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How to Pick the Best Size Chandelier for your Room

By Susan Welch Heeney, ASID, Decorating Studio, LLC

Whether you are selecting a chandelier or light fixture for your Dining Room or Foyer/Entry Hall, it can be confusing to decide on which size is best. Then, once you determine the correct size of light fixture, how do you determine at what height to hang it?

It’s really not too hard if you follow some tips that Interior Designers and Decorators use when selecting and handing chandeliers.

Visual Weight of the Chandelier for a Dining Room

Before following the guidelines below, keep in mind that the style and heaviness of the light fixture will affect what size you need to go with. A visually heavy chandelier can go more towards a smaller diameter. A visually light chandelier can be a little wider in diameter.

ChandelierSize Over the Dining Room Table

One universally correct formula for determining the correct size light fixture for the Dining Room is to go with a fixture that has a diameter that is half the diameter (or width) of the tabletop. For instance, if the Dining Room table is a rectangle of 48” wide x 72” long, a chandelier that is approximately 24” (half of the 48” width of the table) in diameter would look fabulous. If the table is a 60” round diameter, a 30” diameter chandelier would be appropriate.

If you want to hang two chandeliers over an exceptionally long dinging room table (for example a table that is approximately 54” wide x 120” long), then if you select chandeliers that are 1/3 the width of the table and hang them centered on each end of the table that would be correct. Therefore each chandelier would be approximately 18” in diameter.

The height of the actual chandelier should be determined on the ceiling height of the room. Many Designers follow the rule of allowing 2 ½” – 3” for each foot of a rooms height. Using this calculation, a room that has an 8’ ceiling can use a chandelier that is approximately 20” to 24” in height. If the ceiling is 10 feet high, than a light fixture that is 25” to 30” would look more appropriate.

The chandelier should be hung centered over the table (unless you are installing more than 1 fixture over the table) and the bottom of the light fixture should be about 30” above the table top.

Dining Room chandeliers should always have a dimmer switch so that you can use the Dining Room for a multiple of activities from romantic dinners to a study area for the kids.

Chandelier Size for a Foyer or Entry Hall

When you don’t have a table to help you determine the width of the chandelier you need for a room, you base the size on the overall room dimensions. One easy favorite that rarely fails is to 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, if an Entry Hall is only 8’ x 6’, you would add 8 + 6 together which equals 14, but instead of 14 feet, it would indicate that a 14” diameter chandelier would work best.

If a room is larger, say 10’ x 18’, you would figure the diameter of the chandelier by the following formula:

10 + 18 = 28 (Therefore, a 28” diameter chandelier would fit the room proportionately.)

It makes sense that the higher the ceiling the taller the chandelier should be so that it will look balanced in the room. Many Designers follow the rule of allowing 2 ½” – 3” for each foot of a rooms height. Using this calculation, a room that has an 8’ ceiling can use a chandelier that is approximately 20” to 24” in height. If the ceiling is 10 feet high, than a light fixture that is 25” to 30” would look more appropriate.

The chandelier in a Foyer or Entry Hall should be hung centered in the room with the bottom of the fixture no lower than 7' from the floor. 7' is the absolutel minimum to allow for head clearance. If you have a tall ceiling you should follow a rule of thumb of at least 7' 6" from the floor to the bottom of the light fixture.

For more information and practical help on decorating, visit DecoratingStudio.com.

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