The chandelier can be a magnificent focal point in any dining room or kitchen. There are so many to choose from. Are you looking for one now? Before you do any shopping for a light fixture, know the size you need first. Below are great tips on how to determine size, hanging height and the style.
Choose The Right Size:
You don't want your tall guests bumping their heads on your chandelier as they get up from their seats. And you do not want to have to get out a magnifying glass to see your chandelier. So let's get the size right. Get a measuring tape. Measure the width of your table and minus one foot. For example, if your dining table is 38" wide, you will be looking for a chandelier that is 26". The reason for this is so you don't end up with a light that looks too small or too large over your table. As you know, I say 'go big or go home' so keep in mind that if you fall for a light that is a few inches larger than the calculated size, go for it; just hang it a bit higher.
Choose the right height:
You never want to hear a guest across your table say "I can hear you but can only see crystal droplets in front of me". This means the light was hung too low.
There should be 30 to 36" from tabletop to bottom of your light fixture if you have an 8 foot ceiling. For each additional foot of ceiling height add 3 inches to the light height (i.e. for 9 foot ceiling the light should hang down 33 to 39").
I have a trick that I always use to make sure my light height will work. It is a great visual tool. You will need measuring tape, string and painter's tape.
Grab a ladder or if sturdy enough, climb up on your table and tape one end of the string to the spot from where the light will hang. Now let the string hang down to the table. Climb down the ladder or table. Using the measuring tape, determine the 30-36" from table top to bottom of light fixture. Cut the string at that height.
KEEP THIS TRICK IN MIND if you are using lights that include stems instead of a chain (i.e. pendants). Calculating the height based on the length of the stems you are given is VERY IMPORTANT.
Choosing The Right Style:
Glance around your space. What are the fin-
ishes on the hardware in the room? The light you choose could have a complementary finish. What style are you trying to capture? Cut down on lighting choices by going after a particular style. Pick up on details like squares, circles, swirls and look for a chandelier that incorporates the same. Look to your dining table shape for inspiration. If it is round use a round chandelier to balance it.
Are there a lot of heavy furniture pieces? Choose an airy large light with glam factor to keep up with the boldness of the furniture without weighing it down.
Also think about the functions you will require from your light fixture.If you need good lighting use a down light, think about opting out of shades so the bulbs are exposed; also find a chandelier with more arms for more light. Remember to use the appropriate bulbs and add a dimmer to vary brightness because chandeliers are not just pretty to look at, they are so you can see your food and enjoy your wine with friends!!
For those of you who want to hang a chandelier elsewhere in your home (not over a dining table) there are typically two rules most designers follow.
1. Measure the height of the room and allow 2.5 to 3 inches for each foot of height. According to this formula, if your room has an 8 foot tall ceiling, you would multiply 8 x 2.5 inches and 8 x 3 inches, to arrive at a light fixture that is between 20 to 24 inches in height (but see comments below).
2. A chandelier also needs to be proportionate to the room size. Add the width and length of the room together in feet and convert that figure to inches to come up with the correct width of the chandelier. For example, in my office, the room measures 10 feet by 13 feet. You add 10 + 13 together to get 23 inches in diameter.
Don't forget, when you have lower ceilings, you can always make a decorative statement with lighting by using dramatic sconces on your walls, and with beautiful floor or table lamps.
Hopefully, these basic tips and guidelines will help you when next you're in the market for a chandelier. Contact us to learn more about our Interior Design Services!
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