Guidelines for Chandelier Lighting
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
A chandelier can be a dramatic focal point for any room. With unique shapes and interesting lighting effects available, it can instantly draw the eye and capture the attention of your guests.
The chandelier style, type, size, placement, and wattage are all key elements in selecting the perfect chandelier for your space.
5 TOP TIPS FOR SELECTING THE PERFECT CHANDELIER
1. Design Style
You don’t have to sacrifice style to meet the lighting requirements of your space. There are thousands of design options that can help you create a space uniquely your own. Today you can mix modern furnishings with traditional chandeliers, and traditional furnishings with modern chandeliers. Or you can keep both in the same design style. Just about anything goes!
2. Types of Lighting
There are four types of brightness or illumination characteristics for chandeliers which, in turn, change the overall “temperature” gradient, which is how warm or cool the lighting in a room feels. Select a chandelier with its intended lighting purpose in mind.
Ambient Lighting illuminates the entire room. Your goal is to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. A combination of chandeliers, recessed lighting, wall, table and floor lamps may be used to create the desired ambient effect.
Focal or Task Lighting provides functional lighting for areas where it is needed for reading, cooking, or any type of specific task. This type of lighting should be cool in tone to safeguard the eyes. Careful placement of task lighting will limit shadows or glare.
Accent Lighting creates directed light to specific areas of a room to draw attention to features or create a dramatic effect. Such items can include plants, decorative accessories, artwork, alcoves, moldings, beams, etc.
Decorative Lighting elements are fixtures and lamps that can serve as focal points of interest. The classic dining room chandelier or extra-tall, two-story foyer chandeliers are both examples of this. Light fixtures used for ambient, task or accent lighting can also be decorative.
3. What Size Do You Need?
If you're placing the chandelier above a dining table, the diameter of the fixture should not be more than 10” less than the width of the table. For example, if your table width is 40”, you would want to make sure that the width of your chandelier is no more than 30”.
Another guideline: Measure the room’s length and width in feet. Add these two numbers together. A 12’x12’ room would have a 24” diameter chandelier. Today we’re frequently using oversized chandeliers in spaces, so you could go a little larger, but it’s a good rule of thumb for scale.
4. How High Should You Hang It?
Chandelier Placement Height: The bottom of a chandelier should typically be 30” above the table. Increase distance 2-3” for every additional foot of ceiling height over 8 feet. For example, if your ceiling height is 10’, you would increase the distance from the tabletop to the bottom of the chandelier to 34”-36”.
5. What Wattage Do You Need?
Chandelier Wattage: Measure the room’s length and width in feet. Multiply those two numbers. Take the total and multiply the number by 1.5 to get the wattage needed to correctly light the space. For example, for a 12’x12’ room: 12 x 12 = 144 x 1.5 = 216 watts. For a family room that is 20’x16’: 20 x 16 = 320 x 1.5 = 480 watts.
This number includes all of the lighting in the room. It’s important to balance overhead lighting with mid-level lighting to create an inviting space. Using only overhead lighting casts shadows on our faces, and makes us look tired and older. And no one needs that!
Want More Chandelier and Lighting Tips?
We know how challenging it can be to achieve the right lighting effects to transform a space into the beautiful and comfortable design of your dreams. Our award-winning team of professional interior designers is here to help you get the exact look you’ve been wishing for, all with free design services.
Do you want your design choice to be perfect? Give our interior designers a call today at 817-835-3100 or book a free consultation online.