Commonly asked by many of our customers is the question of whether there is a universal rule in sizing a chandelier over a dining room table. While the answer to this question is no, there are several means that can guide one in avoiding under sizing or over sizing chandelier lighting over an eating area.
As a general observation though it has been my overwhelming experience that most people, in choosing chandeliers for their dining room, generally tend to oversize rather than undersize. I think that in the attempt to make a visually appealing statement with lighting many people do not understand or take into consideration the design limitations of their particular room or furnishings.
Chandelier lighting over dining areas are, as a general rule, hung five feet to five and a half feet off the ground or approximately thirty inches over a table. This rule holds true whether you are considering a traditional chandelier or a contemporary chandelier. However, as with any general rule you will find exceptions. I have been involved in the lighting design of some larger homes with tremendously high ceilings where this rule would not apply. You should also know that if you are considering the installation of a bowl type of chandelier that the proper drop of such a fixture would be more like seven or more feet off the ground. In the case of traditional chandelier in a modest size home however, the five to five and a half feet will almost always apply resulting in an inevitable proportional and direct assessment with the piece as it pertains to the dining room table. What I am in fact saying is that in most cases where a chandelier hangs right over a table proportion is critical. In very large homes where space is abundant, scaling is just as important but the fact remains that one has more “room” to play with.
To achieve this table/light fixture balance, remember to leave at minimum nine inches on the tabletop unobstructed by the chandelier. Realize that if you have a rectangular table eighty-four inches long by forty-eight inches wide that your limitation is with the width of your table and not your length and that based on this rule, the maximum size of your light fixture should be thirty inches wide. In the case of a round table sixty inches wide, the widest chandelier that I would recommend would forty-two inches.
In addition to the above, consider the weight of your furnishings, are they heavy and require a complimentary feel. Do you have additional visual limitation as window or other obstructions, and how does the size of your prospective chandelier play into the overall size of your room and other furnishings.
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