Chandeliers have withstood the test of time. Originally ornate candelabras hung from the ceiling, chandeliers are now available in a range of sizes and shapes (all using modern electricity, of course). From classic iron fixtures to intriguing sculptural designs, this method of lighting can be used in virtually any home, in just about any space. The secret is in knowing how to select the right fixture. Consider these decorating tips for choosing the perfect chandelier for your space.
Tip One: Consider the Dimensions
Before you can start chandelier shopping, you need to know which size to look for. After all, you want a chandelier that will fit well and look natural in the space.
Determine the Diameter
When choosing a chandelier that will light an entire room, a good formula to use is this:
Room’s width (feet) + room’s length (feet) = chandelier diameter (inches).
Example: 15ft. + 10ft. = 25in. diameter
When choosing a chandelier that will light a section of the room, use the same formula but with the specific area’s length and width. So:
Specific area’s width (feet) + specific area’s length (feet) = chandelier diameter (inches).
Determine the Chandelier’s Height
When choosing a ceiling fixture, you want to be careful not to select something that is too large (which will dominate the space) or too small (which will be swallowed up and overlooked). Oftentimes, designers will use this formula to select a chandelier with the perfect height: take the height of the room (in feet) and multiply it by 2.5 or 3. Then, convert that number to inches.
Example: 10ft. x 3 = 30 inches.
Determine the Height Between Fixture and Floor
Last but not least, you will want to choose a chandelier that hangs an appropriate distance from the floor. After all, you don’t want anyone bumping their head or straining to see where the light source is coming from. A good rule of thumb is to choose a fixture that hangs at least seven feet from the floor if your ceiling is eight feet or taller.
Tip Two: Consider the Room
The perfect chandelier is complementary to the room it’s hanging in. A sculptural or vintage mid-century chandelier works phenomenally in an open and airy dining room. Conversely, a circular wrought-iron chandelier with candle-shaped bulbs looks exquisite in a Spanish-style living space with tall ceilings.
Special Considerations for Dining Rooms
When choosing a chandelier for a dining room, there are a few guidelines to consider:
- The chandelier itself should be 12 inches narrower than the surface of the dining table.
- The bottom of the chandelier should hang no less than 30-34 inches above the dining table.
- In a perfect world, the chandelier should be one-half to two-thirds the length of the dining table.
Special Considerations for Entryways
Entryway chandeliers are often stunning and lend warm light to an otherwise dark space. When choosing a fixture for your entry, consider the ceiling height and placement. Ensure that when you hang the chandelier, it doesn’t interfere with the door as it opens and closes. Additionally, if you have a stairwell in your entry, ensure no one bumps their head while going up or down the stairs.
Special Considerations for Kitchens
Chandeliers are stunning in kitchens. In addition to providing much-needed light, these fixtures can add character and a sense of completeness to the space.
When installing a chandelier in your kitchen, one major factor to consider besides the ceiling height is the length of the counter over which it will hang. Chandeliers are often hung over islands, and depending on the island’s length, two or maybe even three smaller chandeliers may be better than one large fixture.
Choosing the Right Style
Once you know what size chandelier you need for your space, it’s time to move on to the fun part—choosing the style.
Chandeliers are available in a wide range of design styles, so you are likely to find a fixture that matches your space perfectly. Some design styles include:
Chandeliers are also available in many shapes, including:
Consider the Room’s Décor
Above all, chandeliers should complement a space. Oftentimes, they are the one component that ties an entire room together. Overall, a chandelier should blend well with the room’s décor.
Some additional design tips for choosing the perfect chandelier include:
- Consider the walls. Are the walls covered in a richly colored, heavily printed wallpaper? Ornate wood paneling? A simple, bright white? Choose a chandelier that doesn’t get lost in the details and can hold its own.
- Consider the elements of the room. If your home features artistic elements, such as an ornate stairwell or stunning fireplace, you may want to use a chandelier to complement those pieces. Or, if your home is relatively stark, you may want to choose a sculptural chandelier to add intrigue.
- Consider the theme of the room. A beachy-themed space could call for white fixtures, or fixtures with wicker shades. An industrial space could call for a unique sputnik-shaped chandelier. Furthermore, a boho-style sunroom could call for a beaded fixture.
Choose the Perfect Color
It’s easy to be overcome by color choices. However, it’s manageable if you sift through the options and determine the best colored fixture for your space. All you need to do is choose a color that complements the rest of the room. For example, brass fixtures look stunning against a jewel-toned feature wall or row of cabinets. Black fixtures are gorgeous in rooms with white walls, or walls painted a light neutral color.
Choose the Right Texture
From shades to bases, chandeliers are available in a plethora of textures. Some of the most common textures for chandelier bases and components include:
You will also need to decide between a matte finish or a shiny, glossy finish. When it comes to choosing the texture of a chandelier, the goal is to select something that goes well with the rest of the room but also adds to the character and atmosphere of the space. A wicker or linen lampshade could create an airy feel, while wooden components could contribute to a cozy, lodge-like setting.