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How To Choose The Right Size Chandelier

Learn the formulas to guarantee you love the look.

Yvonne Harbison
Yvonne Harbison
How To Choose The Right Size Chandelier

Match the Size

When it comes to choosing a chandelier for your home, one of the most important considerations is the size of the room it will be installed in. The measurements of the room determine the measurements of the chandelier itself because of the eye-catching nature of the hanging feature. It will draw attention, so it should be in balance with the proportions of the entire room to avoid distorting the view.

There’s a useful formula to help with sizing your chandelier to your room, so grab your tape measure, a pen, and some paper, and jot this down for your planning.

For a room:

Room Width (feet) + Room Length (feet) = Chandelier Diameter (inches)

E.g.: For a room that is 10’ by 10’, you would want a chandelier of no more than 20” diameter

For a hallway:

Hallway Width (feet) x 2 = Minimum Chandelier Diameter (inches)

And

Hallway Width (feet) x 2.5 = Maximum Chandelier Diameter (inches)

E.g.: For a 4’ wide hallway, keep your chandelier within the range of 8” to 10” diameter.

As you’re trying to determine the size of your chandelier, keep in mind that you don’t want people walking into it. When measuring the room, get a ballpark range for how tall of a chandelier will fit in the space you have available. To determine how tall your chandelier should be, there is another helpful formula to get you a range that should help match the proportions.

For the chandelier height:

Room Height (feet) x 2.5 = Minimum Chandelier Height (inches)

and

Room Height (feet) x 3 = Maximum Chandelier Height (inches)

E.g.: An 8’ tall room can bring in a 20” to 24” tall chandelier.

It is important to note that the height of your chandelier includes the downrod or chain as well as the lighted fixture itself. It’s a good idea to plan for the bottom-most edge of that chandelier to be no closer than six and a half to seven feet’ off the ground.

Doorways and Foyers

When placing chandeliers near standard sized doorways, pay attention to which direction the door swings. An eight foot walking clearance under a chandelier will allow extra peace of mind in a busy room or walkway. It should allow enough space between the bottom of the lamp and the floor that the average human can walk under it without bumping their head on the lighting fixture, and high enough up that an open door would be likely to clear it in spaces such as small foyers with high ceilings. A chandelier should always be placed three feet away from a doorway to allow for the swing of the door as well as the draft it creates, which could jostle the chandelier. Always make sure it’s mounted securely to minimize these issues.

Measuring Over A Table

The guidelines get a little situational when it comes to chandeliers. For instance, if you have a large room, you can get by with a smaller chandelier if that chandelier has a lot of detail or intricate design work. Why? Because the detail adds more to look at, more depth, invites more interest, and adds a visual weight to the piece that helps balance it against the other lines in the room and help it hold its own despite the smaller size.

The same situational ‘rule’ applies to chandeliers that will be centered over a dining room table.

When hanging a chandelier over a table, the diameter can also be decided by the size of the table, rather than the size of the room. A table, such as a dining room table, is also a focal point in a room, so the chandelier should share attention with the table and keep it proportionate.

  • For a round or rectangular table, a chandelier should be about ½ to ⅔ the length of the table.
  • A round table should have a round or square shaped chandelier as a rectangular or narrow chandelier would be harder to balance.
  • A more modern style chandelier with less diameter, such as a linear style with fewer bulbs and long, narrow connections between, it can take up less visual weight. For these, they can be as long as ⅘ the length of the table to accommodate.

Because the table will be under the chandelier, the standard height requirement of 6’6” is also no longer necessary, as no one is likely to be walking under the fixture while there’s a table in the way. Instead, the guideline to follow is that the lowest edge of the chandelier should be between 30” and 34” off the tabletop. This allows for people to comfortably socialize, sit, and stand from their seats, as well as allowing room for most decorative centerpieces. The lower placement keeps the chandelier just above your field of vision for enjoying the decoration while providing a comfortable glow of light without the harsh glare.

The most important factor in designing your home is your satisfaction with the end result. When it comes to the elegance and art of a chandelier, the best determination for a balanced outcome is to measure your space appropriately to make sure the chandelier will fit. With the right sized chandelier, you’re sure to love the look.

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