Top 5 Design Questions – Your Lighting Questions Answered
There are several design questions we get asked over and over again, so we thought, hey, let’s compile the answers into a 5-part series and share them. Today we’re sharing the proper size and placement rules to follow for hanging several different types of lighting. Lighting is an important element in any room. It can set a romantic mood or offer a bright, playful vibe. However, the rules of where to hang a light fixture vary by room and can be tricky to master. We break down the size and placement guidelines for pendants, chandeliers, and sconces, taking the guesswork out of how to hang them.
An entryway is a guest’s first impression of your home, and chandeliers often play a huge role. You want to choose a chandelier that reflects your home’s style and is the right size for your space—a small light will look dwarfed, while a chandelier that is too large can overpower a room. Here are two important measurements to take into consideration when choosing the correct chandelier size: height and diameter.
The higher the ceiling, the taller the chandelier. The rule of thumb is to accommodate 2 ½ -3 inches of chandelier height for each foot of ceiling height. A standard 8-foot ceiling requires a chandelier that is 20-24 inches in height.
Once you have the height, it’s time to figure out the diameter. Here’s a trick- add the height and the width of the room together. Treat that sum as inches, and you have the suggested diameter of the chandelier for that space. For example, if the room is 20 by 18 feet, the sum is 38 feet. The approximate diameter of a chandelier in that area is 38 inches.
Chandeliers Over a Dining Room Table
In a dining room, it is key to measure accurately to ensure perfect placement of the right-size light. Chandeliers should be centered over the dining table. The exception to this is if you are placing two smaller chandeliers over the table instead of one.
Size (Height and Diameter)
To avoid bumping heads, a chandelier hung above a table should have a diameter 1 foot narrower than the table’s width.
The light fixture should be hung 30-34 inches above the dining table. This same rule holds true for lighting over kitchen tables. For ceilings higher than 8 feet, add about three inches to the hanging height per foot. So if your ceiling is 10 feet tall, your lighting fixture should be hung 36-40 inches over the table.
Pendants Over an Island
Pendants over an island are a great way to provide task lighting, while serving as visual and design focal points in a room. When we are selecting and hanging pendant lights over an island there are a couple of rules of thumb that we use to make sure the lights are sized, spaced and hung appropriately.
As a general rule of thumb, measure the width of the island and subtract by 12 to determine the maximum width your lighting should be.
You want to space your pendants approximately two feet apart. That means that if you have a smaller island that is in the 4-5 foot range you need two small or two medium pendants. If you have a larger island, you will need three medium or three large pendants. For spacing your pendants over your island you first want to find the center point of the island. For a smaller island that only requires two pendants, you want to find the center point and then space the lights 30-36 inches apart with the widest part of the pendant being 30 inches from the other pendant. If you have a larger island that requires three pendants, you want to hang the first pendant directly over the midline of the island. Once the middle pendant is established, hang the other two at least 30 inches apart.
Living Room Chandeliers
Chandeliers in a hallway or a large room can make an impressive statement as well as provide ambient lighting for the entire room.
Again, a good way to determine the correct size fixture is to add the length and width of the room measured in feet, then convert this number to inches. If your room measures 18′ x 22′, look for a chandelier with a diameter of 40 inches. An important factor to keep in mind is that this rule of thumb assumes that you have a ceiling height proportional to the room’s dimensions. Hanging a large chandelier in a room with 8 foot ceiling will not work.
For optimal lighting, you want to position the chandelier in the center of the living space, generally over the coffee table. Since lots of people will be moving around in this space, hang the chandelier at least 7 feet from the floor to avoid people bumping into it.
Bathroom Vanity Sconces
Good, functional lighting is needed around the bathroom vanity mirror and sink area. Wall sconces are a great source of supplementary light. The primary place to hang wall sconces in the bathroom is on either side of the bathroom vanity mirror.
The size of the sconce really depends on the size of the space. Just make sure they are in proportion with the size of your vanity as well as the mirrors.
The height at which to hang the sconces will depend on the individuals using the bathroom. They should be hung around eye level to fill in the sides of your face with light, approximately 65 to 70 inches from the floor. Vanity lights mounted above mirrors should be mounted approximately 40″ above the counter top to center of fixture in order to allow for a mirror that is 36″ tall.
We hope this post has covered all of your basic lighting questions – Happy lighting!
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