Do you want a chandelier for your table, bedroom or bathroom. It sounds so decadent in the bathroom. If you are in the market for a chandelier you might be wondering what size you should get.
Chandeliers can hang in so many places and they come in every style and finish. You don’t want your chandelier to look too puny or too large. There are a few guidelines that will help you choose the right size chandelier for your room.
The guidelines for size depend on where you will hang the chandelier. If it’s going to be in an open area or over a table. Believe it or not there’s a simple formula for how big your chandelier should be.
How big of a chandelier do I need in an Open Room?
Chandeliers are not just beautiful over a table. They can also make a beautiful statement in an entry, a bathroom, bedroom or even a closet (if you are lucky enough to have a large one).
Chandelier Size Guide
The math for how large your light fixture/chandelier should in an open room is pretty simple. Take the width of the room in feet and add that to the length of the room in feet. For example, my living room is 15 feet by 21 feet. The sum of those two is 36. A chandelier for my living room should be 36 inches wide.
Similarly, if you are hanging a chandelier in a bathroom that is 5 feet by 10 feet your chandelier should be around 15 inches wide. You don’t have to use the exact measurement that the calculation dictates, but the formula helps me to know that a 20 inch chandelier would look too small.
Now that you know how wide your chandelier should be in an open room, let’s talk about the height. Generally the chandelier should be 2-3 inches per foot. A standard 8 foot ceiling would hold a 16 to 24 inch tall chandelier. However, if your ceilings are 8 feet, I would stick to the lower end of the range. You don’t want people to feel like they need to duck under a light fixture.
If you have 10 foot ceilings, you have more room to work with. If your chandelier will hang over a stairway, use the total height of the space to calculate the height of the light fixture.
How big of a chandelier do I need over a table?
Over a dining table, the math is a little different. First let’s talk about width. You take the width of your table and subtract 12 inches. If your table is 36 inches wide the width of the ideal chandelier would be 24 inches wide.
For the length of the table you want to make sure that the chandelier’s length is at least 12 inches less than the table.
For example, my table is 83 inches long, which would suggest I could use a chandelier up to 70 inches long. This is the rule that designers use. But if your table is really long, this might not be possible. It does help you to see that you need a pretty large fixture to have it look in proportion to your table. You can also consider hanging two lights over a single table.
For any table you will want to stick to this rule of thumb – keep the chandelier width 12 inches less than the width or length of the table. You don’t want people to bump into it when they stand up.
Does table shape impact the type of chandelier?
If your table is long and narrow, the width will limit how wide you should go (at least 12 inches less than the table). For a table that is greater than 60 inches in length you should consider a chandelier that is similarly shaped – long and narrow.
Here’s an example with a rectangular table from Ballard Designs and a chandelier from Ballard Designs. The calculation above suggests a chandelier size of 52 inches (64-12). First, this is not really a size that you could find, but it does help you to see that something 24 inches will look way too small. For this type of table something more linear will be a better fit.
The shape of your chandelier should complement the shape of the chandelier. A round table looks best with a chandelier that is either round or square. For long narrow tables you may want to consider a chandelier that is more rectangular than round.
You may notice as you start shopping for your chandelier, that there is no fixture that perfectly matches the dimensions you are looking for. The key is to find a light that isn’t too small or too large. These measurement rules are guidelines to help make sure you get close to the right proportion.
how low should a chandelier hang over a table?
Another way of thinking about this is what is the height of a chandelier over your table.
A chandelier hung over a table should be 30 to 34 inches above the bottom of the table. Your chandelier height should be close enough to the table that it will light up the table more than a ceiling light would. But you also don’t want the light to be so close that people hit their heads when they stand up from the table.
If you have a fixture that hangs from a chain, it is easy to adjust the height of your chandelier after you live with it for a few days. If your chandelier appears to have a fixed height because it has a pole (like this one) it’s harder to adjust the length, but not impossible.
how to lengthen a chandelier (so it hangs lower)
If you need to make your chandelier longer so it will hang closer to a your dining room table you probably need to add more wire.
The first step is to turn the breaker off to your light and disconnect the screws that hold the light fixture up. Sometimes there is extra wire wrapped up inside the fixture. If there isn’t, this post explains how to do extend the wires that even if you aren’t very handy.
You can easily make the chain longer if it hangs on a chain. If it hangs on a pole you can usually buy a longer pole in a finish that matches your fixture. Here are some examples.
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how to Shorten a chandelier (so it hangs Higher)
If you have the opposite problem it’s solved in basically the same way. To raise your chandelier so it hangs farther from the dining room table you might be able to pull the wires up in side the ceiling. If not, you will need to shorten the wires/chain or rod.
The method for shortening the wires is much the same as it is for lengthening it. You trim the wires after you have the breaker shut off. You can take links out of the chain if it hangs from a chain. You can also get a shorter rod if your chandelier doesn’t hang from a chain.
how to hang multiple chandeliers/pendants?
If you have a very long table you might want to consider hanging more than one light fixture. You can hang two smaller scale chandeliers or two pendant lights. Be sure to hang multiple fixtures at least 26 to 28 inches apart.
Also make sure that no fixture comes closer than 6 inches from the edges of the table.
Can a Chandelier be too big?
A chandelier can be too large for a space, just like it can be too small. Most people make the mistake of putting a fixture that is too small rather than too large. If you stick close to the measurement guidelines above, the scale should be just right. Over a table use the length and width minus 12. Anything larger can look strange.
Should a chandelier be in the center of the room or the table?
If you are hanging a chandelier over a table that is NOT in the center of your dining room it should be hung centered over the table. If you hang it in the center of the room it can make your table feel like it’s in the wrong place.
Choosing the right size light for your room
If you are shopping for a chandelier, consider the size relative to the dimensions of your room. If you’re looking for a chandelier to hang above a table, focus more on the dimensions of your table. Use the formulas as a guide to help you look for something that will be proportional to your table.