A well-chosen chandelier can be the star of the room, so it’s wise to shop carefully. Along with finding lighting that matches your style, it’s also important to choose an option that’s the right size and wattage for the space, and hanging it at the correct height is key, too. We’ll walk through these considerations below to shed some light on choosing a chandelier.
What size chandelier do I need?
Here’s a very simple way to calculate what size chandelier to buy: Just add the length of your room – in feet – to the width of the room (also in feet). The sum is the diameter or width you should shop for in inches. (Don’t convert it. It’s just the same number in inches.) Here’s how it works:
How to find the optimal chandelier size for your room:
- Start by measuring the length and width of the room in feet
Example: Length = 12 feet, Width = 10 feet
- Add the length and width together (length + width = total feet)
Example: 12 + 10 = 22 feet
- Replace total feet with inches and that will be your approximate chandelier diameter
Example: 22 inches is the recommended approximate chandelier diameter
If your chandelier will be hanging above a table, the calculation is a little different. In general, a chandelier should be about 1/2 to 1/3 the width of the table. So if your table is 3 feet wide (36 inches), shop for a chandelier that’s 12 to 18 inches wide.
What wattage do I need in my chandelier?
You can figure this one out with some easy math, too. First, multiply the length of the room in feet by the width to find the area.
Next, consider how you’ll be using the room. For general-use areas, multiply the square footage by 1.5. For areas were you need more lighting for tasks, such as an office or kitchen, multiply it by 2.5. The resulting number is your needed wattage.
How to find the wattage necessary to best light your space:
- First, measure the length and width of the room in feet
Example: Length = 12 feet, Width = 10 feet
- Next, multiply the length and width figures together to get the total square feet of the area (length x width = total area)
Example: 12 x 10 = 120 square feet
- Then, take the total area and multiply it by 1.5 (for general use areas like a living room) or 2.5 (for areas that require more light like a kitchen)
Example: 120 x 1.5 = 180 or 120 x 2.5 = 300
The resulting number is your needed wattage.
If the chandelier isn’t the only light source, you can scale down wattage accordingly. The numbers you’ve calculated are for total wattage needed in the room. So if you also have a 40-watt lamp in a living room, for example, your chandelier would only need to provide 140 watts.
How high should a chandelier hang above a table?
Generally speaking, a chandelier should be 30 to 34 inches above a table. That’s usually low enough to provide adequate light, but high enough that it’s not casting a glare in diners’ eyes or getting in the way of centerpieces. If you have ceilings taller than 8 feet, you may want to go higher so there’s not a big gap between the ceiling and light. Designers often recommend going 3 inches more above the table for each extra foot of ceiling height.
How high should a chandelier hang in a room without a table?
Hanging a chandelier is a little different if you want people to be able to walk under it. In a room with 8-foot ceilings, leaving 6.5 feet between the floor and the bottom of the chandelier is standard. If you have 10-foot ceilings or taller family members, 7 feet is a good option.
How do I hang a chandelier above a bed?
Adding statement lighting above your bed can take your décor from drab to dramatic. The sizing and wattage guides given above apply to bedrooms as well. The hanging height depends on how tall your bed is. Kneel on your bed and then measure from the top of your head to the ceiling. That’s where the bottom of the chandelier should hang.
If your light fixture box happens to be centered above the bed, you’re in luck. If not, you can either move the box (or hire an electrician to do it) or use swag hooks. If you opt to install a new junction box yourself, check the specifications to make sure it will support a chandelier, and follow installation instructions carefully.
A swag hook is simply a ceiling hook from which to hang your chandelier. Depending on how far you’re hanging it from the existing junction box, you may also need several hooks to support the chandelier cord as it runs along the ceiling, and you might even need to purchase a longer cord. Again, check the weight ratings of the hooks and follow installation instructions carefully.
Of course, as with any design “rules,” there are exceptions to these. A large but delicate-looking chandelier might be fine in a small room, for example, and if you want a brighter dining room, by all means, add more wattage. In the end, the key is to choose a chandelier you love that feels right in your space.