A chandelier fills a space, gives it atmosphere and may add some light. As a designer, I see chandeliers as well as all decorative lighting as jewelry for the home. It is a focal point as well as the finishing touch of an interior’s design.
The light that distinguishes itself as the “diva” of all lights is the chandelier. This is the crown of a design which includes layers of lighting. General illumination may include recessed or ambient lighting, which is light that bounces off a surface and is not visible directly. Accent lighting is visible and and may provide functional lighting in addition to making a statement of its own. This is represented in table and floor lamps, pendant fixtures over islands, or wall sconces.
Getting the Chandelier Location Right
It may be located over a dining table or tucked into a corner niche as artwork. In a bathroom, a chandelier adds glamour, albeit placing it over a bathtub is against building code. It may be a repeated element in a long hallway designed to give the space rhythm and interest or a dramatic sculpture-like element in a multi-story entry. A chandelier in an unexpected place will add sparkle to a little girl’s room, charm to a nursery, or glamour to a powder room.
Chandelier Size Matters
A designer often extends the guidelines in a creative effort to emphasize or to add drama. We have all seen the oversized lights and unusual placements in restaurants and hotels. You may see these filter into the home – they add a sense of now and are a fun splurge to give your space a certain character.
The following are accepted guidelines:
- Generally, the lowest point of a chandelier should not drop below 7 feet above the floor to allow people to pass it safely.
- Over a table or islands:
- A dining room chandelier’s diameter (if it is round) should be approximately 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table. This is to prevent hitting the light while sitting and getting up from the table. The clearance below the light to the table’s surface should be 30-34″ above the table’s surface.
- In a multi-story entry:
- Rule of thumb is to measure the length and width of your room, then add those figures together. The sum of those two numbers is the approximate recommended diameter of your chandelier in inches. The height is 2.5-3″ for each foot of ceiling height.
Materials, Styles and Costs
The myriad of materials and styles allows you the extravagance to customize your space. Do you prefer traditional or contemporary, heavy or light, whimsical or elegant? Cost vary from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on brand, materials and size.
Crystals are the favorite of many homeowners, as can be seen in many large lighting stores. The last decade in our suburbs has made the two-story entry ubiquitous which also provides the opportunity to personalize your home from the outside with the twinkle of your entry chandelier.
Rock crystals may add significant cost to a chandelier. I was recently at a chandelier factory where a large two-story rock crystal chandelier cost $20,000 – whereas its clear cut crystal version was close to $7,000. Rock crystals are a beautiful and more milky version of crystals consisting of certain minerals which are more individually cut and polished rather than by machine.
Modern and sleek chandeliers may appear simple and inexpensive but the quality versions and name brands will easily compare in price to all others.
The Buying Process
Expounding upon the rules of thumb, I always draw the space with a representation of the chandelier both from above and looking at the side to offer a realistic expectation of the final decision. Looking at a light fixture in a store is vastly different than having it in your entry. Size is relative: a chandelier in a large and crowded store will look differently in your space.
At that time, I also discuss the needs of cleaning the chandelier or changing the bulbs along with the logistics of these tasks. Often, we will decide upon a lift to lower the chandelier for maintenance as opposed to climbing a 20 foot ladder. The cost may be about $1,000 including a remote if necessary but it is certainly the best insurance against falls.
The Light of a Chandelier
The chandelier may be the focal point of a room but the light it emits may not be sufficient to functionally light the room. At the same time, additional lighting on the chandelier may be required to properly light a sculpture or to have it optimally sparkle. For example, in a dining room you may need to add recessed lighting to both light up the beautiful tabletop products as well as the chandelier itself.
There are of course chandeliers online that can be purchased and enjoyed by homeowners at even the lowest price-point. You must evaluate your space and lighting needs. I believe there is a chandelier for everyone that will give you the enjoyment and pride in your home – it is better to have one that will enhance the look of your home than to ignore the void.
Light as Art
Lighting completes a room’s design as does art. The perfect pieces add to the character and atmosphere of the space. When this is not available in a manufactured brand, I turn to my trusted sources to manufacture a custom-designed unique light that will fit the space perfectly in size and style.
Are you looking for that perfect chandelier to complete your room design or need assistance in lighting your space optimally? Call me at 201 233-4636 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.