ChandelierChandeliers aren’t just for grand foyers and formal dining rooms any more. In contemporary homes, this popular form of decorative lighting also shows up in bathrooms, eating nooks, hallways and bedrooms, in sizes and styles ranging from the traditional grandiose crystal model to the sleek and modern pendant lamp, with enough options in between to leave even the Phantom of the Opera scratching his head over which one is right for the job.

To help narrow down your choices, you should focus first on selecting the right size. This is arguably the most important factor to consider; too large of a chandelier can make a space look gaudy and overwhelmed, whereas one that is too small can make the room look unbalanced, not to mention fall short of providing adequate light. Fortunately, size is probably also the easiest factor to determine. All you have to do is follow one of these simple formulas:

  • In kitchens and dining areas, simply measure the width of your table and subtract 12 inches to determine your chandelier’s diameter. As for its height, it should be short enough (or tall enough, as the case may be) to hang 30 to 36 inches above the table (for ceilings higher than nine feet, add three inches for every foot).
  • If it won’t be centered over a dining table, then just measure the length and width of the room, and add the dimensions together to determine the number, in inches, for the diameter of your chandelier. So for an 11×12 foot space, your chandelier should be 23 inches in diameter. It should also hang at least seven feet above the floor.
  • Another method is to only measure the width of the room and multiply by two inches for every foot. In this case, a room with a width of twelve feet would require a 24-inch diameter chandelier.

As you can see, it’s not an exact science. These are only guidelines, and you can add or subtract a couple of inches either way. Other factors, such as the style that looks best with your décor and the amount of lighting you want the chandelier to provide, will help in determining whether to go with the smaller or larger end of the size spectrum. But if you follow these rules of thumb, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the chandelier that’s just right for your space.

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