Let me preface this post with a quick backstory.
I’ve had a really strong interest in interior design since I was a kid.
I was always WAY more interested in “building” and decorating a house for my dolls than actually playing with my dolls. Lucky for me, my parents fed this early passion with an architecturally modular doll house that could be put together and taken apart in numerous ways! That was the end for my poor dolls. I was 7.
By my later teens I was reading design books to learn all those WHY’s & HOW’s. There was SO much more than just a lot of beautiful pictures to look at in those books—my design education was fully launched!
MY TEACHERS—the generously shared -information, knowledge, education- written and published in those High End Designer’s books!
..This was one of those lessons!
I was just recently guiding someone through the mysteries of selecting the right size of chandelier,
which made me wonder,
did you know…?
(←I’d like to make one like this!)
The 1st thing I learned was to figure out the proper general diameter
by adding a room’s dimensions together. So a room that is 15ft wide and 12ft long would be 27ft.
Then just change the FEET to INCHES.
A chandelier of 27 inches in diameter is a good starting point!
2nd~Dining Room chandeliers.
A general rule of thumb is to be about 10-12″ narrower than your table.
So if your rectangular table for 6-8 is 40″ × 78″ your chandelier should be no more than 30″ in diameter. A 48″ round table = no more than 38″ diameter.
◊ Round tables can totally mess with these rules—consider the room size once again to find a balance of size!
◊ If there’s a big disparity in what the ROOM size says vs the TABLE size, maybe your table is the wrong size for the space. This has actually given a reality check to some design clients!
◊ In an open-space design, figure your dimensions based on the “designated” dining space.
3rd~table & ceiling clearance.
The bottom of a chandelier should, generally, clear the table top by a min 30″ & the ceiling by 10-12″.
With an 8ft ceiling (or 96″) from the floor up
table, 30″ high
+ 30″ table to light clearance
+ 10-12″ light to ceiling
= chandelier should be about 24-26″ tall/high.
Ceilings higher than 8ft, you should add about 3″ per foot to the table to light clearance. So a 9ft ceiling = 33″ and a 10ft ceiling = 36″ bottom of chandelier over table.
Over an Island—
the general rule is 30″-34″ over counter.
Diameter—add the WIDTH and LENGTH of the room/space together, change the feet to inches and you have the suggested chandelier or lantern diameter for that room. A 10ft x 10ft foyer = 20″ diameter light.
Height—this one’s tricky, no kidding!
1—The general rule is 2½” to 3″ in light fixture height for each foot of ceiling height—the higher the ceiling, the taller the chandelier. But, see #2.
~a 10ft entry ceiling = 2½” or 3″ × 10ft = 25″ to 30″.
~a 12ft entry ceiling = 2½” or 3″ × 12ft = 30″ to 36″.
2—The TOTAL HEIGHT of light fixture = light AND chain & canopy!
3—An 8ft ceiling will accommodate a chandelier that is 20″-24″ in height. WRONG. You need to keep a minimum of 7ft of clearance for people to walk under it!
4—2-story Foyer lights should hang in the “volume of the 2nd floor,” and, should be centered in any window over the door to be visible from outside.
5—Don’t forget to think about the weight of a light. Most ceiling j-boxes will only hold up to 50 lbs! You may have to add extra hardware.
See? These were great guidance rules to learn,
but sometimes rules are meant to be broken. And in the end you may find you still have to make a judgment call on the exact size you choose and hang!
The thing is—when it doesn’t look or feel right—these rules might help you figure out WHY!
Below are some examples of
just wrong, breaking the rules & just perfect,
but you decide!
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