dining room chandelier


Before Katrina I was in New Orleans and happened onto a shop in the French Quarter that had a chandelier for sale that was 6 feet in diameter and 7 feet long. Baccarat Crystal. It had about 300 light sources on it, was from France late 1700’s. Price: $289,000.00. I would have loved to see the room it ended up in.

Every go into a room and see a fixture hanging over the table and wonder why it is hung so high? Or why it looks so small, or so large? Well, there are a few guidelines ( once again, design principles are guidelines, not rules) to help you avoid these oopses.


How to calculate the size

The size of a chandelier hanging over a table is determined by three things: the size of the room, the size of the table under it, and the height of the walls in the room. In a nutshell, if you add the width in feet and length in feet of a room this will tell you the inches of diameter that a chandelier should be.

For example, a 10 foot by 12-foot room will accommodate a 22 inch ( diameter ) chandelier. Now comes the exceptions part: take into consideration the width of the table. Chandeliers are very often 1/2 the width of the table. A 48-inch table is balanced by a 24-inch chandelier. But these 2 guidelines work well together, a 10 x 12 room probably doesn’t have room for a table larger than 48 inches wide.

If you want to install two chandeliers, space them apart as if there are three. One chandelier on each end and the space between is equal to the diameter of the real ones For example, if you would like to hang two chandeliers over a table that is 72 inches long (72 divided by 3), the width of each chandelier would be 24 inches, and they should be hung 24 inches from each end of the table.

For a rectangular chandelier:
Choose a rectangular chandelier for a rectangular table that is in keeping with the proportions of the table. For example, for a table that is 54 inches wide and 72 inches long, the diameter should be 27 inches. Subtract 27 inches from the length of the table for the result of a length of 45 inches. The rectangular chandelier best proportioned to this table would be 27 inches wide and 45 inches long. ( this is from a piece I wrote for SFGate).

dining room chandelier

General rules of thumb

The height of a chandelier is usually calculated as being 2-3 inches for each foot of the wall height. A 10 foot wall, therefore calls for a 20 to 30 inch long chandelier.

The height above the table is generally suggested to be about 30 inches.

So, in the 10 x 12 room with 10 foot ceilings and a table 48 inches wide the chandelier would be 22 to 24 inches in diameter and 20 to 30 inches in length.

If you are hanging a fixture in a hallway, use the wall dimensions to calculate the size of the fixture, and remember that over a stairway the perceived wall height is 2 stories, so the fixture should be longer.

Cleaning a chandelier

Now to cleaning the thing. Get some chandelier spray. You put newspapers on the table and spray the chandelier with the cleaner and the dust drips off. No rinsing, no taking the fixture apart. It works.

My favorite chandelier spray is called Sparkle Plenty. The manufacturer says it is available at Home Hardware but none of the three I checked had stock, or planned to stock it. Their stock number is 4521-663. If you call, they say they will order it though.

SunDial lighting in Vernon carries a spray but they are also out at the moment, waiting for supply. Brilliante is a great product, it is useable as a cleaner for glass surfaces as well and they offer free shipping to Canada ( from California) brilliantecrystalcleaner.com. I’ll keep looking for a shop that actually has one in stock and let you know.

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