A chandelier can look great in almost any room. They are pretty over the island in the kitchen, casual in the sunroom, and elegant in the dining room. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to hanging them, but here are some helpful guidelines you can follow for three areas where you might consider a chandelier: the foyer, the dining area, and the hallway.
In general, in most rooms where you will walk under a chandelier, it should be hung so that the bottom is about 7′ from the floor. To estimate the size of your chandelier, add the width and length of the room and convert to inches. For example, if your foyer is 10’ by 12’, add 10 + 12 to get 22; then, based on these dimensions, you could start with a chandelier that is somewhere around 22” diameter.
Foyer & Entryway
A chandelier in the foyer is a great way to light up an entryway, and you’ll want at least 80-84” from the bottom of the chandelier to the floor. If your foyer has a high ceiling, take advantage of it and hang it higher. For example if you can see up the stairs to the second story, the light fixture shouldn’t hang below the second floor. Keep in mind that the higher the fixture is hung, the smaller it will look, so don’t be afraid to go bigger in this case. If you’ve got windows, it might be nice to center the fixture in a window so that it can be seen from the outside.
Dining Room & Kitchen
The chandelier is often the focal point of any eating area, and this is probably the one space where the ceiling height shouldn’t affect the hanging height. A frequent mistake is that the chandelier is too small and/or hung too high. It should be low enough to illuminate the table surface without interfering with the line of sight while seated. The general rule is that the bottom of the chandelier should be 30” to 34” above the tabletop, also accounting for any dangling crystals or drops. Have someone help you hold the fixture over the table and adjust it until it feels right.
As far as size goes, you’ll want to make sure your guests don’t bump their heads when getting up from the table. Keeping it simple, the diameter of your fixture should be about ¾ the width of your table at its widest point (however, this might be too big if you are hanging 2 chandeliers).
Also think about your table shape. A round table would call for a single chandelier while a rectangle table could support two fixtures, especially in a large room. Try to position it above the table only, and it shouldn’t be closer than 4’ to any wall if your room is large enough to support this rule of thumb. In order to ensure that your lighting is more conducive to dining, this chandelier should also be on a dimmer.
Hallways & Landings
The hallway is often ignored as a design space, and it is such a great place for a special light fixture or two. Hang them close to the ceiling unless your ceiling is high enough (say 9 or more feet). If you do have a low ceiling, go for a fixture that has a low profile in height and a larger diameter – and the wider the hallway, the wider the fixture can be. For example, start with a 12-14″ diameter chandelier for a 5′ wide hallway, and add 2″ to your fixture for every additional 12″ of hallway width.
Whatever your ceiling height, keep the distance from the floor to the bottom of the chandelier at 80-84″ to avoid interference while walking underneath it. Lean toward a less bulky design if your hallway is long and narrow; to eliminate the feeling of walking down a tunnel, hang a chandelier every 8-10 feet. If the hallway makes a turn, this is also a good location for a chandelier. Define the space by drawing the attention to a pretty light fixture – one which is functional and beautiful.
So remember, these are only guidelines. But don’t limit yourself to enjoying a chandelier only in the formal spaces of your home: a beautiful light fixture in the bedroom is charming and romantic, and adding a sparkly chandelier to the bathroom can inject just the right amount of drama to what otherwise might be a dull room. Before you choose a chandelier for any room, take measurements of the space and furniture, and feel free to come to us with any questions you may have.
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We enjoy getting to know each of our customers in the NY/CT area while offering complimentary design services from skilled decorators who can help curate a home, room or single piece with each client’s preferences in mind. Visit us today at 230 Route 117 Bypass Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507 or call us at (914) 241-7000.