Lighting is an important part of any home and can make or break a well-designed room in the flip of a switch. I realized the other week after receiving an email from a reader that I have not touched on this important (and sometimes tricky) topic in quite a while. She was wondering, as I am sure many are, on how to pick chandeliers for the dining room, kitchen, bedroom and family room. What are the styles available? What size is required? How do we hang them?! While hanging them isn’t my specialty (thank goodness for electricians!), I do have some tips for selecting the ideal light for your rooms. Side note: I LOVE getting reader requests and suggestions for these articles! I am here to help so knowing what you lovelies are looking for just gives me an excuse to dig deep into my décor knowledge and provide!
Back to the matter at hand – the ever-elegant and eye-catching chandelier. While builders’ lights can technically get the job done and prevent stubbed toes and knocked over knick-knacks, they are also often an eye sore that I want to replace as soon as possible. Lighting is a statement maker and is one of the first things you notice when walking into a room. A well designed and placed light fixture can take a room from a 7 to a 10. We’ve come a long way since the original candle chandelier days of fire hazards past, and there are now hundreds of styles to choose from when adding lights to your home. I personally love the grandeur of an elegant and over-the-top chandelier in the right situation, usually in the entry way or grand room of the home where the ceiling height and space allow it to fully shine. Few things are as disappointing as a crowded chandelier!
I also suggest utilizing what I would consider more “every day” options like pendants and lanterns for high traffic areas where you want style but more importantly, functionality. These spots include bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms to name a few. However, the type and style of your light fixture ultimately comes down to the use, size, and shape of your room.
The math for figuring out the size for an open room chandelier or light fixture (meaning that you are just centering it in the middle of the room) is quite simple to do. Start by taking the width of the room in feet and then add the length of the room in feet. For example, if my open living room is 20 feet by 15 feet, my number would be 35, which means I would be looking for a light fixture that is around 36 inches wide. When it comes to the height of the chandelier the usual rule of thumb is about two inches per foot (some might say three inches, but I don’t like for my tall guests to have to duck!). This means that an eight-foot ceiling would be able to accommodate a 16-inch-tall fixture. In the shop we tend to place our lights a little differently and center them in our displays instead of by room due to our open concept and vignettes. This means we center our fixtures above our beds in our bedroom settings or over the coffee table in our living rooms, which is a great tip for creating individual spaces when working with an open floor plan!
Things change a bit when centering a light fixture over a specific table or area in a room. If you are going to have a chandelier in your dining room, I highly suggest centering the fixture over the table, or else it can look like you accidently put your table in the wrong spot! The ability to do this depends on the shape of the room and lines of your ceiling but it’s a good place to start. To get technical, a light fixture over a table should be at least 12 inches narrower than the table (same goes for length to avoid bumps and bruises) and have about 45 inches of space from each of the walls in the room. So, if your table is 85 inches long, you could potentially have a fixture that is up about 72 inches long. Sometimes it can be hard or impractical to get a light that large, which is where multiple fixtures make a great solution. I love the look of matching pendants over a long table or kitchen island. I suggest trying to keep them anywhere from 25-30 inches apart when using smaller scale fixtures and keeping them 30 to 35 inches above table height.
Still having trouble getting started? Our designers are here to help assist you in finding the chandelier in the perfect size, color, shape, and material for your home without the hassle! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or make an appointment online to get started. Or come on by the shop to browse our selection! In honor of our 40th Anniversary we will have all in-stock lamps and lighting 15% off only on October 23rd so don’t miss out! Mary Carol will even be with us from 10:00am – 2:00pm that day to celebrate! Until next time – happy decorating.