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. This includes instructions on what height you should hang them.
But, before you add that perfect looking chandelier to your cart, make sure you review these rules. I want your light fixture to 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
The first consideration you 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. There are 4 main types of lighting: ambient, accent, task, and daylight.
Let’s talk about each of them before you order the perfect fixture.
Ambient (or general)
- Ambient lighting is the general lighting in the room. It provides the overhead lighting, usually by a chandelier, recess lighting or ceiling (can) 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.
- Next we have accent lighting. Accent lighting is the decorative lighting in a room (or outside on the house). 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 food 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, but 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. That means measure from one wall to the opposite wall.
Example 12′ length.
2. Measure the width
Next, you should measure the width of the room. Example: the room is 11.8′ and 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 found this great tool for calculating the proper size chandelier. Here is the link: What Size Chandelier , from Maxim Lighting, for you to use the Chandelier size calculator to find the perfect fit in your room.
Choosing the Proper Chandelier Length
Now that we have gone over how to measure for the perfect chandelier size in width, we can move on to finding the right length for your specific space.
Two Story Foyer
If your entry foyer is two stories and in front of your staircase, 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. You also don’t want the fixture to be all the way to the ceiling in the entryway.
So, if the light fixture transcends both spaces, a good rule of thumb is to image you are reaching out from the top floor railing towards the fixture. This touch point should be the middle line of the chandelier (please don’t try this– imagine, just imagine).
The photo above is a perfect example of how if you were standing at the railing (and could touch) you would reach the middle of the fixture. In the photo, the brass is below your sightline and the shades are above your sightline.
Second, is your kitchen island lighting. As we discusses earlier, island lighting is task lighting. Because it is in the center of the room, it should also be a showstopper. You want to get the size and placement correct. This guide will help you out.
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 pendant 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) into 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
Next, we are talking about the lighting in your dining area or eat in kitchen table. You should hang the chandelier 36″ high from table top. The chandelier size should be half the width of the table (short side). Conveniently, most chandeliers have an adjustable chain that will help you get it perfect every time.
Under 8′ Ceilings
In bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms with ceilings 8′ feet and under, opt for a flush mount or semi flush mount fixture. Leave a 7′ clearance from the bottom of the fixture to the floor.
For bathrooms, above a tub you’ll need 8′ clearance to be in compliance with building codes. This is often difficult with an 8′ ceiling, so opt to hang a fixture 3′ to the side of the the tub (centered on the room if space allows). You are then allowed to size the height to a 7′ clearance, giving yourself an extra 12″ for the size of the fixture.
Taller than 9′ Ceilings
Don’t you love a grand room with tall ceilings? I certainly do! It feels so luxurious. In a grand room, you’ll 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.
The rule of thumb for the chandelier size (length in inches) is: 2.5 inches in fixture height per 1 foot of room height. Example: A room with 20 foot high ceilings X 2.5 = 50 inches. Your chandelier should be 50″ long.
Also consider how low you will hang the fixture so that it isn’t floating too high and not anchored to the room.
To recap the rules for measuring and choosing the best chandelier size:
- Length of room (in feet) + width of room (in feet) = ideal diameter of light fixture (in inches)
- Over dining table: 1/2- 2/3 the width of the table; hang 36” from tabletop
- Entryway: Length of room (in feet) + Width (in feet) = Diameter of fixture in inches
- Two Story Entry: hang at the middle of sight line of 1st and 2nd floor
- 8’ ceilings and under: 12” chandelier or less; leave 7’ clearance
- 9’ + ceilings: 2.5 inches in fixture height per 1 foot of room height
Lastly, I’ve made this awesome Chandelier Measurement Worksheet for you to print and download. Click on the photo or text and download or print the file.
As you measure the room, jot down the dimensions and calculate the perfect chandelier size for each room of your house. I’ve included a cheat sheet at the bottom of the worksheet for quick reference.
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
I’ve also rounded up my favorite light fixtures all available at Horchow.com. Head over to check them our by searching “flush mount light” or “semi flush mount light”.
BEST OF FLUSH MOUNT AND SEMI FLUSH MOUNT LIGHT FIXTURES
GREAT ENTRYWAY OR DINING CHANDELIERS
Check out my favorite large chandeliers by searching “entry chandelier”.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found the information helpful. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments and I’ll answer within 24 hours.
Happy Chandelier shopping!!