A chandelier is a decorative light that can be hung from the ceiling with a chain or rod. They are generally not as elaborate as chandeliers, but pendant lights are an alternative to traditional light fixtures and offer both style and functionality. Find one, two, three, or more to suit your decor. In today’s guide, we’ve put together some tips for you on buying a chandelier. Read on to learn more.
1. Pendant Lighting size
To help find the right size, consider the location and purpose of the light. Pendant lights range in width or diameter from 5 to 45 inches or more. To find the right size chandelier for your space, consider the size of the lamp, the spacing between multiple lights, and the height of the lamp. Planning can be made easier by following these tips.
To quickly calculate the maximum size for a table or countertop pendant, simply subtract 12 inches from the width of the space. For example, if you are lighting an island that is 5 feet (60 inches) long and 3 feet (36 inches) wide: 36 – 12 = 24
The maximum pendant width or diameter is 24 inches. This leaves 6 inches of space on each edge of the table or countertop. The lights don’t look crowded, and there’s less risk of people hitting their heads on the light fixtures.
1) Pendant lighting spacing
Now think about how many pendants this space could hold. Because lamps come in a variety of sizes and designs, there is no standard spacing that applies to every type of lamp. However, there are some general principles.
- A minimum of 6 inches of clearance is required at each end of the table or countertop.
- Combinations of two or three lights are ideal for small to medium spaces. For longer tables and countertops, add more lights if they can be spaced appropriately.
- It’s more fun to group an odd number of pendants, so consider sizes that allow for groupings of three, five, etc.
- Planning distance from the regional center. For an even number of lights, two lights are the same distance from the center and the other lights are equally spaced extending outward. For an odd number of lights, start with the one in the center.
With these starting points in mind, here are some pendant spacing tips:
- If you have 5 feet of space, you can usually fit one large pendant or two medium-sized pendants.
- For a larger table or island, try a few large pendant lights or up to three medium-sized fixtures.
- For medium and large lights that are 10 inches wide or larger, spacing 18 to 24 inches between fixtures can provide an attractive, comfortable appearance. Some designers recommend using wider spacing and using a range of 24 to 30 inches.
- You can use the width or diameter of the lights as a minimum measurement for spacing, but you generally don’t want them to be closer than 18 inches apart.
- For larger tables or countertops, you can increase the spacing to approximately twice the width or diameter of the pendant.
2) Pendant lighting height
When installed above a dining table or countertop, pendant lights should generally be hung so that the base of each light is approximately 30 inches to 36 inches from the surface. If your ceiling is 8 feet high, consider hanging lights at the lower end of the range; for ceilings 9 feet or higher, plan for the higher range.
Most chandeliers come with enough wire and the necessary chains or extension rods to allow you to change the hanging height as needed. Use the above measurements as a guide, but make sure the light fixture doesn’t block the view or hang too low that people can bump into it.
2. Pendant lighting styles and finishes
Style is the most common feature when purchasing a chandelier. Choose a style that you like and that matches the rest of your decor.
- Traditional chandelier: Traditional hardware offers a more ornate and classic look. The details and finishes suit a variety of styles, including farmhouse, antique, and rustic.
- Modern Chandelier: A contemporary or modern chandelier has clean lines and a sharp, minimalist look that is simple and understated.
- Transitional Pendant Lights: Transitional chandeliers combine traditional with modern, allowing you to mix elements of both styles for a personalized look.
- Unique Pendant Lighting: If you’re looking for a more casual and fun look, unique light fixtures can give you the most personal touch.
Within each style, you can choose a theme such as:
- High quality
- wrought iron
Pendant lights come in a variety of finishes. Get inspired by the existing décor in your home. If the doorknobs and cabinet hardware are all brushed nickel, choose lighting fixtures with complementary finishes. Popular chandelier finishes include:
- oil rubbed bronze
- polished chrome
- brushed nickel
- polished nickel
- black iron
3. Shades, bulbs and accessories
Pendant lamp shades are available in glass, fabric, and metal. Mini chandeliers sometimes come with shades sold separately so you can mix and match. Fabric lampshades provide diffused light, perfect for bedrooms. You can choose fabric shades with metal or wood panels if you want a stylish look. Metallic tones look great in kitchens with an industrial theme. Popular chandelier shades include:
- tinted glass
- frosted glass
- Smoked white glass diffuser
- Tiffany style glass
- polished chrome
- oil rubbed bronze
Pendant lighting accessories can add extra glamor. Install a decorative ceiling medallion to give a large inverted chandelier or shaded chandelier a polished look. Consider matching your wall paneling to your new pendant light finish.
4. Types of Pendant lighting
Pendant lights with upward-facing lampshades (uplights) are designed for ambient light, while pendant lamps with downward-facing lampshades (downlights) provide task light. Use uplighting in bathrooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, foyers, hallways, kitchens, living rooms, game rooms, or bars. Downlights are a great choice for a dining room, kitchen, or game room. For more information about home lighting, check out How to Choose the Right Lights.
1) Mini pendant lighting
Mini chandeliers can be used individually or combined for task and accent lighting. Install a mini pendant light above the sink or table, or install rows of mini pendant lights over the breakfast bar or kitchen island. Track lights can also be used with mini pendant lights. Mix mini pendants with track light heads for a mix of task, accent, and ambient lighting.
2) Island pendant lighting
Island chandeliers provide the same task lighting as mini chandeliers, typically with two or three light sources in a single fixture. Use them on the kitchen island, table, bar or pool table in the game room.
3) Chandelier with fabric shade
Pendant lamps with fabric shades add a luxurious look to traditional chandeliers. These lights provide ambient lighting for spaces such as foyers, living rooms, kitchens or bedrooms. Try using it in place of a chandelier over your dining or breakfast table.
4) Multi-light pendant lighting
Multi-light chandeliers provide ambient lighting from three (sometimes as many as 10) light sources from the same fixture. This type of chandelier can also be used as a chandelier replacement.
5) Inverted pendant lighting
Inverted chandeliers cast light upward to provide ambient lighting. An inverted chandelier is similar in style to a semi-flush mount light, but it hangs from a chain rather than being mounted directly to the ceiling. Popular places for inverted chandeliers include dining rooms, foyers, and breakfast nooks.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for step-by-step instructions, safety, warning, and caution information. A qualified electrician should be consulted if in doubt.
This guide summarizes some things to consider when choosing a chandelier, so be sure to read this article. You’ve found the chandelier that’s right for you, so act now.