The dining room chandelier is like icing on the dining room design cake. In addition to providing lighting and ambiance, it also adds visual focus and a stylized design element. So, selecting the dining room chandelier is an important step. The wrong chandelier can make the room fall flat, while the right one will be noted and serve as a conversation piece for all who sit at your table.
Tips for Choosing a Dining Room Chandelier
The following tips will help you select – and then hang – your chandelier so it makes for a picture-perfect dining room.
The empty room. If you are just moving into a home, having a room built, and/or haven’t yet purchased a dining room table, you will want to size the chandelier in proportion with the dining room’s dimensions. In this case, the designer’s “rule of thumb” is to add the length plus the width of the room. The resulting figure would be the rough size of the chandelier’s diameter. So, if your dining room is a 10 x 12 space, you would keep your eye out for chandeliers that are roughly 22 inches in diameter.
The furnished room. If your dining room is already furnished, you should size the chandelier according to the table’s dimensions. In this case, designers typically choose a fixture (or two fixtures!) that is about one-half (no less than one-third) of the table’s width. By taking these dimensions into consideration, the chandelier will be in proportion to the space.
The table shape. The shape of the chandelier is also of importance. In most cases, you’ll see that a well-chosen chandelier mimics the shape of the table below. So a round table will have a round fixture while a square or rectangular table will have a similarly shaped chandelier. Of course, this is only a guideline. If you find a chandelier you love and it doesn’t fit this rule, go ahead and install it to see what you think. You can always return it if it doesn’t work out.
Complement your existing design. Your chandelier should complement the existing interior design. In a separate, formal dining room, this means keeping in line with the existing style. If you have an open floor plan, it can be fun to use the dining room chandelier as a way to tie in color, pattern, shape or other visual elements that may be visible elsewhere in the living space, while still holding true to the dining room design elements.
If you are someone who likes to change things up more frequently than most, consider purchasing a chandelier that uses a shade – or shades – as part of its aesthetic. This gives you a little flexibility because you can change the shades over time rather than having to change out the whole fixture.
How to Hang the Chandelier
If you are the first homeowner to install a chandelier in that space, or if you have chosen a particularly heavy chandelier, I highly recommend you hire an electrician who can make sure your ceiling is reinforced properly so it can withstand the weight of the fixture.
Typically, the chandelier should hang about 30-inches from the table top for an 8-foot ceiling. If the ceiling is higher, add 3-inches to that distance for every additional foot of ceiling height. So a 9-foot ceiling would leave 33-inches between the bottom of the chandelier.
If your chandelier doesn’t come with a dimmer option, I recommend installing a dimmer switch so you can control light quality and ambiance.