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Hanging a Dining Room Chandelier

Posted on May 01, 2010

For a properly impressive dining room, a chandelier hanging over the dining table is called for. This is especially beneficial if you do a lot of entertaining. It’s not only about the sense of drama a chandelier creates in a room, it is also about having a very strong focal point. Choose unique ones and you’ll even end up with a conversation piece as well. Chandeliers, in general, provide solid illumination. It is a powerful light source, but at the same time, its glow adds a cozy and intimate warmth to the room.

You have to take note of the fact though that there is a proper way to install a chandelier in a dining room. An ill-hung chandelier will end up making your dining room looking awkward and eating in it uncomfortable and inconvenient. Instead of impressing, your beautiful chandelier might just turn out to be an almost literal elephant in the room. You should avoid making this mistake at all costs. There is a rule of thumb to follow and it is best that you learn the influencing factors before taking the next step.

In simplified terms, people will usually tell you that the chandelier should hang 30-34 inches above the surface of the dining table when asked about the proper height to install a chandelier. Is it really that simple? Ideally, you would have studied all the pertinent aspects before you went out and chose a chandelier because the factors involved go beyond the dining table, the chandelier and the ceiling although these three occupy the main roles in the matter of the discussed vertical space.

What exactly are the elements that affect the overall look of this chandelier setup?

1. Style of the chandelier. Apparently, the chandelier type matters when it comes to establishing the height of the chandelier over the dining table. Open chandeliers are more common and follow the usual number of recommended inches. Bowl-type chandeliers, on the other hand, hang slightly higher since they are more solid and do not allow diners to see across the table through them. Open chandeliers usually have gaps that make interaction easier. You can practice with substitute pieces such as an open umbrella for a bowl chandelier and cardboard pieces reflecting the width and height of the chandelier for other types. This way, you can see if the bottom of the chandelier is at a comfortable height from the table. Make sure you include decorative danglers when estimating.

2. Height of the table. Most tables are about 30 inches tall. Add another 30 inches for the height of the chandelier and that makes the chandelier about 60 inches above the floor. You can simply adjust to make movement and interaction easier.

3. Height of the ceiling. The general rule of 30-34 inches above the dining table usually applies if you have an 8-foot ceiling. In case your ceiling is higher, add 3 inches for every foot beyond the usual eight feet.

4. Width of the table. Some say that the diameter of the chandelier should be about half of the table’s width while others say 2/3. There are also those who say the chandelier should be two feet narrower than the table. As a rule, it is safer to go larger than smaller. In the event that the chandelier is wider than the table, it should definitely hang higher. The general 60 inches is equivalent to 5 feet. Most people are taller than that and risk hitting their head. Having said that, most decorators consider the dining table and its lighting as one unit. You have to think of the arrangement as pretty permanent. Moving the table means a major change in the lighting fixture as well.

5. Width of the room. This factor doesn’t really affect the height, but we’ll throw it in since it matters in the general picture. For optimum comfort in dining and serving, allow at least 48 inches between the walls and the entire dining area, which includes the chandelier. There are actually websites that allow you to generate a recommendation for the width and length of the table as well as the diameter of the accompanying chandelier based on a mathematical formula involving the width and length of the dining room.

If you’re going for drama, do drama right. Center that chandelier correctly and hang it at the appropriate height.

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