Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How To Choose the Size, Hanging Height & Style of Your Din Rm or Kitchen Chandelier

The chandelier can be a magnificent focal point in any dining room or kitchen.  There are so many to choose from.  Are you looking for one now?  Before you do any shopping for a light, know the size you need first.   Below are great tips on how to determine size, hanging height and the look to use.  CLICK HERE to view the live WFMZ 69 News at Sunrise segment I did this morning about this topic and it will include lamps as well (was cracking up at the end bcse a news crew played All Of The Lights by Kanye West and Rihanna-SO BEFITTING!).  Thank you WFMZ and especially Eve Tannery:

Choose The Right Size:
You don’t want your tall guests bumping their heads on your chandelier as they get up from their seats.  And do not want to have to get out a magnifying glass to see your chandelier.  So lets get the size right.  Get a measuring tape.  Measure the width table and minus one foot.  For example, if your dining table is 38” wide, you will be looking for a chandelier that is 26”.  The reason for this is so you don’t end up with a light that looks too small or too large over your table.  As you know, I say ‘go big or go home’ so keep in mind that if you fall for a light that is a few inches larger than the calculated size, go for it; just hang it a bit higher.

How Low It Should Hang From The Ceiling:
You never want to hear a guest across your table say “I can hear you but can only see crystal droplets in front of me”.  This means the light was hung too low.

There should be 30 to 36” from table top to bottom of your light fixture if you have an 8 foot ceiling.  For each additional foot of ceiling height add 3 inches to the light height (i.e. for 9 foot ceiling the light should hang down 33 to 39”).

I have a trick that I always use to make sure my light height will work.  It is a great visual tool.  You will need measuring tape, string and painters tape.  
Grab a ladder or if sturdy enough, climb up on your table and tape one end of the string to the spot where the light will hang from.   Now let the string hang down to the table.  Climb down the ladder or table.  Using the measuring tape, determine the 30-36” from table top to bottom of light fixture.  Cut the string at that height.

KEEP THIS TRICK IN MIND if you are using lights that include stems instead of a chain (i.e. pendants).  Calculating the height based on the length of the stems you are given is VERY IMPORTANT.  Below is an example of a light I chose for a client that uses stems.  I loved the look of it but really needed to make sure it would not hang too low.  The ‘string test’ above was very helpful.

Choosing The Right Style:
Glance around your space.  What are the finishes on the hardware in the room?  The light you choose could have a complimentary finish.  What style are you trying to capture?  Cut down on lighting choices by going after a particular style.  Pick up on details like squares, circles, swirls and look for a chandelier that incorporates the same.  Look to your dining table shape for inspiration.  If it is round use a round chandelier to balance it. 

Are there a lot of heavy furniture pieces? Choose an airy large light with glam factor to keep up with the boldness of the furniture without weighing it down.  Below is a good example of adding a big beautiful chandelier to a small dining room that is filled with heavy ornate furniture.  We chose this light because it is large but not heavy looking due to the chrome finish with the round glass balls and candle lights.  It is like a big piece of sparkle floating in the air.
Also think about the functions you will be doing in the space.  If you need good lighting use a down light, think about opting out of shades so the bulbs are exposed; also find a chandelier with more arms for more light.  In the photo below we turned a traditional dining space into a game room and lounging area.  A smaller table was used, so a smaller chandelier was installed; one with five arms so it would give off good lighting for card night and cozy reading on the chaise.
Remember to use the appropriate bulbs and add a dimmer to vary brightness because chandeliers are not just pretty to look at, they are so you can see your food and enjoy your wine with friends!!

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