Tips to Use Before Purchasing a Chandelier

While the dining room and foyer are common locations to hang a chandelier, other areas of the home can also be suitable. Consider a bedroom with a high ceiling or any other space where you think a chandelier would complement the decor. With a wide range of styles available, from medieval to post-modern, there is a chandelier to fit any decorating theme.

What is the appropriate size for the chandelier?

The size of a chandelier should be in proportion to the room it’s in. A good rule of thumb is that the chandelier should be about 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table or space it’s hanging over. For example, in a 12×12 ft dining room, an 18-24 inch chandelier would be appropriate. In an entryway with high ceiling and minimal furniture, a larger chandelier, 2-3 ft across, would be suitable. Keep in mind that the height of the chandelier should also increase with the room diameter, depending on the style. Generally, a larger diameter chandelier will hang lower than a smaller diameter one.

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Is additional support required for installation?

Chandeliers tend to be heavier than other light fixtures, especially those with crystals. If the chandelier you choose weighs over 15 pounds, a special electrical box will be required for installation. This is the same type of box used for installing a ceiling fan and is typically rated to hold light fixtures up to 150 pounds.

If your chandelier exceeds this weight, special mounting hardware will be required, which should be provided with the chandelier. In case of an old gas lighting pipe in the ceiling, an ordinary electrical box can be used to enclose the electrical connections and a hickey to support the chandelier, but this method should only be used for chandeliers that weigh less than 150 pounds.

What is the hanging height for the chandelier?

The ideal hanging height for a chandelier is a balance between providing sufficient light and being out of reach. If the chandelier will be placed in a walkway, the bottom should be at least 7 feet above the floor. In a high-ceilinged foyer, it may be hung higher. When hanging over a dining table, a common recommendation is to keep the bottom of the chandelier between 30-36 inches above the table.

What is the significance of crystals on chandeliers?

The use of crystals on chandeliers is a relatively recent development. Clear glass was not invented until the 15th century, and lead crystal glass was not invented until 1675. Even then, the cost of these materials was prohibitive for use on chandeliers. It wasn’t until the 18th century, when glassmakers found ways to produce lead crystal more affordably, that the trend of “crystal chandeliers” became popular.

Once they became more accessible, crystal chandeliers gained popularity for two reasons. One is that the crystals and crystal chandelier itself are visually pleasing. The second, more functional reason is that lead crystal “sparkles” or scatters light. At that time, the light source was primarily candles, and by adding crystals to the chandelier, it became a more efficient light fixture.

It’s worth noting that lead and glass are not particularly lightweight materials. A genuine lead crystal chandelier will be heavier than one without crystals and will require more support than a typical hanging light fixture.

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