Chandeliers Buying Guide

Chandeliers are decorative lighting fixtures, hung from the ceiling, with branches to hold a number of bulbs or candles over a fairly wide area. Chandeliers are best suited for providing ambient light, or general lighting for an area. They do not do well as accent or task lights.

The use of chandeliers are no longer confined to fancy ballrooms. There are many kinds of chandeliers to fit many settings, styles and budgets. There are antique chandeliers costing thousands of US dollars (USD), and much more moderately priced chandeliers to suit less elegant requirements. Chandeliers can be elegant, traditional, rustic, sophisticated, casual, or contemporary.

They can provide good lighting solutions in foyers, dining rooms, dens, hallways, libraries, living rooms, sitting rooms, kitchens, and vacation homes. Some whimsical nurseries or romantic bathrooms utilize chandeliers to create the right mood. Chandeliers feature uplighting (fixtures directed so that light bounces off the ceiling), or downlighting (lighting aimed directly at the area to be illuminated), or a combination which provides you with more choices to fit your particular needs.

One necessity is hanging a chandelier from a ceiling box with a ceiling-box stud. If you need help configuring your room, an electrician can provide the services you need. If you need help choosing the style and type of light to fit your home, an ALA (American Lighting Association) Certified Lighting Specialist may be of assistance.

Choosing a Chandelier

home institute 1 Your choice of chandelier will depend on what you need it to do, and in what setting. This will determine many of the chandelier’s characteristics.

• Style

There are chandeliers to fit many different room styles and looks. Chandeliers may be made of brass, nickel, pewter, wrought iron, and other metals. Styles include Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Colonial, Empire, Mission, Neoclassical, Victorian, and Tiffany. Mini chandeliers are also available. Painted chandeliers can be found to match or contrast with the color in the room.

• Size

In a dining room, a chandelier needs to have clearance from the ceiling and above the table. The latter is important so that people’s lines of vision are not blocked by the lighting. It is recommended to allow 30 inches (.75 meters) above the table to the lowest part of the chandelier. Particular situations and chandeliers may require an adjustment in this number. The diameter of the chandelier should be one-half the width of the table.

In a foyer or entrance hall, use the appropriate formula:

Formula for Feet and Inches

1. Add the length and the width of the room in feet.
2. Restate the answer to 1 as inches, rather than feet to find the diameter of the chandelier. Example: if the answer to 1. is 24 feet, then the chandelier should be 24 inches in diameter.

Formula for Meters and Centimeters

1. Add the length and the width of the room in meters.
2. Multiply the answer by 100.
3. Divide the answer by 12. State as centimeters. Example: if the answer to 1. is 9 meters then the chandelier should be 75 centimeters in diameter.

• Ensembles

Chandeliers may be offered with other coordinated lighting to form a stylish ensemble. Possibilities include wall sconces, table lamps, floor lamps, and other ceiling fixtures.

Written by Mary Elizabeth