Selecting the Right Size Chandelier

The right lighting can make or break a room. Many clients focus on all of the pieces of a project yet don’t consider lighting in their design plans or their budget. I rank lighting pretty high up on the list of finishing touches for a room. It’s both functional and decorative, and it’s important to get it right!

A common question I help clients solve is what size chandelier or light fixtures to install over a dining table. Usually I have a pretty good sense of scale and can determine from sight if a light will fit well or not. But, there is an actual guide/formula you can use (which I often refer to) to help you feel comfortable selecting the right size chandelier for over a table.

 {A chandelier should hang approximately 3' above the table over which it hangs. Design by  April Force Pardoe Interiors. }

{A chandelier should hang approximately 3' above the table over which it hangs. Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

If you are placing a lighting fixture over a dining table measure the table’s width. Half of the width of the table plus 5″ equals the minimum diameter of the chandelier for over that table.

For example, if your table is 38″ wide you would divide that in half (19″) + 5″ = 24″. And there you have it, your chandelier’s minimum width should be 2 feet.

In the case of a longer than average dining table, I suggest hanging two chandeliers down the center of the table to properly “fill” the space and provide sufficient light for your space.

 {Two chandeliers fit best along this dining table, making a sophisticated statement. Using one alone would have been too small, creating a noticeable scale issue. Design by  April Force Pardoe Interiors .}

{Two chandeliers fit best along this dining table, making a sophisticated statement. Using one alone would have been too small, creating a noticeable scale issue. Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

There are a few other guides to help you figure out the proper size for your dining room chandelier. You can use 3/4 of the table’s width (38″ wide table x .75 = 28.5″ diameter) to determine the right size for your chandelier. As you can see, this number is slightly larger than our first method of calculating, so the two numbers offer an appropriate range for your lighting fixture's diameter.

Another helpful tip if installing your light without the help of a designer is how high to hang the light. In my experience, when left on their own, most homeowners select lighting that is too small for their space and hang it too high. When in doubt, go larger and lower!

When hanging your light(s) the distance from the bottom of the fixture to the top of the table should be between 28″- 36″. The key is to make sure your guests can comfortably get up from the table without hitting their heads on the fixture. If hung too high, you lose the light and the fixture feels separate from the table versus part of the space.

Finally, make sure to use a dimmer with your chandelier so you can control the mood and light. Lighting impacts everything in a room so getting it right will pay off in the end!

Do you have a favorite chandelier over your dining table? What challenges did you face when selecting the fixture? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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