Chandeliers Basics: Narrowing The Choices

There are lots of types and styles of chandeliers on the market today. Chandelier have always been a very stylish lighting solution that can be used almost in any room. Just bear in mind that the size of a chandelier should correspond the size of the room, and its design should match the room's overall theme. When chosen wisely, a new chandelier will definitely add a touch of chic to your room and even the whole house, not mentioning the fantastic lighting source for the needs of your family.

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A chandelier over the dining table (tap to enlarge)

Take into consideration that chandelier is a quite expensive option comparing to the other light fixtures. So if you decide to make a chandelier your main lighting source for a particular room, you should better make some preparations. Think about the size of a room, its style and design, the supposed location of light fixtures (not only a chandelier that you are going to buy, but also the other sources of light like table, floor or wall lamps, uplights or downlights, some accent or task lighting).

The great idea is to calculate the right size of a chandelier to be sure that it will perfectly match the room and won't be ridiculously big or too small. To know the best size of a chandelier we should focus on its height, diameter and how many arms should it have.

The height of a chandelier is calculated depending on the height of a room. The rule of thumb is to divide the height of a room by 4 - this will be the best height of a chandelier. E.g. if a room is 10 feet high, the height of a chandelier should be 10 / 4 = 2.5 feet. Still, you should take into consideration a couple of additional rules here. Remember to leave at least 6'3" distance from the floor so that people can walk under the chandelier with no risk of hitting it with the head. If you wish to hang a chandelier over a dining table, try to leave no less than 3 feet gap between the light fixture and the table top. As you can easily see, if your room is less than 8 feet high, maybe it's better to think about the alternative sources of light, as chandelier will hardly beautify it.

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There is an easy formula to determine the perfect diameter of a chandelier. It's as simple as adding together the dimensions of a room in feet, and the received number in inches will be the correct answer. For example, if a room is 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, the best chandelier diameter will be 20+10=30 inches.

After determining the height and diameter of a chandelier, you should think about its lighting capacity. It is determined by the number of light bulbs, and thus by the number of arms. The more bulbs, the brighter the light. You also should consider the brightness of each bulb. Remember that the old incandescent bulbs need more Watts to emit the same amount of light than the new CFL or LED bulbs. So it is better to pay attention to the brightness index in Lumens and not in Watts. For example, a 40 Watt incandescent bulb produce 380 460 Lumens (and remember that most chandeliers must be fitted with bulbs not exceeding 40 Watt), while an average LED bulb will need only 5 Watt to put out the same amount of Lumens! Except this, think about how your interior absorbs light. White walls, mirrors and glass items, light hardwood floor and furniture reflect light, while dark walls, floor and furniture absorb it, so you'll need less bulbs (and consequently arms of a chandelier) to illuminate the light-colored room than the dark one.

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Remember that chandeliers are normally used to create some gentle ambient light, so you might need some more light sources to arrange the correct lighting scheme in a room. Think about some recessed downlights, wall lights, track lighting systems that provide good task lighting, or maybe some floor and table lights. But try not to get carried away with such a diversity of lighting products, as you can overwhelm the room without purpose and just waste your money. Also keep in mind that if you buy a big sophisticated chandelier with lots of details, the other sources of light should be as simple as possible. In this case small and plain table lamps or wall lights will be the smartest solution.

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Next think about the other light fixtures in your house. Is your new chandelier matching the overall theme of the living space? If your house is designed in a vintage style, some neoteric hi-tech light fixture will be a very bad decision. Stick to the overall theme of your dwelling no matter how much you like some particular item in store, and you'll never make a mistake.

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A chandelier in a living room (tap to enlarge)

By the way, you can easily make a mistake when choosing a chandelier by its price or the name brand. As mentioned above, chandeliers aren't a cheap option, the prices generally start from $200 and up to a few thousands of dollars, and some designer items can cost a fortune. But the most expensive product is not always the best pick for your particular room. It's also a bad idea to choose the cheapest one only if your budget is tight. In this case it is better to think about some other light fixtures, such as pendant lights, track lighting or recessed lights.



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