

Recessed downlights typically require three primary components for installation. Even so, they’re not particularly difficult to install.


The first thing you’ll need is a housing to contain the light. The housing is hidden above the ceiling and encloses all the parts of the downlight fixture. Sometimes the housing is purchased separately and sometimes it is integrated into the full fixture. When choosing recessed lighting, an important consideration of the housing is whether or not you need it to be insulated or air tight (AT). Insulated (IC-rated) housings mean that the downlight is allowed to be in direct contact with the insulation that is above the ceiling. This is important if you need to maintain a continuous thermal break or need continuous insulation coverage between two floors of a building. Downlight housings that are AT prevent the conditioned air leakage below the ceiling from seeping into the unconditioned plenum space above. This air sealing will save on heating and cooling costs.

In addition to the housing, recessed lights also require trim. The trim is the finished portion of the downlight that you see below the ceiling. It comes in many different styles that can manipulate the light in different ways as well as provide different desirable aesthetics. Reflector (also called multiplier) trims provide the most light by reflecting the light from the light source, which increase its brightness and effect. Baffle trims are useful in providing a matte, diffused light output that reduces glare. Adjustable (also called eyeball) trims allows you to swivel and direct the light at a particular object. Shower lens trim is waterproof, which makes it perfect not just for showers and bathrooms, but for any place where water might be an issue — including outdoor installations. Wall wash trim masks off a portion of the downlight’s aperture to direct it in one direction only.

Finally, you must select a light source to provide the actual illumination in your recessed lighting. The types of bulbs you can use in recessed lighting include halogen, fluorescent, incandescent, and LED. Each of these bulbs has its pros and cons. The housing usually includes instructions from the manufacturer on suggested bulb types, which makes your choice easier. In addition, most LED surface mounted downlight trims contain an integrated LED module and have no need for separate bulbs. The experienced staff at Take Three Lighting is always ready to help you with your choice of bulbs, trim and housing or with any questions you may have.

Also, LED Street lights are becoming more the norm than the exception due to lower prices, better technology and more demand for energy efficiency. With savings of our 70% compared to HIDs, Metal Halide and High Pressure sodium, the energy savings is pushing LED street lights into the very mainstream. The MH and HPS have been the dominant light sources for the last 30 years, but Light Emitting Diodes are taking over faster than ever.
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