A Vintage Crate + table

Lighting Rules

Today I thought I'd answer a few questions that get asked often about lighting. In particular what size chandelier should you buy for your room. The standard guidelines for chandeliers is to take the length and width of the room and add them together, this will give you the approximate diameter of the chandelier. So for example if you have a 14' X 16' room- you add 14 + 16 and you get 30-so your fixture should be at least 30" in diameter. Again, remember that other factors such as height of ceiling may influence the proper size. I lean more towards the school of thought-the bigger, the better. But I use this guideline to determine the minimum diameter I need.

The next question I get asked is what size chandelier for above the dining room table. This excerpt is taken from Currey & Company lighting: A general guideline is to choose a chandelier that has a diameter equal to one-half the width of the table. The general appearance of the chandelier must be taken into account, too; that is, if it is a light airy piece it may be slightly larger than the standard. Also the distance between the bottom of the chandelier and the top of the table should be 30"- 34" in a room with an 8' ceiling. Add 3 inches for each additional foot of ceiling height.

"Placing a chandelier that is too small in a space is likely the biggest mistake because it's very noticeable," says Joe Rey-Barreau, educational consultant for the American Lighting Association (ALA) and assistant professor of interior design at the University of Kentucky. "Great designers, therefore, tend to make their decisions on fixtures that may appear slightly larger than might be appropriate. It's generally always best to make the mistake on a fixture being too big than too small." Excerpt from Chandelier Lighting Experts. I couldn't agree more- I say "go-big or go-home!" or maybe that just because I'm from Texas where everything is bigger. And don't forget to add dimmer switches to your newly hung chandelier, it will make all the difference in the world.

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