Chandeliers and their Functions
Chandeliers have multiple functions; they add a beautiful light source, decoration and define an area while adding interest to a space. The most common area for chandeliers is the dining room. They are also perfect for foyers, breakfast areas and bedrooms. The mini chandelier is also a great way to dress up a space; the mini chandeliers are perfect for smaller spaces with lower ceilings like bathrooms, over an island, walk-in closets and children’s bedrooms. Ceiling height should always be taken into consideration when selecting a chandelier. If you are walking underneath the piece it should be no lower than about 6 feet 8 inches from the ground or just about 80 inches total, this is the height of a standard door. When placing a chandelier over an island, treat it as a pendant and hang it at 72 inches from the floor to the bottom of the piece. This allows the chandelier to be above your face when having a conversation across the island and close enough to admire and illuminate the work space. Fixtures over a table follow this same concept but at a seating height, they should be hung 30 to 36 inches off the table top or 5 feet off the ground.
How large should your chandelier be? When it comes to a chandelier over a table, both the table size and room size should be considered. The first step to take would be to measure the width of your dining room table – your fixture should be approximately 18 to 24 inches smaller than its width, at its widest point. This leaves 9 to 12 inches on either side of the table and gives a good visual balance throughout with protection from the possibility of bumping your head on the fixture. If you have a larger room and high ceilings go with the larger side of the equation. Likewise if you have shorter ceiling and a smaller space, size your chandelier on the smaller side. When sizing a chandelier to hang over an island make sure your ceilings are high enough for that specific fixture, allow at least 6 inches of chain above the fixture. Chandeliers should have at least their equivalent space between them – for example, a 7-foot island can handle up to two 16-inch chandeliers. What if a fixture is not over anything but centered in a room? If this space is a two-story foyer, aim for one third the width of the room, this allows enough breathing space on either side of the piece so it does not feel tight against the walls. If your space has a higher ceiling, follow the old reference of adding up the length and width of the space in feet and then converting the total to inches – a 12 foot by 14 foot room would need a 26 inch chandelier.
Consider both style and functionality when choosing a chandelier – is it in an area where a lot of task light is needed or is it for social interaction? Just about 300 watts produces plenty of light for a dining area where task lighting is needed. Adding alternate light sources like recessed lighting or buffet lamps in a dining room will also ensure satisfactory illumination throughout the entire space. Chandeliers should be placed on dimmers – this will allow for multiple uses and moods of a space. Dining room fixtures can be lowered for social gatherings and intensified for cleaning and games or homework. Bedrooms can be dimmed to set a mood or when watching TV and brightened for reading.