Is Bigger Better-When It Comes to Light Fixtures?

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is what size chandelier is correct for a given space. It is a very important question and I understand all of the confusion because, even though there are guidelines and formulas for selecting the right size, trends also play a role.  You have heard the expression that rules are made to be broken, haven't you?  Interior Design is an art form and therefore breaking the rules once in awhile is necessary in order to create something that feels new, fresh and interesting. That said, before you can decide when you want to break a rule, you have to first know what the rules are!

The rule of thumb for sizing a chandelier is this: add the room's length and width then convert to inches.  For example, if your room is 11 feet by 12 feet, you will want to look for a chandelier that is 23 inches in diameter. This is a general rule of thumb but dimensions can vary with the type of light fixture you are using. Of course, the ceiling height has to also be considered so you aren't hitting your head on a chandelier if there isn't any furniture beneath it.  Speaking of tables, generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that the diameter of a chandelier over a table should be between 1/2-2/3 the width of the table.  For a great easy chandelier calculator, go to where you can plug in your dimensions and the calculator will do the math for you.

Now that you know the rules, when would you want to break them?  If your table has to be small because of a quirky floor plan but the overall room is large or the ceilings are very high (as in many of today's multi functional great rooms), you don't want to stick with the above rule, lest you wind up with a tiny thing floating lost in space.  Look at the space between the ceiling and the table.  If it is huge, go with a larger light fixture and install it slightly higher.

Another time to break the size rule is just because you want to make a statement. Think statement necklace!


Sometimes the dimensions of the table will steer your lighting choices. If you have a very long,  narrow table, installing a pair of light fixtures often works well.

If you can't decide between sizes, go for  the larger one. 9 times out of 10 you won't be sorry for going bigger because bigger is usually better when it comes to lighting!