Choosing and Installing the Best Lighting Fixture

August 8, 2011

Finding the perfect light fixture for a space is always so exciting!  But have you ever been confused about the right height to hang it or wondered if the fixture is too big or too small for the room?   Put those worries aside, because I’ve got the answers!

How high should a chandelier be hung?

Over a Table
When hanging a chandelier over a table, it’s important for it to hang low enough over the table, but not too low so it’s blocking the conversation between people sitting across from each other. A fixture is best positioned about 30-32″ from the bottom of the fixture to the table surface.  Adjusting it a few inches either way may be needed to work with the table size and the overall scale of the space.

Here are two examples of perfectly hung fixtures:

In a foyer
Lighting fixtures in a foyer / entrance space should be hung at least 7′ above the floor, so someone of an average height can easily walk underneath it without hitting their head.  For a two-story foyer space that has a window above the front door, center the chandelier, so it can shine brightly and be seen from the outside.

What size chandelier is right for the space?

Here’s a lil’ math for you…  Add together the length and width of the room.  The result will equal the approximate inch diameter of the chandelier you’ll want for the space.

Here’s an example:
My dining room ~ 8′ + 10′ = 18.  The chandelier that would work best in the space is 18″ diameter. Personally, I always think a bigger is better ~ Go Big or Go Home!  Make a statement with your fixture…add something with interest or a pop of color.

I’m in love with this gorgeous beaded turquoise light fixture ~ Aren’t you?

How about 2 Fixtures?

Depending on the table size and the fixture style, two chandeliers may work.  If you fall in love with a fixture, but it’s a little too small for the room, pair it with a friend.  Alone, this drum shade wouldn’t have provided enough light for the table and would have proportionally been too small, but by having two, the space is filled with drama.

The lantern style lighting fixtures in this dining room are stunning.  They are so unexpected and make quite a statement!

Lighting Gone Bad

I strongly dislike critiquing other’s work, but sometimes you learn from mistakes.  In my opinion, this is a space gone wrong!  The chandelier is hung way to high over the table, and is too small for the room. A larger, more modern fixture would fit the bill – maybe a drum shade or simple chandelier.

How much light is needed?

Last, but certainly not least, is a quick and easy formula for determining the amount of light needed in a room. Length of room x Width of room x 1.5 = Wattage needed for the space.

Here’s an example:
My dining room ~ 8′ x 10′ x 1.5 = 120 watts is needed for adequate lighting in the space.  This calculation can be used for all rooms, not only the dining room area, and the total wattage can come from numerous sources.

If you have any more questions about the best lighting for a space, email me or post on my facebook wall!

Images Courtesy of: Decorpad, Good Girl Gone Glad, Sarah Richardson


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Comments

  1. Judy Edward says:

    We are building a new home and just in the beginning process of picking things out. With all the beautiful and unusual lighting fixtures out there, wouldn’t it be nice to easily interchange chandoliers, pendants, etc., like you might move a table lamp to try it in a new area?
    Thanks for the tips – they will be put to good use, by me!

    • I had so much trouble in rearranging my chandeliers and lamps. And this was just within the house. I am not even thinking of moving with all the lamps.

      That is great information on: right chandelier size and amount of light needed.
      I figured there would be formula for these but never looked for it.

      Thanks for the info.

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