How to Choose a Chandelier Size

How to choose the right size chandelier for your space can be a bit overwhelming as there are a lot of factors to consider. Alas, there are some tried and true guidelines that will help narrow down your search. Proportion really is everything when harmonizing beauty with balance, and chandelier size is very relevant when defining the centerpiece of a room. Follow some of the guidelines below to calculate chandelier size that is right for you.

In design, the rule of thirds has helped designers, photographers and artists for over 200 years when spacing items aesthetically along any type of landscape. With lighting and chandeliers there are some ⅓ rule of thumb suggestions that can help with your formula for chandelier size based on your space or furniture measurements. Thus, room shape, size, and height are all ingredients to consider when choosing the right size chandelier. However, there are other elements that contribute to your design, namely style. Traditional styles tend to have larger fixtures to sync with heavier furniture and room architecture, while modern elements lean more minimalistic. It’s always best to follow your dining table characteristics when it comes to size and shape, but if your chandelier is going into a room and not over a table, then listen to the room.

Calculating Chandelier Size for your table

The perfect chandelier can be an incredible focal point for your dining room design, and create the perfect atmosphere for gathering. Dining chandeliers that are too large or not big enough can detract from the overall balance of your design. When trying to find the right size chandelier it’s important to pay attention to the size and shape of your dining table. Start by measuring your table. The rules for round, square, and rectangle tables are the same for length/diameter but with rectangle tables there is a formula also for width.

Ideal chandelier diameter for round or square table is ⅓ to ½ the diameter of your table.

Example: 5’ round/square table with (60”) diameter x .3 = 20” and multiplying by .5 = 30”.

Therefore, chandeliers that are 20” - 30” diameter would be an ideal size for a five foot round or five foot square table.

There are some guidelines for basing chandelier sizes off room size, but the general idea would be if you have a lower ceiling and small room, you might want to consider the lower end of the range, 20” in this example. If your room is larger than a 30” diameter chandelier would be better. If you have a long beautiful rectangular table the length calculation is the same. Chandeliers for rectangular tables are categorized under linear chandeliers. Ideal linear chandelier length is ⅓ minimum to ⅔ maximum the length of your table. Example: 6’ long (72”) x .3 = 24” and multiplying by .66 = 4” Therefore, linear chandeliers that are 24”-48” long would be an ideal size. In terms of the width, this can be a bit tricky. Most linear chandeliers are typically long and thin, so as to not be too heavy a visual element. Ideal width is ¼ to ¾ the width of the table. Example: 86” long x 40” wide table = 26” - 43” long x 10” x 30” wide.

How to determine what size Chandelier for a room

Chandeliers in living rooms, entryways, and bedrooms can add a very enchanting design element to your space and also provide a comfortable layer of light that helps create mood. Understanding how to properly size your chandelier is important as to not overpower the space. The standard formula for chandelier size is to base the diameter of the fixture related to the overall size of the room. This ballpark estimate is a good place to start. Depending on room height and overall feel of a room’s size you can then add or subtract. For example, in a 2 story high room you can go bigger than the formula for diameter but also see the room height equations below. Chandelier width for square rooms is determined by the following formula: Add Room Length + Room Width then convert to inches.

Example: 12’ long room + 16’ wide room = 28” inches

If you are looking for the chandelier size of a living room that is 20’ x 20’ then a 40” wide fixture would be a great balance. If rooms are even larger and more rectangular, then consider using two chandeliers.

Rectangular rooms are quite common but we typically do not follow the room shape for chandeliers. For example, we don’t often see linear chandeliers for rectangular shaped rooms. Chandelier width for rectangular shaped rooms using multiple fixtures is determined by the following formula: Combine room length and room width together, convert to inches, then divide by two.

Example: 40’ long room + 20’ wide room = 60 inches divided by 2 = 30” chandeliers.

Understanding chandelier height is also tricky when trying to feel a large empty space entry way. Following the room shape and size can often yield a taller fixture in spaces like foyers and entryways with staircases. Always measure the clear space to understand how the fixture will balance in the negative space. For example, entryways with staircases should be measured from the edge of the staircase to the opposite wall and also ceiling floor.

Chandelier height is typically 15-20% the overall height of the room. Example: 15’ room height x .20 = 3’ foot high chandelier.

Therefore, this ceiling height would influence a chandelier height to be roughly 15”-20” in fixture height.

Chandelier Size FAQs

How high should I hang my chandelier above my dining table? The American Lighting Association (ALA) recommends hanging the bottom of the fixture no closer than 30” to the top of your table. In practice, if you have a standard 30” high table then a fixture will be hanging at 5’ from the ground and is difficult to see under. We recommend 36” for most applications to be able to see under the fixture and also to give more space for your beautiful flower arrangements in the center of the table. For every foot above 8’ you can add 3” of height to the 30” standard. For example, a 12’ ceiling should have the fixture hang 42” above the table.

Is it ok to hang a chandelier above a bathtub?

The National Electrical Code (NEC Article 410) covers luminaires (lighting) suspended from the ceiling by cords, rods or chains, including chandeliers. It states that there must be at least 8 feet of clearance from the bottom of the light to the top of the tub. A chandelier that is lower than 8 feet must be at least 3 feet away from the tub side.

Can a chandelier be too big?

Yes and no. Chandeliers should not feel overpowering and heavy, they should feel balanced and enhancing. For a table, the chandelier should not intrude on the ability to get up and otherwise be in the way. In rooms, it’s important to pay attention to height as it’s best to go with smaller fixtures in smaller rooms and vice versa.

How low should a chandelier hang in a 2 story room?

A 2 story room is roughly 18’ in total height. If your chandelier is hanging over a table the rule would be to start with 30” over the table at 8’ and add 3” for each additional foot. Therefore, if you start at 60” above a table and add the additional 30” you would be at 90” or 8.5’ above the floor.

How high should I hang my chandelier above my bed?

Chandeliers in bedrooms are the ultimate accessory for creating a luxurious relaxing atmosphere. The mood of a bedroom with a dimly lit chandelier says it is time to unwind. For low ceilings in master bedrooms that are 8’ and lower we highly recommend looking at flush mount ceiling fixtures or low profile ceiling fixtures. 9’ bedroom ceilings can accept a chandelier. If you are not walking directly under the chandelier then you can hang a chandelier 5 ½’ to 6’ above the floor. This way you will not hit your head if you sit up in bed!

How low should a chandelier hang from a 9 foot ceiling?

If we start at our rule of thumb which is 30” above the table on an 8’ ceiling and add 3” for each additional foot, then 33”

How wide should a chandelier be?

Start with the rule of thirds and divide your table by ⅓ to get the smallest size chandelier that would work. If you want to go a bit larger then take ½ the size of your table. For rectangular tables you can go slightly larger for more impact.

What size chandelier should I hang over my nightstands?

Hanging fixtures over nightstands not only clears up the valuable real estate on your nightstand but also creates a dramatic and cozy way to illuminate your bedroom. Typically chandeliers are too large to hang over a nightstand and you might want to look at decorative pendants instead. However, the general rule is the same as most tables, look at chandeliers that are ⅓ to ½ the size of your nightstand diameter. Hanging height for chandeliers or pendants over a nightstand is typically done at 24” above the nightstand.

What size chandeliers should I use when installing two chandeliers over a kitchen island or long table?

Contemporary homes will often install many chandeliers or pendants over a kitchen island and sometimes over a very long dining table. A good place to start is to work with the rule of thirds. However, in this case we want to balance out the fixtures with the negative space. We have developed two formulas for how wide a chandelier should be in this situation. Formula 1: Divide the length by 5 to calculate the three negative space values along with sizes for the chandeliers. For example: A 10’ long kitchen island or dining table divided by 5, gives you equal parts of negative space at 2’ along with 24” wide chandeliers. This is a great rule of thumb to start with. Formula 2: Divide the overall length by 2, and then divide by 2 again. For a 10’ long table you would have 5’ (60”) then divided by 2 again to equal 30” fixtures. The distance between the fixtures should equal the diameter of each piece. Conclusion: Pick fixtures that are either 24” or 30” for a 10’ wide table and make sure to keep 24” or 30” between the chandeliers once installed.


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