Your Guide to the Perfect Size Chandelier
The super simple rule for picking the right size light fixture
Whether you are refreshing your master bedroom or choosing an entryway chandelier, you can rely on this simple formula to get the perfect scale light fixture for your updated space and pick the perfect size chandelier every time. I’ve also listed a few of other scenarios that require a bit of variation on length and spacing, and instructions on what height you should hang them.
Before you add that perfect looking chandelier to your cart, make sure you review these rules to follow so that the light fixture will look as beautiful in your house as it does online (or in store). Ensuring that it is the proper size has a lot to do with that.
TYPES OF LIGHTING
Another consideration you will need to make before “adding to cart” will be the purpose of the light and how it relates to the types of lighting. As you know, in each room, you need multiple light sources to appropriately light the space and there are 4 main types of lighting.
Ambient (or general)
- Ambient lighting will serve as the general lighting for the room. It provides the overhead lighting, usually by a chandelier, recess lighting or ceiling lights. The ambient lighting can be the “mood lighting” if you put the fixture on a dimmer. It provides the general light for a room or entryway.
- Accent lighting is the decorative lighting in a room our outdoors. Examples of accent lights would be outdoor landscape feature lights, sconces on a dining room wall, lighting over a piece of artwork (i.e. art lamp). Table lamps are another source of accent lighting. How do you know if it is accent lighting? An accent light will typically provide a decorative touch to the space, can be useful, but isn’t the primary light source in a room. You should use accent lighting sparingly so that it has a larger impact.
- Task lighting has a specific purpose to help better light the space in which you are performing tasks. You will commonly hear designers refer to task lighting in a a kitchen, whether it be over the island or under cabinet lighting in the prep area. Another common use for task lighting is in an office or studio, by a desk lamp or track lighting aimed towards an easel. Task lighting should be an additional feature to help the room’s function, not the only light source.
- While you can’t add a “daylight” to a room, it is a really important factor to consider when choosing the number of light fixtures and their placement. Natural light can produce feelings of warms and openness in a room when it is diffused. However, it can also be harsh, glaring and produce heat if the room is facing into the sunlight and there are no window treatments to diffuse the light. A room that gets terrific daylight may not need as many task lights during the day. Alternatively, a room that doesn’t have any natural light can require additional lighting.
How to Choose the Right Chandelier Width
Picking out a new light fixture is a great way to update a room or add personality to it. You want to make sure you choose the correct scale light so that it looks like a good fit for the room and your money isn’t wasted. Luckily, there is a simple formula for establishing the correct lighting size.
The formula goes like this: Length of room (in feet) + width of room (in feet) = ideal diameter of light fixture (in inches).
1. Measure the length
Measure the length of the room and round to the nearest foot. If the room has odd angles and no long solid wall, choose the longest sight line in the room and measure wall to wall.
2. Measure the width
Example 11.8′ rounded up is 12′ across.
3. Add measurements together as inches by swapping feet (24′) for inches (24″).
12′ + 12′ (11.8 rounded up) = chandelier width should be 24″ inches.
Over a Dining Table
1/2- 2/3 the width of the table (the short measurement, not the length of the table). Hang it so that the lowest point is 36″ above the tabletop.
Entryway, hallway or room
Formula for Chandelier Width: Length of room (in feet) + Width (in feet) = Diameter of fixture in inches.
CHANDELIER SIZE CALCULATOR
I have also included this link: What Size Chandelier for you to use the Chandelier size calculator for the perfect fit in any room.
Choosing the Proper Chandelier Length
Two Story Foyer
If your entry foyer is two stories and in front of stairs, the fixture should be part of both the second floor and ground floor. You don’t want to be looking down at the entire fixture while at the top of the stairs and you also don’t want the fixture to be all the way to the ceiling in the entry. If the light transcends both spaces, a good rule of thumb is to image you are reaching out from the top floor railing towards the fixture- this should be the middle line of the light (please don’t try this– imagine, just imagine).
Measure the length of the Island.
- 60″ L
Determine the number of pendants and add up their width.
- 2 pendants at 6″ diameter each = 12″
Subtract the diameter from the island length.
- 60″- 12″ = 48
Add 1 to the number of pendants (to account for space on each end).
- 2 pendants + (1) = 3 pendants
Divide the number of pendants +1 (3 in this example) by the Length calculated (48″).
Example: 60″ L // 2 pendants at 6″ diameter each = 12″ // 60″-12″ = 48″ // 48″ divided by 3 = 16″ between pendants over the island.
You will want to aim for 16″ between each the two pendants over the island.
A good rule of thumb is to hang small to medium-sized pendants 66″-72″ off the floor to the bottom of each fixture.
Dining Room/Kitchen Table
Hang the chandelier 36″ high from table top and half the width of the table. Conveniently, they adjustable chain will help you get it perfect.
Under 8′ Ceilings
In bedrooms, living and dining rooms opt for a flush mount or semi flush mount leaving a 7′ clearance from the bottom of the fixture to the floor.
For bathrooms, above a tub you’ll need 8′ clearance. This is difficult in an 8′ ceiling, so opt to hang a fixture 3′ to the side of the the tub (centered on the room if space allows) and you can size to a 7′ clearance giving yourself an extra foot for the fixture.
Taller than 9′ Ceilings
In a grand room, you’ll want to opt for a 2 or 3 tiered chandelier so that the fixture is large enough relative to the ceiling height and all of that open space above. Also consider how low you will hang the fixture so that it isn’t floating too high and not anchored to the room.
Now that you have the rule of thumb for choosing the perfect size chandelier for any room in your home, you can head over to the Interior Decorating Budget Planner and start planning your next room from start to finish.
FAVORITE LIGHT FIXTURE ROUND UP
Available at Horchow.com