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Thursday, March 4, 2010


Chandeliers are without doubt, the most dainty, elegant and beautiful among lighting fixtures. The right chandelier can add dimension and transform a room. Chandeliers most definitely add elegance to a space and can be eye-catching, even when they are not lit. 

CHANDELIER DEFINITION:  Chandelier is a branched, multi-arm, decorative, often ornate light fixture that holds a number of bulbs and is suspended from a ceiling. The word chandelier is from the old French meaning “candle holder”.   Obviously a lot has changed since then. While the basic form has stayed the same, the advent of electricity has allowed for more creativity in both design and placement. 

Chandeliers are available in a wide variety of styles, from simple, modern Chandeliers to more ornate, traditional Chandeliers.  Today’s Chandeliers have moved beyond the functional need of providing illumination and have become a beautiful focal point during the day as well as at night.

Chandeliers were generally used in Dining rooms and in the Foyer but with the new variety of sizes and styles available, Chandeliers and mini Chandeliers (Chandelettes) are showing up all over the house. These days you can find Chandeliers in all kinds of places like over your vanity or over the desk, in the breakfast nook, as a bed side light, etc. Of course, today’s large rooms are often highlighted with a beautiful Chandelier.

  • General illumination: Chandeliers are a great source of 'general illumination'. With the use of a dimmer switch, you can create the mood and atmosphere you want, whether it be a gentle cascade of light over a romantic dinner party or a bright light on a lively family dinner. In fact, many Chandeliers are also designed with a down light, so they also work as 'task lighting' for activities such as doing homework or paying bills at the table.
  • Wattage: When choosing a Chandelier, make sure that the Chandelier has enough wattage to light up the room adequately. For this, multiply the length of the room by the width of the room.  Then, multiply that number by 1.5.  The answer you get is the amount of wattage you need to light the room properly for general illumination. For  example:  In a room, 12 ft. x 16 ft., multiply 12 x 16 = 192.  Then multiply 192 x 1.5 = 288 watts.  This means an 8-light chandelier using 40-watt bulbs will give 320 watts, which is more than the light needed.
  • If you’re not comfortable with the amount of light given by a Chandelier, you can add sconces, portable lamps or recessed lights on the walls to add more light to the room.
SELECTING THE RIGHT CHANDELIER FOR THE FOYER: Placing a Chandelier in a Lobby or Foyer is an excellent way of demarking the interior of the house from the exterior.
  • Style: Chandeliers hung in the Foyer/Lobby can be broad and longer than ones used in Dining rooms.
  • Size: To find the right size of the Chandelier for a Foyer, add together the length and width of the Foyer in feet. The sum you get is the diameter in inches, that you will need for the Foyer Chandelier. For example:  Consider a Foyer 12 feet by 6 feet.  Added together this equals 18 feet.  Therefore, the Foyer Chandelier’s diameter should be approximately 18” in width. If the Foyer is extra large, you can include wall sconces in the Foyer. Install them against the wall approximately 5 ft.  from the floor, 6 – 8 ft. apart.
  • Height: The height of the Foyer Chandelier depends on the height of your foyer ceiling.  Always keep in mind that the bottom of the Chandelier should be at least 7 ft. from the floor.  That may mean you need a flushmount (mounts directly against the ceiling), a semi-flush (also known as close-to-ceiling fixture, which hangs a few inches below the ceiling) or, if you have a tall ceiling, a 2-tier or 3-tier Chandelier. If there is a window above the front doors, center the Chandelier so it can be seen from outside.

SELECTING THE RIGHT CHANDELIER FOR THE DINING ROOM: A Chandelier being hung in the Dining room must be placed above the middle of the dining table and the room.
  • Size: As in the Foyer, the dimensions of the  Dining room dictate the diameter of the Chandelier.  If that doesn’t appear to fit because of the size of your dining table, then select a Chandelier with a diameter equal to ½ the table width or for ease, buy a Chandelier that is about a foot smaller than the width of your dining table.
  • Height: The bottom of the chandelier should be no lower than 30 inches above the tabletop to prevent heads from bumping and for good illumination. Light from the Chandelier bulbs that are just above a person can be hot and uncomfortable. So do not use bulbs with high wattage, as they will cause excessive heat.
  • Dimmers: Although dimmers can be used in every room, they are an absolute must in a Dining room which is used for various activities.  So, if you want an intimate dinner party, then dim the lights, but when the children are at the table doing their homework, bring up the wattage! 

SELECTING THE RIGHT CHANDELIER FOR OTHER ROOMS: When choosing a Chandelier for rooms, numbers play an important role. Use the numbers given here to help you decide what size Chandelier is right for your room.
  • If the room is smaller than 10' by 10', a 17" to 20" diameter Chandelier would be the right size.
  • If the room is about 12' x 12', a 26" or 27" Chandelier would look right.
  • If the room is about 14' x 14', choose a 24" to 36" Chandelier.
  • Total wattage of all bulbs should be 200 watts to 400 watts to provide sufficient light.

Read about other LIGHTING TYPES such as:

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