Interior Design

Shopping for a New Chandelier? Here Are 4 Things to Consider

Shopping for a New Chandelier? Here Are 4 Things to Consider



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Maxim Lighting at Bellacor.com

Nothing epitomizes decorative lighting quite like a chandelier. A chandelier is the jewelry of a room, accenting the architecture, furnishings, and decor. With so many fixture choices available and so many possible applications within the home-in dining rooms, dens, and even bedrooms and bathrooms-choosing a chandelier can be overwhelming. But if you adhere to a few design rules and installation tips, you'll be on your way to dressing your room right-and in the best decorative light.

Style
There are chandeliers available to suit any style and decor. Fixtures that have their lights directed up are more traditional; the most formal of these fixtures showcase bare candelabra bulbs. Adding glass or chandelier shades softens that formality, resulting in a slightly more casual attitude. For a more informal feeling, choose a chandelier on which the lights are directed downward. An additional benefit of this more casual design is that your decorative chandelier can also serve as task lighting-aiding cooking or homework duties. In general, metal finishes are more formal than painted ones.

Functionality
If your chandelier is serving a primarily decorative purpose, it can really be the focal point of the room, highlighting the beauty of your furnishings and decor. If, however, you require task lighting, find a fixture that also has a downlight, to illuminate the surface beneath it. For either application, don't miss out on the flexibility that you'll get by installing a dimmer switch. Dialing the lights down can create a warm glow, similar to candlelight-perfect for evening entertaining.

Sea Gull Lighting at Bellacor.com

Size
Choosing the proper size chandelier is important. A fixture that is too large will overwhelm a room, while one that is too small will disappear and lose its impact. Josie Jaspers, of the lighting and home furnishings online retailer Bellacor, advises: “Choose a chandelier that is 6 inches narrower on either side than the smallest width of the table. If your table is 48' x 72', then the recommended width of the fixture is approximately 36 inches (6 + 6 minus 48).”

Installation
Jaspers also has tips for determining the correct hanging height. For a dining room, “the chandelier should hang approximately 30 inches above the tabletop in an 8-foot ceiling. For each additional foot of ceiling height, add one inch. In a 10-foot ceiling, the chandelier should hang approximately 32 inches above the table.” You should keep in mind that in rooms with lower ceilings (less than 9 feet), a chandelier may make the ceiling feel low. If you must hang a chandelier in a room with a low ceiling, be sure to hang it high enough so that it doesn't become a hazard. If possible, mount it over a table to avoid bumped heads and to keep it from impeding foot traffic. If you're putting a chandelier in a bathroom (Sure!-why not?!), the rule of thumb is to keep it 6 feet away from the shower or tub. Moisture is the enemy of electrical wiring, so purchase a model that is rated for “wet” or “shower location” use.

With so many options available, you're bound to find a fixture that suits both your practical needs and decor. With the right fixture, you can just dim the lights and turn up the style-a chandelier brings it all together.

This article is sponsored by Bellacor.com. Its facts and opinions are those of .