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The Best Height for Light Fixtures

Display your lighting fixtures like a designer by learning the proper height for every light fixture in your home.

Carly Reynolds
Carly Reynolds
Laundry room with wall sconce, pendant light and flush ceiling light.

Creating a stylish lighting story is essential to creating a bright and welcoming space. Once you’ve taken the time to carefully select lighting fixtures that will enhance your interior decorating style and provide functional and fashionable glows throughout the space, you have to determine precisely where to hang each one. Make your home look professionally designed by understanding the different heights appropriate for each lighting fixture throughout your home. Discover the right height for hanging ceiling light fixtures and wall sconces throughout your home.

How Does Ceiling Height Affect Placement?

Pendant light with glass shade and gold finish. Dining table, chandelier
Pendant light with glass shade and gold finish. Dining table, chandelier

Typically, homes are made with eight-foot ceilings. Modern homes, however, have been trending toward ceilings that are nine feet high or even higher. It’s also common for great rooms and living rooms in two-story homes to have an open, double-height ceiling. Hanging ceiling light fixtures varies based on the ceiling height in your home.

8-Foot Ceilings

Because eight-foot ceilings can be a little limiting, fixtures may have to hang slightly lower in those spaces. Higher ceilings give you more freedom to raise the hanging height.

9-Foot Ceilings

Many modern homes have ceilings that are nine feet or higher, the extra height providing a roomier feeling. That added height also provides an additional opportunity to feature larger light fixtures.

16 to 18-Foot Ceilings

When you have an especially high ceiling in a great room, such as a double-height 18-foot ceiling, make sure to provide plenty of room above the fixture for everything to breathe, approximately six feet or so. If the fixture is too high, it will look odd in comparison to the ceiling height.

The Best Height for Every Lighting Fixture

Black pendant lights over kitchen island, luxe sconce lighting in bathroom.

Every room in your home has different lighting needs, but not to worry. We break down the proper hanging height for any type of lighting fixture so you can hang your fixtures like a pro.

Pendant Light Height Over Islands

Large pendant lights, white and gold shades over natural wood island.

Pendant lighting is a beautiful and incredibly functional lighting solution over a kitchen island. You can even get some designed to retrofit into a recessed lighting unit. If you’re adding these task-friendly downlights to your kitchen, it’s essential to have the proper pendant light height over the island. Pendant lights that are too high will look odd. When they are hung too low, they can block your sightlines and make it difficult to talk to people on the other side of the island.

Gold and white geometric pendants, black industrial farmhouse pendants.

First, make sure the outside light fixtures are mounted about a foot in from the edge of your island and that they are mounted about two feet apart from one another when installed in a row. In total, the island lighting fixtures can take up about 4/5 of the total length of the island with even spacing between them. Make sure you install the pendant lights so that the lowest part of the light is hanging between 30 and 36 inches from the countertop. 

Chandelier Height Over Dining Room Tables

Modern linear chandelier with Edison light bulbs over dining table.

Your dining room chandelier is likely to be the focal point of your dining space. Make sure it shines by ensuring a proper chandelier height over your table. If you have 8-foot ceilings, measure up from the top of your table. Your chandeliers should be between 30 and 36 inches. If your ceiling is taller, try going up to 40 or even 44 inches.

Hanging Ceiling Light Fixtures in A Foyer & Hallway Lighting

Tapered candle pendant with seeded glass in foyer. Drum chandeliers in hall

Ambient lighting is essential in every room of the home because it helps to brighten the space and provide the light needed to complete daily tasks. Anytime you are hanging ceiling lights in a high-traffic area, they need to be hung at a proper height.  

Foyers and hallways are two of the primary areas where you’ll frequently walk underneath ceiling fixtures. To ensure everyone in your home has plenty of space to navigate, make sure there is at least seven feet between the floor and the lowest point of the lighting fixture.

3 modern wall sconces in matte black finishes.

Wall Sconces can be a different story because you don’t need to pass under them. Between 66-72 inches from the floor will be the ideal place for these low-profile and very functional fixtures.

Lighting Fixtures Over Beds

Gold sputnik chandelier over white bed. 3 blade ceiling fan over bed.

A dramatic lighting fixture over a bed can bring a glamorous moment to any bedroom design. Ceiling fans with lighting kits are also a popular choice in bedrooms because they help to maintain cool and comfortable sleeping temperatures in the room. If the lighting fixture is over an open part of the floor, maintain seven feet of space between the floor and the lowest part of the fixture. If it is hanging over a bed, the proper hanging height comes down to the height of the bed.

Lighting Over Seating Areas

Blue velvet drum chandelier with gold finish, elegant living room.

Create a bright and stylish conversation area anywhere in your home by arranging it beneath a beautiful fixture. People will be walking through a sitting area, getting up, and moving around the space. You’ll also want the freedom to re-arrange or replace the furniture below the lighting fixture. Because of this, treat it as any other high-traffic area in your home, ensuring there’s at least seven feet off space between the bottom of the fixture and the floor.

Over a Bathtub

Luxury organic bath with wood beaded chandelier over tub.

It can be fun to elevate your bath-time experience by displaying a luxe chandelier over your tub, but there are some rules you have to follow when it comes to bathroom lighting. Make sure the chandelier height and ceiling height allows you to maintain a distance of at least eight feet between the top of the tub and the lowest part of the lighting fixture. If you don’t have the ceiling height to accommodate this, shift the chandelier, so it is at least three feet away from the tub.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Lighting Fixtures

Knowing the proper height for every lighting fixture is only one of two important components, and the proper hanging height is just one of them. It’s also important to choose lighting fixtures that are the right scale for the area they’ll illuminate.

Fixture Height

Once you know both your ceiling height and the correct height to hang your fixture, you can better determine a good height for the fixture itself. Before you purchase your light, make sure to check the dimensions, making sure you can provide proper clearance below the fixture while still allowing it to hang properly from the ceiling.

Fixture Width

Graphic showing how to measure room to find light fixture diameter.

So how wide should my lighting fixture be? There’s a simple formula for that. Measure the longest and shortest wall of your room and add those two lengths together in feet. Take that number and think of it in terms of inches instead of feet, and that’s the desired diameter of a chandelier or grand lighting fixture hanging in the space.

When You Can’t Adjust Hanging Height

2 ceiling lights, semi-flush and flush mount. Gold finish and matte black.

When you’re installing your fixtures, you may notice there are some times when you can’t adjust the hanging height. Semi-flush and flush mounts aren’t as adjustable in hanging height, so use the length of the fixture itself to help take up the necessary space available. Track and rail lighting is another fixture that mounts directly to the ceiling. With these systems, the drop of the light from the track will help affect the final hanging height of the fixture.

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