For those buyers hoping to take the next step with their home lighting, chandeliers are the ultimate combination of practicality and elegance. Today, homeowners are using chandeliers all over the home, rather than just in the dining room; bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and hallways are now fair game for the chandelier industry, with several products available for any situation. No room is complete without a chandelier!
This buyer guide will explore everything you need to know before adding one of these fabulous fixtures to your home. Read on to learn all about chandeliers.
Chandeliers are light fixtures that hang from the ceiling. They are distinctive for having several lights that branch from the center of the fixture (as opposed to having only one light, like pendants), known as arms. Chandeliers are traditionally known to be dripping in crystals, but that is not necessarily the case for today’s models. In fact, modern chandeliers are available in a wide variety of finishes and designs.
As stated previously, crystal chandeliers are classic and remain popular but are hardly the only option on the market. Chrome and brass chandeliers with small glass or cloth shades on each arm are a contemporary spin on an old classic. So too are chandeliers where the entire fixture is wrapped in a large shade, with crystals peeking out the bottom.
If you want to venture into new territories as far as shape goes, tiered chandeliers are tall fixtures with several rows or layers of arms, usually with frosted glass shades, and beaded chandeliers form a bowl around a central source of light.
When selecting a chandelier, it is important to consider the size of both the room and the chandelier itself. Too large of a chandelier in a small room can overwhelm the room itself, while an average sized chandelier can easily become dwarfed in a grand two-story foyer. The number of chandeliers in the room is also a factor to consider. Three chandeliers evenly spaced throughout a room make a different statement than one hanging from the center of the ceiling.
Here are some measurements from Driven by Decor to keep in mind:
- To determine a good width for your light fixture, measure the length and width of the room in feet and add those two measurements together – the number that you come up with is, in inches, a good appropriate width. For example, if your room measures 10 feet x 15 feet, add 10 + 15 to get 25. A 25″ wide fixture would be appropriate for this space. For rooms with high ceilings, you can add up to 6″ or more to the width of the chandelier.
- If a table is inserted beneath the chandelier, the width of the chandelier should be about a foot less than the width of the table it will hang over at its widest point.
- Keep in mind, though, that a light fixture should be no larger than 1/3 the width of the room. For example, a 9-foot-wide room should have a light fixture smaller than 3 feet wide.
How High Should You Hang Your Chandelier?
In addition to the size of your chandelier, the height of your ceiling can affect the look of your chandelier. A general rule for chandeliers that hang above tables is to allow 60 to 66 inches between the bottom of the chandelier and the floor. This will leave plenty of room below to accommodate the table in question.
And for chandeliers that will be walked under:
- To determine a good height for your light fixture, multiply the height of your ceiling (in feet) by 2.5 and by 3. The height of your fixture should be, in inches, somewhere in this range. For example, if you have 8 foot ceilings, 8 x 2.5 = 20 and 8 x 3 = 24. An appropriate height for your light fixture would be between 20″ and 24″ when measured from the ceiling to the bottom of the fixture.
- An overhead fixture that will be walked under, such as in the entry, should hang 7 feet or more above the floor.
If a regular chandelier is out of your price range or your room does not have the space to accommodate a large light fixture, a mini-chandelier may be a smart option. Mini-chandeliers have the same character as their full-sized counterpart, but take up far less space. Even better, mini-chandeliers can be used in pairs or triplets within a room where multiple chandeliers would not fit. In the bathroom, over nightstands, or even in nurseries, mini-chandeliers can provide both light and that final design touch that ties the entire room together.
Depending on the material and size of your chandelier, your fixture can be fairly heavy. Be sure you check the weight of the light before installing to avoid the light dropping from the ceiling. Most chandeliers will require at least a fan brace installed in the ceiling to hold the chandelier. This can be done by a professional, or you can do it yourself by following this tutorial from This Old House.
One thing homeowners tend to forget when selecting a chandelier is the amount of work required to clean the light. The more arms and shades a chandelier has, the more nooks and crannies you will need to run a dust cleaner through. We suggest using a duster with a long extendable arm to reach the chandelier. In the instance of a chandelier installed several stories off the ground, do not try to clean it yourself! While it may be a pain to hire a professional to clean the chandelier, you will protect yourself (and your light) in the process. At the end of the day, that is worth the cost of having a professional cleaning.
Most people associate the luxury of chandeliers with a high price tag, but that is now always the case. SUPPLY.com sells over 2,000 chandeliers, and half are under $500 (and almost 30 under $100)! Of course, if money is not object, chandeliers over $20,000 are also available. This wide range of prices ensures there are several fixtures to choose from in your price range.