Choosing the Perfect Chandelier

We think a new chandelier can completely transform a space. There is no doubt that chandeliers always add a touch of beauty and high-level lighting to any room. But how do you know which style, shape and size to choose? Let’s explore.

How to Choose the Perfect Chandelier

First, let’s talk about what a chandelier is. A chandelier is an ornamental light fixture, often forming part of a larger decorative scheme. Many chandeliers are designed to be both beautiful and functional, but there are also those made only for decoration.

Types of chandeliers

Chandeliers come in different shapes, colors and sizes, but the most popular type is the one with arms ending with decorated ends holding candles or light bulbs. Also known as girandoles, these lamps were usually hung from ornate ceilings in grand houses during the 17th century. However, since then their design has changed several times to adapt to new technologies that allow better lighting solutions. This means that even though some classic models look like they came straight out of an ancient house, today’s chandeliers have advanced so much so that contemporary models are much more convenient for today’s homes.

Here at Cottage & Bungalow, we offer several gorgeous styles. You can explore classic chandeliers, contemporary chandeliers, and coastal chandeliers. Options range from basic to whimsical and ornate to sophisticated. We have pieces with clean lines and beach chandeliers that capture the essence and spirit of the ocean and its surroundings.

Functional aspects of chandeliers

Before buying a chandelier, you should ask yourself what it will be used for. This will help you choose the most functional style that can meet all your needs. For example, if you want to lighten up a large space in your home, then opt for a larger chandelier with multiple arms holding many light bulbs or candle lights, or with a broad base.

If on the other hand, you want to brighten up a smaller space such as an entryway hall, or powder room, you’ll want to choose a classic chandelier with a smaller footprint.

Choosing the right size chandelier for your room

To find the right size use this simple equation: Measure the width of your room. The chandelier should be two inches in diameter for every foot of width. A 12-foot wide dining room, then, would work best with a chandelier that’s 24 inches in diameter; a 10-foot wide space would call for a chandelier approximately 18 to 24 inches in diameter. Other experts offer a similar formula: Add the dimensions of the room together, and that number in inches is the width of the chandelier that best fits the room. So a 10-by-12 foot room would call for a 22-inch wide chandelier.

Consider too, the chandelier’s style in selecting the right size. For example, “if a chandelier is extremely ornate, even if it’s smaller than what you might imagine, it can work in a large room,” says Cheryl Katz, co-author of Chandeliers (Rockport, 2001), and co-owner of Boston-based design company C&J Katz Studio. The ornate features give it a different kind of weight.

Where do I place my chandelier?

Once you have decided on the space where your new chandelier will hang, measure the ceiling height and also look for bulbs of a maximum of 60 watts if you want more mood lighting or lights of up to 100 watts if you prefer brighter light. If the room is long and narrow, go for a small chandelier with asymmetric arms so that it doesn’t look too bulky at one end. You can also use more than one chandelier in your home so as to create a stylish layered lighting effect. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and shapes.

For eating areas, consider the size and shape of your table in picking the right chandelier

The chandelier should be approximately one-third the width of the table.  So a 5-foot round dining table would call for a chandelier with a diameter of 20 inches. Oval or rectangular tables can take a slightly wider chandelier, such as a pendant style with two or more pendants. A round chandelier, the most classic shape, is terrific with a round table.

Hang the chandelier so that the bottom of the chandelier is roughly 30 inches from the top of the table, to ensure that the chandelier doesn’t encroach on your view of your dining companions, and it gives you space to fit a vase of flowers or another tall centerpiece. Do not hang your chandeliers too high (many people do). Also, be sure that the chandelier is centered over the table and not in the middle of the room. If you’ve got a hutch or sideboard against one wall, as most people do, your table will likely be pulled out slightly from the exact center of the room, and everything will look off-kilter if the chandelier hangs exactly dead center.

Think about how much light you need for your space

The chandelier is usually only one part of the lighting. In a dining room, pot lights in the ceiling or track lights can add extra wattage if you use the space for projects and homework as well as candlelit dinners. Perimeter lighting, such as sconces or buffet lamps, can add even more illumination. In most cases, it’s best to put your chandelier on a dimmer switch, so you can change the intensity of the lighting for various uses.

You’ll also want to consider energy use

Energy efficiency is another factor to consider before buying a chandelier. Although all chandeliers provide some kind of light when they are turned on, there are some models which use so little power that they can be powered via solar panels or batteries! And even if you choose one which requires electricity, be sure to check the wattage rating. Some older chandeliers can use as much as 200 watts per bulb, which means that if you put five bulbs in it then you will need to buy a 1,000-watt transformer! However, today there are many more energy-efficient options available with lower wattage ratings.

Would you like to explore a variety of chandeliers?

Great! Visit our website to see our full line of chandeliers ranging from simple to ornate.  Have any questions? Our seasoned staff will help you choose.

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