How to Determine the Right Chandelier Size for Your Room
Nothing adds a bit of majesty or romance to a room like a chandelier. In one fell swoop, they can make a powerful statement in any spot and of course, add or enhance the room’s lighting. Whether you want a beautiful drum-style chandelier over your dining room table, or lovely pendant lighting over the kitchen bar, the first question is always: “what size chandelier do I buy?”
Determining the correct size and style for each room can be a little tricky, so we’re going to explain the basic decorating guidelines when it comes to sizing a chandelier for a particular room. If you pick one that’s too small, it can easily be lost in the room’s space. Buy one that’s too big, and it can quickly overpower the decor and feel unbalanced. Choosing a chandelier that is proportional to the height and width of the room is the goal. However, beyond proportions, it’s important to also consider your personal tastes, size of other furniture pieces in the room and other sources of light that are currently in the room. All of these factors will play an important role in choosing the right chandelier for your particular spot. Here are a few tips that will help you get the right size chandelier for your room.
For an Entryway or Foyer:
Diameter: A simple way to determine a chandelier size is to add the dimensions of the room together in feet and then convert the answer to inches. The answer in inches should equal the diameter of the fixture. So if your room measures 10′ x 14′ the diameter of the fixture should be about 24″. Here are a few more quick guidelines to help:
If the room is smaller than 10′ x 10′ the fixture should be 17″ to 20″ wide.
If the room is around 12′ x 12′ the fixture should be 22″ to 27″ wide.
If the room is around 14′ x 14′ the fixture should be 24″ to 32″ wide.
Height: The basic calculations for determining chandelier height is to multiply ceiling height by chandelier height, then convert it to inches. You will want to estimate 2.5” – 3” of fixture height for every 1 foot in room height. So, for example, if your dining room has an 8-foot ceiling, then a 24-inch chandelier is the best fit for your space. Here is how we come up with that number:
8 (feet) x 3 (inches) = 24 inches chandelier height
Remember, just estimate 2.5″ to 3″ of chandelier height for every foot of ceiling height.
For the Dining Room Table or Kitchen Island:
Hanging a chandelier in the dining room or breakfast nook adds a few more details to take into consideration. If your chandelier is going to be hanging above a table, you will need to take the Ceiling height and table size into account, as you want the chandelier be proportionate to the table.
You will want to use the same guidelines for Height and Width as above, but now take in consideration your table. Follow these helpful rules:
Height: Hang your chandelier so that its lowest point is 30-34 inches from the tabletop (we always suggest leaning toward the higher end of this margin).
Diameter: The diameter for a chandelier hung over a table should be one foot less than the width of the tabletop to avoid hitting heads. If you want to place two smaller chandeliers over a long table, choose a diameter that’s about one-third of the width of the table.
You can also use the square footage of your room to help estimate the size of chandelier that would be proportional. We’ve provided a quick reference chart below showing the appropriate width or diameter by square footage. Square footage is calculated by taking the length of the room multiplied by the width of the room. Using the example above, a 10’ x 18’ dining room would be 180 square feet, and a chandelier around 28” in diameter would be proportional.
Determine Chandelier Chain Length
Generally, if your ceiling is less than eight feet high, your chandelier should be 30”-34” from the table. For ceilings higher than eight feet, it is recommended to hang the chandelier 36”-40” above the table. Here is an easy formula to determine the exact length of the chain or rope, holding the chandelier. Basically, we are subtracting out the height of your chandelier from the overall length:
1.Measure the ceiling to the tabletop in inches = _____
2.Minus the recommended installation height = 32” (8’ or less ceiling) or 38” (>8’ ceiling)
3.Minus the chandelier height determined in Step 2 above = _____
4.Chain length = _______
In both of the calculations above for a Foyer or Dining Room, we are assuming you have a proportional ceiling height. If you have lower ceiling, open layout, a tiny room, or extra high ceilings, these guidelines might need to be modified.
The above calculations assume you have a ceiling height proportional to the room size. Therefore, if you have a large room and a low ceiling (such as an open floor plan) or a high ceiling and a small room (such as a foyer) this may not apply. See our placement guidelines below to learn more.
Chandelier Placement in Other Rooms around the House
When placing a chandelier in other parts of your home, such as bathrooms, hallways, or bedrooms, you generally want to keep a 7-foot clearance. Let’s look at a few individual room scenarios:
A chandelier can be centered either in the room or over the coffee table. Still keep the recommended clearance of seven feet and this applies regardless of whether there is a coffee table or not. The most important consideration in this area is whether the chandelier will be the primary light source.
A chandelier looks amazing in most bathrooms and the trend is only growing in popularity. Typically, a chandelier will be centered over the bathtub. Try to keep at least eight feet of clearance from edge of tub to ceiling. Diameter can be determined by taking one-third the length of the tub. If placing over the tub and ceiling height does not allow for an eight-foot clearance, we recommend non-electrified chandeliers or wall sconces.
Centered in the middle of the hallway, or spaced eight to ten feet apart for multiples, a minimum of an eight-foot clearance from floor to bottom of chandelier is required. For low ceilings, we recommend flush mount chandeliers. Chandelier size is determined by the width of the hallway; each foot equals 2-2.5 inches in diameter. For example, if your hallway is five-feet-wide, the chandelier diameter would be 10-12 inches.
Two-Story Foyers or Foyers with Stairs:
The overall height of a room will add another dimension when choosing a style. In this case, choose a two- or three-tiered chandelier in order to provide the best visual results. Regarding placement, it is important to acknowledge that there is no perfect answer for this as so many homes are different in this area, and there are many different tastes that can lead to different effects. However, some general guidelines include hanging the chandelier slightly lower than or at the top of the staircase. In other words, if you were at the top of the staircase the top of the chandelier would be at eye-level. Many designers advocate for independent placement to make the fixture the focal point. You can also place the chandelier in relation to another architectural feature, such as tall windows or vaulted ceilings, to enhance the space as a whole.
Once you’ve found the right chandelier diameter (or width and length for non-round pieces), height, and chain length, you’re ready to shop for a new lighting fixture. The Kings Bay offers a large selection of beautiful chandelier lighting and you can choose from a wide variety of styles and finishes to complement your home’s decor and light up your space!