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How To Hang a Chandelier Over Your Desk, Work in Style

This post comes from a reader’s question about how to size an office chandelier. If you really love chandeliers, why not add one to your office. The lighting above your desk is a great way to add a touch of glamor to your workspace.

Lighting your own home office is challenging because your lighting needs are different than they are in a living room or bedroom. In today’s world, we need our offices to double as a pretty background for video calls. You need different levels of lighting. An office with a ceiling light fixture that’s a chandelier needs several additional sources of light.

But first, let’s talk about the fun part. Below are several examples of chandeliers hanging in home office spaces. This will help you get an idea of size and placement. Then we can talk about how to make sure your work space has enough light.

Size Guide for Office Chandelier

Most desks are smaller than dining room tables you need to consider a few more things before you hang a chandelier in your home office space.

First, you want the chandelier to be hung over the center of the desk, like this example from @designinteriorsouth.

chandelier over desk

Second, you want some headroom when you stand up from the desk. At a dining room table, the rule of thumb is to keep the fixture at least 12 inches from the edge of the table. This gives you enough room to stand up without bumping your head.

Your home office desk might not be wide enough to follow this rule. There are two options to work around the rule. You can keep your chandelier small OR you can mount it higher. Instead of 30-36 inches above your desk, mount it six feet above the ground. That’s the best way to ensure that no one on either side of the desk feels like they will bump their head.

Examples of Office Chandeliers

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve found some examples of chandeliers above a desk in different styles to illustrate.

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In this blue office above she has used a wood bead chandelier for overhead lighting. The chandelier isn’t 12 inches from the edge of the desk, but she hung it a little higher so it’s not cramped. Both Target and PB Teen make pretty small-scale beaded chandeliers.

Here are two more examples of square/rectangular shaped chandeliers over the desk from Ballard (example 1 and example 2). You can see in these examples that the light is directly over the center of the desk, but it’s hung higher than a standard table chandelier. This rectangular shape fixture works well over a desk.

This is an example of a statement chandelier from Anthorpologie above a desk and another one from West Elm. In these photos, the chandelier is a little too close to the desk. If this was in your home, you might find yourself bonking your head. If the chandelier is AS WIDE as your desk, hang it above your head height.

Bottom line, if there’s a chandelier you love that you want to hang in your office, but it seems too big, just put it a little higher. It’s a great source of ambient lighting, more on this below.

Additional Lighting for Workspace

Once you have a statement light for your desk, you need to make sure you have adequate lighting to be able to see in your work area. Every room needs a mix of three different types of lighting: 1.) ambient lighting, 2.) task lighting, and 3.) accent lighting. If you have a good lighting plan the entire room is lit. Layering the different types of light makes your home office environment warm and inviting.

Ambient Lighting – Chandeliers are one form of ambient light. If your room doesn’t get any natural sunlight you might need to add recessed lighting.

Task Lighting – Task lamps are easily directed like an adjustable desk lamp, floor lamps with adjustable arms or even a standard table lamp. A cordless lamp is another good way to get task lighting onto a desk.

Accent Lighting – Accent lights are used to “accent” things, like a painting, or a bookshelf. Wall sconces are one way to add accent lighting. You can add them to the walls behind your desk on either side of art or on the outside of a bookshelf. Light strips inside your bookshelves are another way to add a layer of lighting. Accent lights are not bright light.

You can get away with fewer light fixtures if you have plenty of natural light. Play with the lighting in your home office. You’ll be surprised with what a difference good lighting can make in the room. It’s like adding jewelry to a boring outfit.

Related to this topic, see how to find a floor lamps that add lots of light and where to find affordable lamps.

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2 Comments

  1. One of the dumbest things in our office is that they didn’t allow for any overhead lighting! We have to rely on the solo window and the lamps we have in the room. I wonder how we could do this better? Do you have any ideas?

  2. Andrea, this is such a great post! I am strongly considering putting in an office space in my art studio. I’d love a chandelier over my desk! Such great tips and pictures!

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