I’ve been looking for a chandelier to use over our outdoor dining table but so far no luck. I plan to buy one at a garage sale or a thrift shop and paint it to work with the rustic look I’m creating. I know it’s just a matter of time – but so far the ones I’ve found have been too contemporary or not the right size or scale.
Whether your outdoor dining area needs a chandelier,
or your indoor dining area needs a chandelier, I’ve got a few tips to help you make the right choice.
Follow Four Steps
1. Select a style that works. Consider your architecture and your furniture when deciding on a chandelier style. You’re bound to find one that is perfect for the space you are creating. Look how well the one in the photo above works with the arch in the room, the shape of the chairs and the color in the room!
Are your dining chairs ornately carved and upholstered? You might want to consider a crystal or glass chandelier.
Do you eat at a farmhouse table? Scope out chandeliers with a rustic finish.
2. Determine the correct scale. A large dining room will swallow up a small chandelier and an oversize chandelier will make a small room seem tiny. To get the chandelier’s scale right, consider three things: 1. the size of your room; 2. the size of your dining table; and 3. the height of your ceiling.
One easy trick is to measure the width and length of your dining room and add the number of feet together - then select a fixture whose width is the same number but in inches. For example - a 14′ x 20′ room calls for a 34″ wide chandelier. To make sure the chandelier works with your table, choose a fixture that is at least half the table width so the light doesn’t look too small.
If your ceilings are higher than the 8′ standard, first determine the correct width for the light and look for a tall fixture that suitably fills the space presented due to higher than normal ceilings.
3. Lighten up with the correct wattage. As you may know from previous posts, I’m a big fan of dimmers – especially in the dining room. Before you can dim a light, however, you need to have it bright enough to allow you to dim! You need a chandelier with enough wattage to light the dining area fully – and then the dimmer allows you to lower the light for a cozy or romantic meal.
Before buying, check the chandelier for the maximum usable bulb wattage and consider the number of bulbs on the fixture. To determine if it is enough for your room multiply the width and length of the room to determine the square footage. Then multiply the room’s total square footage by 1.5 to determine the total wattage. For example, a 14′ X 16′ foot room needs 224 watts. If you select a chandelier with 3 lights then each needs to be able to hold a 75 watt bulb (total wattage is 224) – just a bit more than needed for your room.
4. Make the height right! When you’re ready to hang the chandelier, make sure it is 3o” to 36″ above the table top. This ensures that you have enough light and yet keeps the view clear across the table, prevents unsightly face shadows, and eliminates banged foreheads.
If you’re “left hanging” and need help selecting a chandelier or other home lighting, remember Terrie and I offer one-on-one consultations. We can help you with a single dilemma or with an entire room! Check out our consultation services and prices by clicking here.