Chandelier Tips



Picking the Right Chandelier Size

Chandeliers are designed to float in a room as an important part of the decor. Too large and this fixture will overpower the space. Too small and it will look out of place.


To make sure your chandelier is the right size for the room in which it will hang, consider the following questions:

  • How high is your ceiling? Taller ceilings demand larger fixtures.
  • What is the size and shape of your table or island? The chandelier should complement, not overpower, anything you plan to suspend it over.
  • How big is the room you are trying to illuminate? Again, be sure the chandelier is not too big or too small for the room.
  • What is the form and design of the chandelier? Light, airy fixtures tend to look larger.
  • To determine the proper size chandelier for the foyer add the dimensions together: For example if your foyer is 12’ by 16’, add the 12 plus 16 to get 28. The proper size chandelier would then be 28” diameter. This works for any room. Make sure the bottom of the fixture does not hang more than 7’ from the floor. If windows are present, center the fixture in the window so it can be seen from outside.

    "Placing a chandelier that is too small in a space is likely the biggest mistake because it's very noticeable," says Joe Rey-Barreau, educational consultant for the American Lighting Association (ALA) and assistant professor of interior design at the University of Kentucky. "Great designers, therefore, tend to make their decisions on fixtures that may appear slightly larger than might be appropriate. It's generally always best to make the mistake on a fixture being too big than too small."

    The right fixture in your foyer will create a welcoming atmosphere while providing you with the general light you need to greet guests and assure a safe passage into your home.

    TIP:

    When determining whether to hang a flush, semi-flush, or multi-tiered chandelier in your foyer, be advised that the bottom of the fixture should be at least 7' from the floor.

    TIP:

    For two-story foyers, if there is a window above the front door, center the chandelier so it can be seen from outside.

    TIP:

    If your foyer is extra-large, you may also want to add sconces. Sconces should be installed 60" from the floor and 6'-8' apart.


    Sizing Your Chandelier For the Dining Room

    To determine the proper size chandelier for a dining table, choose a chandelier with a diameter that is 50% of the table width or greater. This assumes the table is sized appropriate for room. It should be hung with the bottom of the fixture 30” above the tabletop for an 8’ ceiling. Go up 3” for each additional foot of ceiling. For ceilings nine feet or higher, consider a two-tier style chandelier to fill the space from the fixture's top to the ceiling.


    To size a chandelier for your dining room, or to be the focal point of your space, measure the length and width of the room and add those figures together. The sum, converted to inches, will equal the diameter of the correct-sized chandelier.




    WHEN MEASURING:

    If the resulting measurement (room length+width, converted to inches) seems inappropriate due to the size of your table, size your chandelier three quarters the width of your table.

    TIPS:

    In most cases, the bottom of your chandelier should sit approximately 30"-32" above the table top.



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    Picking the Right Chandelier Style

    To find the right style chandelier for your home, simply begin with a color or a material that is predominant in the decoration scheme of the room. What catches your eye in the room? What type of statement do you want to make? If the room is more traditional, choose chandeliers with more ornamentation and decorative details. If your home is modern, opt for less ornamentation and simpler details.


    If the choices are not clear, feel free to call the dedicated 1STOPlighting customer service department at 1-866-203-5392.


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    Chandelier Trends

    Colorful chandeliers create drama in the kitchen. Teeny ones provide elegance to powder rooms. Even walk-in closets go upscale when lit with a small chandelier.

    "Beyond laundry rooms and garages, any room is an open target for hanging a chandelier," adds Rey-Barreau. "More commonly, kitchens and bathrooms have become the popular locations for chandeliers."

    Chandeliers add twinkle to a boudoir. "People are treating their bedroom suites as more luxurious personal spaces with elaborate bathroom areas, so it is not unreasonable to consider chandeliers there, either," says Dan Blitzer, Director of Education for the ALA.

    The master bedroom of today is often a luxurious suite that includes an elaborate bathroom. Chandeliers can easily match the grandeur of these areas and are being used more often to create a glamorous space.

    Chandeliers have also sized up to accommodate the soaring foyers and sweeping two-story spaces of larger homes.


    Mini Chandeliers

    "Chandelettes," or mini chandeliers, add a new sense of intimacy to small rooms and to corner spaces and alcoves of larger ones. "Minis are even being used as wall sconces in some instances -- and they look fantastic," says lighting and furniture designer Sergio Orozco. These compact chandeliers are nine-12 inches in diameter to slip easily into tight spaces. For added impact, consider grouping them.

    A trend toward smaller chandeliers and mini-chandeliers make it possible to incorporate these items into smaller rooms or areas in the home.

    A sense of intimacy can be added to niche areas of a room, such as corner spaces or alcoves, with mini-chandeliers, and some minis are even being used in place of wall sconces. Powder rooms are another place where chandeliers are frequently popping up. Grouping minis is also a popular design technique, such as hanging several minis above an island or bar area for great impact.


    Chandeliers for All Places, All Spaces!

    Chandeliers aren’t just for dining rooms and foyers anymore. In fact, they’re staking their claim in other areas of the home by adding charm in less formal rooms, and interest to many unexpected areas. In the past, it was unusual to see chandeliers anywhere except in the “power” positions of a home, such as at the entrance and over the dining room table. Also, it used to be more common for chandeliers to adorn only upscale homes, not starter or first move-up houses. But times have changed. Today, chandeliers are comfortable in homes in a variety of price ranges, and in most, if not all, rooms.

    According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), kitchens and bathrooms have become popular locations for hanging chandeliers.

    Give WALLS & CEILINGS Their Due

    Gone are the days of installing only one central overhead lighting fixture. Using lighting in a way that bounces light off of walls or ceilings generates a mood of expansiveness.

    The arrangement of one overhead lighting source either casts light down or diffuses it in all directions, which affects spatial quality by creating dramatic shadows and dim rooms. The opposite affect is achieved by bouncing light off of walls and ceilings, which turns these surfaces into giant reflectors of sorts.

    Think of your chandelier as the “central” fixture in a room, and then add other types of complimentary lighting such as sconces, pendants and flush mounts to create a spacious feeling. Hinkley's chandelier collections include a multitude of options to allow you to creatively coordinate your lighting design.


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    Chandelier Design Tips

    Fashionable and functional, chandeliers should be incorporated into the home just as any decorative accessory or object of art would be chosen. "I would urge consumers to view this purchase with same enjoyment they would use in buying fine furniture," says Dan Blitzer, educational consultant for the American Lighting Association. "A fine chandelier is an investment that will add to the value of your home."


    design tips

    To find the right style chandelier for your home, simply begin with a color or a material that is predominant in the decoration scheme of the room. What catches your eye in the room? What type of statement do you want to make? If the room is more traditional, choose chandeliers with more ornamentation and decorative details. If your home is modern, opt for less ornamentation and simpler details.


    Here are some more tips when shopping for a chandelier:

  • LIGHT IT RIGHT: Be sure to choose the correct lightbulbs for your particular chandelier. According to the experts, clear bulbs in chandeliers with exposed bulbs, or crystal glass enclosures will enhance sparkle. In chandeliers with linen shades, frosted bulbs cast a pleasing glow and won't create shadows.
  • WEIGHT THERE: Always consider the weight of the chandelier. Chandeliers heavier than 50 pounds have to be mounted more securely to the house's structure. "This is a criteria of the National Electrical Code, and the electrician hanging the fixture should be aware of this," says Rey-Barreau. "It doesn't hurt to remind them, however."
  • MORE IS MORE: Don't let a chandelier stand alone in a room. Like a star, they need a supporting cast of characters to help them do their job. "A chandelier needs supplemental lighting around it," says Blitzer. "Don't sweat to find the one fixture that does everything. It is best to achieve a layer of light in the rooms with sconces, table and floor lamps."
  • MIXED MESSAGES: Mixing of materials and styles within one fixture is now a common design trend. It is not unusual, for example, to find a rustic cast-iron fixture with crystals hanging from it, or different metals and types of glass all incorporated into one fixture. "American styles are decidedly eclectic and homeowners today are very comfortable mixings styles," says Blitzer. "Chandeliers lends themselves neatly to that process. You can look for a chandelier that is inspired by the period reflected in the room you are putting it, but you don't have to. Many contemporary designs are a blend of traditional elements with modern materials -- glass and alabaster with polished chromoe or satin nickel, which makes them work with a variety of styles."
  • COLOR ME BEAUTIFUL: While sparkling clear crystal refracts and reflects light, designers offer chandeliers in a rainbow of shades to complement decor. Colored crystal can combine with clear to create a prism of hue. Smokey quartz, rock crystal and amethyst offer an antique feel.
  • FINISH LINE: Chandeliers no longer feature just one metal or just one finish. The latest looks offer multi-tone finishes created by painted or chemical processes.
  • MOD SQUAD: The freshest face in chandeliers is clean and simple, designed to work in more contemporary spaces. "We just introduced a dramatic new categor of crystal product that is very contemporary," says Schonbek. "It features colored crystal geometic shapes -- cubes, rectangles, spirals, pyramids. The colors mix together to create auras of light for a vibrant rich look."
  • DIM LIT: Whether they are ornate and multi-armed or simply feature a large-scale bowl, chandeliers need a dimmer so homeowners can control the intensity of light. "Most of the time, the lighting capability of a chandelier is more than is actually necessary to light the space," says Rey-Barreua. "They should always be controlled by a dimmer to add to the aesthetic appeal."
  • MATCH POINT: Once a design preference has been identified, the chandelier should simply be another decorative element. "There is a trend to eclectic interiors where traditional, transitional and modern will blur even within the same room," says Rey-Barreau. "The chandelier doesn't need to "match" the decor in a very rigid manner. If it works visually for the user, then it's fine."
  • Dining Room Lighting Design Tips

    Today's dining rooms reflect consumer's changing lifestyles. Once used solely for daily dining, this room has become more multipurpose. "During the week, we use the dining room as a work zone, for homework, crafts, church work, organizational meetings," says Dan Blitzer, continuing educator for the American Lighting Association. "On the weekends and special occasions, it becomes a gathering place for parties and meals." The result? Dining rooms must boast multiple lighting options that can go from functional to fashionable in the flick of a switch.


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    Proper Lighting Tips

    To get the best balance of illumination in the dining room, opt for layers of light. "The most important thing a homeowner should recognize is that a dining room does not look well-lighted if the only light source is a chandelier," says Blitzer. "A chandelier that is bright enough to illuminate a room will be too bright for comfort when dining. Likewise, if the chandelier's light is comfortable on the eyes, it will be too dim and look flat."


    When choosing dining room lighting, start with a chandelier in the middle of the room, then work out with accent lights. The chandelier will determine the room's feeling. Use your imagination. In today's more eclectic decor, even casual homes can have elegant dining rooms.


    "You might find casual wrought iron or brushed steel metal fixtures in the home's adjacent "great room" and wrought iron with crystal drops or pendants in the dining room, creating a more romantic, softer setting," Greg Vandia, Vice President Sales and Marketing for New York manufacturer Murray Feiss." That's perfectly acceptable."


    Chandeliers

    When selecting a chandelier, don't worry about the fixture's quality of light as much as its beauty and scale. Chandelier choices include everything from those with exposed bulbs to those with large alabaster diffusing bowls. Trends range from simple Mission-inspired models with mica glass to ornate brass filigree with crystal pendants.


    Crystal chandeliers are one of the most traditional way to compliment a dining room setting.


    Finish

    "Finish is the most important factor today and it should compliment surrounding furnishings and accessories; not match or contrast," says Rick Wiedemer, CLC, President of Hinkley Lighting, Inc., a manufacturer in Cleveland, OH. "The finish selected will then determine the material."


    Materials

    Popular materials include brass, aluminum, wrought iron, other metal combinations, or composite materials.


    Accent Lights

    Accent lights, either recessed or tract-mounted, on either side of the chandelier and between the end of the table add a festive sparkle to china, crystal, fruit arrangements. Space them so they are not over the head of diners, but not so close to the chandelier to create shadows. Angle them toward the chandelier to add sparkle to the chandelier and provide down lighting.


    The final layer of light should fill in the shadows around the room's perimeter. Consider recessed lights located in the ceiling toward the corners of the room. Wall washers, recessed or mounted on tracts, can illuminate drapes or paintings. Torchieres and sconces point light toward the ceiling.


    Don't forget to light furniture around the edge of the dining room. "Buffets, hutches or breakfronts can be illuminated internally with low voltage lights on the underside of shelves to light up collections and china," says Blitzer.


    Portable Lighting

    Portable lighting, or table lamps, also plays an important role in the dining room area. "Accent lamps on breakfronts or etageres or two great buffet lamps with unique shades can help create just the right mood for that special meal or occasion when the dining room is being utilized," says Vandia.


    Other options include recessed or tract lighting above buffets or breakfronts. Miniature low voltage pendants suspended three feet above the buffet offer a more contemporary look, while tall, thin candlestick lamps on either end are more traditional.


    Additional Lighting Tips for Dining Rooms

  • FIRST STEP: A chandelier in the middle of the room defines the space. Choose that fixture first, then work out with accent lights.
  • HANGING AROUND: Choose a chandelier with a diameter 12" less than width of table. The bottom of chandelier should be 30" above table.
  • TALL ORDERS: For ceilings nine feet or higher, consider a two-tier style chandelier to fill the space from the fixture's top to the ceiling.
  • DIMMER SHIMMER: Always use a dimmer on dining room lights. "Light becomes warmer as it is dimmed," says Dan Blitzer, American Lighting Association Continuing Educator.
  • HOME WORK: For those who use the dining room as a study area, consider bringing in a portable study lamp to brighten up the workspace. "Overhead lighting may work well for general studies, but in depth or close work demands more light," says Blitzer.
  • GET SMART: So-called "smart" dimmers, driven by microprocessors offer convenience. "When you have several layers of light, smart dimmers can be set to various ambiences. Press one button for dining, another for lighting up homework, another for party-time.
  • THE LAYERED LOOK: Use multiple layers of light in the dining room. Chandeliers provide the central focus. Accent lights on either side of the chandelier and at the room's perimeter brighten things up. Accessory lights on and/or over other furniture pieces fill in the background.
  • TABLE THIS: Table lamps add a soft, humanizing touch to a dining room. Display them on a buffet or breakfront.
  • Calculating the wattage required in any room:

    How do I determine the correct amount of wattage to properly illuminate a room?
    Example: a 12” by 16” room. Multiply the room dimensions to get your total square footage (12 x 16=192). Then multiply the square footage by 1.5 for total illumination needed (192 x 1.5 = 288 watts).


    For specific task lighting within a space (for instance, the light needed on an island in your kitchen) multiply the square footage of the island (example: 8 by 4=32 sq feet) by 2.5 = 80. Two 40-watt pendants would do the job.


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    Chandelier History and Applications


    Chandeliers Create Drama Throughout the Home

    The chandelier used to mark your arrival. Clad in crystal, it met you in the foyer of a well-appointed home, then dazzled you from a power position over the dining room table.


    Rarely did you find a chandelier in a starter home. To see them illuminating any room other than one used for entry or dining, more unusual still.


    My, how times have changed.


    Today chandeliers rate as a brilliant idea just about anywhere -- from modest homes to magnificent mansions, contemporary digs to traditional houses. They dangle decorously in almost every room of the house.


    Credit our bigger-is-better building boom. Taller ceilings and increased volume in today's homes means chandeliers are less likely to crowd a room.


    "Nine-and-10-foot ceilings almost demand something hanging to fill the space," says Joe Rey-Barreau.


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