Thursday, October 27, 2011

Choosing and Hanging a Chandelier

While going this process with a friend in her dining room and needing to switch out the chandelier over my own kitchen table, I thought it might be helpful to share a little bit about how to make this easy change in your home.  Updating a light fixture is a cost effective way to make a big impact in a room.  Lighting creates ambiance, mood and can update your style instantly.  Ok, I admit it I still have one of those brass fixtures from the early 90's but I am doing my best to gradually switch them all out.  I even re-painted one to an antiqued black finish when I first moved in and it has lasted for a while, but I'm ready to change that one out too. 

First, here are some gorgeous chandeliers of varying styles for inspiration, each is under $400 - if you shop around you can find some gorgeous pieces to fit your budget!

My obsession right now is everything Minka from the Minka Group, check out this gorgeous chandelier!

Lamps Plus for $379

Bellora Chandelier - love the drops with a rustic feel

Pottery Barn $299

Glass Link Chandelier - great for an eclectic or contemporary space

West Elm $299

6-light chrome Chandelier - traditional and formal $227

Kathy Ireland Venezia Bronze 8-light - traditional and formal

Lamps Plus $150

Cambria Scroll Pendant - casual and would look great in a smaller eat-in area or small round dining table

Lamps Plus $299

Possini Euro Frosted White Glass - contempory or modern look

Lamps Plus $399.99

Now how do you know what size to buy and how to hang it?
Here's a few general guidelines that I have found helpful.  As with any purchase, use your judgement to evaulate what will look best in your dining space.  A good start is to see what you might not like about the current fixture regarding size and shape.

 Buying the right size fixture and hanging it correctly shouldn't be intimidating.  You need three measurements to get you started.  Determine the height of your room floor to ceiling, measure the width and length of your room and measure the length and width of the table.  

First, measure the height of your room.  In general, if the height of your room is over 7 feet tall your room is tall enough to hang a chandelier. 

Next, measure the length and width of your room in feet.  Add those measurements together.  The sum converted to a measurement in inches will equal the appropriate diameter for your chandelier.  For example, for a 14x20 ft room 14+20= 34 feet.  Change this number to inches, thus 34 inches - your chandelier should be no larger than 34 inches in diameter.  If the size seems too large based on the size of your table, take three quarters of the width of the table for your measurement.  For example, three quarters width of a 44 inch wide table, is 33.  The chandelier should be 33 inches in diameter.  

  And last, the correct height to hang the chandelier above a dining table is 30-34 inches above the tabletop.  I have found that 32 inches over a table works well - low enough to have impact but high enough to be visually comfortable when seated to dine.

Take your measurements and go shopping!  There are many styles and finishes to choose from.  Styles range from rustic to formal from a 6-arm chandelier to a pendant chandelier and everything in between.  Some popular finishes are iron, brushed steel, chrome, glass and crystal.  Look to create some consistency in how you have styled the adjoining rooms and what finishes are used in other areas of your home.  Begin with a style and/or color that is predominant in the room in which the new fixture will be hung.

These are general rules of thumb, as always eye-ball it and use your judgement as to what will look best for your room.  The examples above are for a dining room or kitchen table chandelier, but the trend for chandeliers is to use them just about a closet, bathroom, bedroom, or over a kitchen island...adding charm and interest to the most unexpected of areas.

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