Determining the right size chandelier for a room can be a bit daunting for some people. If you buy one that is too small it will get lost, too big it will overwhelm the room. Some interior designers get carried away with measuring the ceiling height, the size of the room divide it by 3 x 5 and whatever whatever the answer is….. My philosophy is keep it simple. The main measurement is your ceiling height. If you are lucky to have a high ceiling, a victorian house for example with a 10’ ceiling you can play with a fairly large chandelier, or a smaller one and use the chain to bring the chandelier lower into the room.
My recommendation is that you measure down from the ceiling to where you want the chandelier to hang, i.e. the bottom of the chandelier should ideally hang a few inches above the tallest person in the house or if you have tall visitors, say 6’2” then the bottom of the chandelier should hang a little above that. That is the lowest it can hang unless it is hanging over a coffee table or a dining table in which case it can hang lower. An example would be if your ceiling is 9’,(108”) less 6’4” being the height of a tall person plus a couple of inches, the total overall that your chandelier, chain and ceiling rose can measure is 34”. Armed with this measurement you can start to look around at suitable chandeliers knowing that this is your maximum height. If you have a large ceiling height and the chandelier is hung very high to the ceiling it can look a little lost. If you do find that the chandelier is a little small for the room use the chain to hang it low and fill the void.
The next thing to decide is how many lights you need, is the chandelier the only source of lighting for the room, do you have wall-lights, side lamps, are you looking for the chandelier to provide a wow factor but you do not need it for the light. This will determine how many lights you need, i.e. bulbs. If you have a large room and it is the only source of lighting in the room then you should go for a chandelier with many lights. If however you are using the chandelier as a decorative feature and it is not the only source of lighting then it is not as important how many lights the chandelier has.
Don’t be afraid to use more than one chandelier. Pairs are good in a room or two chandeliers which match but are not a complete makes the room a little edgy.
Also don’t be afraid to mix contemporary and antique. Antique chandeliers look good anywhere, mixed with contemporary and traditional. You can also find very quirky antique chandeliers which mix really well in a contemporary setting.
Look at the shape of your room, this will determine the shape of the chandelier you should be looking for. If you have a very square room then a well balanced chandelier, i.e. as long as it is wide would look good. If your room is long and skinny then a chandelier with a tall stem and less wide body would be a good style for that room. Halls can take different styles depending on the ceiling height. Empire styles an open Italian lanterns look nice in small hallways while large hallways can take a large impressive wow factor chandelier as the first thing to greet your visitors. Think outside the box….. barns can take a wonderful large chandelier in a rustic setting for example.
Stairwells are a wonderful place to show off your chandelier. Take into account the stairs, banisters, ceiling height, where you would like the chandelier to hang. I find this is a very personal decision. Some people like the chandelier to hang low into the stairwell so you can look down and into the chandelier while others prefer the chandelier to hang high so you are looking up at it. If you have bannisters then take into consideration the style of the chandelier. You should not have a wide chandelier which could interfere with the banister and especially if there are small children in the house who could walk up the stairs and touch the chandelier. Tall skinny chandeliers look good in a high, not too wide space.
Yes it is hard to visualise how the chandelier will look in a room but with lots of research on the internet, looking at photographs and images of chandeliers in rooms you can get a good feel for what your room could take, the size and the finish. Take your decoration into consideration, i.e. if you have a French shabby chic look in your room look at French or Italian chandeliers with a distressed frame or a good antique patina. If you have a more elegant traditional look then a classic style i.e. a crystal chandelier, empire or gilt framed chandelier would work.
If you can visit chandelier retail outlets then take a photo of the room if you can and show it to the retailer. With their expertise they should be able to to guide you to the best style and shape of chandelier for your room.
Some chandelier dealers, such as Crystal Corner Chandeliers, provide a service where they will take a selection of chandeliers to the home and try them in-situ to be sure you are choosing the right chandelier. If that is not possible and you buy the chandelier before trying then Crystal Corner and other chandelier dealers offer a return service if you are not happy with the chandelier.
If you are hanging a chandelier over a dining table then the height of the chandelier is not as important as if you were walking underneath. This is quite a personal choice of where to hang the chandelier. Some people like to hang the chandelier really low over the table to make a big statement and some like it higher. You could also choose a chandelier which is made for candles in a dining room. There are some styles which could be for candles and electric combined, i.e. an empire style with inner lights shining through the chandelier and outer arms with candle holders where you could have long elegant candles. With these chandeliers you have the choice of lots of light or a romantic candlelight dinner.
Don’t forget to take the size and the shape of the dining room table into account. If you have a circular table the chandelier should be hung over the centre of the table, a long dining table it should be hung in the centre also, or if you have a very long table you could have two chandeliers hanging evenly spaced over the table.
Chandeliers can be hung in any room, bedrooms are a wonderful place for a chandelier along with nurseries, conservatories and any room where you want to add a bit of glamour, style and elegance