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Chandeliers: Affordable Elegance

Updated on December 22, 2009

To find the right chandelier to grace your home, begin with a color or a material that is predominant in the decorating scheme. Think about what catches your eye in the room. What item or object is always complimented? Who do you want to say you are? A good general guide is this: traditional home equals a chandelier with more ornamentation and decoration; modern-style home equals a chandelier with less ornamentation and simpler details.

Picking the Right Chandelier

A chandelier should be an accent to your decor. If you choose a too large chandelier, it will overpower the space; too small and it will look out of place, drawing attention in just the wrong way. To make sure your chandelier is the right size for the room, consider the following questions:

What is the form and design of the chandelier? Light, airy fixtures tend to look larger.
How high is your ceiling? Taller ceilings naturally demand larger fixtures.
What is the size and shape of your table? The chandelier should complement, not overpower, anything you plan to suspend it over.
How big is the room you are trying to illuminate? Again, be sure the chandelier is not too big or too small for the room.

A chandelier at the Smithsonian
A chandelier at the Smithsonian

Classic Placement

Lots of people want a chandelier for the entranceway. The right choice will ensure a welcoming atmosphere as well as a beautiful focal point for arriving guests. To determine the proper sized chandelier add the foyer dimensions together: For example if your foyer is 12’ by 16’, add the 12 plus 16 to get 28. The proper size chandelier would then be 28” diameter. This works for any room. Make sure the bottom of the fixture does not hang more than 7’ from the floor. If there is a window above the front door, center the chandelier so it can be seen from outside.

The dining area is the most traditional placement for a chandelier. To buy the right chandelier for a dining table, choose one with a diameter 12" less than width of table. This is the perfect time to really assess your dining room table. Is it the right style and fit for the room? Once that chandelier is in place, it’s there to stay! The chandelier should be hung with the bottom of the fixture 30” above the tabletop for an 8’ ceiling. Go up 3” for each additional foot of ceiling. For ceilings nine feet or higher, consider a two-tier style chandelier to fill the space from the fixture's top to the ceiling.

It's All About Style

Depending on your décor and personal style, there are several main chandelier styles. Crystal, antler, wrought iron, mission and black are among the most popular.

Crystal is by far the most traditional style. The delicate look of the glass drops, the light as it refracts, the sound of the glass as it tinkles…. All of this can add a touch of old world elegance to your dining room. If rugged Western is more your style, the stark beauty of an antler chandelier might be the best choice. Wrought iron can look as imposing or as delicate as you desire.

Many people like the traditional look of colonial chandeliers. Mission chandeliers are certainly distinctive and in some ways, are in a class by themselves. They generally do not feature drops of glass but instead have the expected stained glass so popular in Mission-style furnishings. Finally, if your room can accommodate it, a black chandelier is a thing of beauty. Imposing, strong and elegant, a black chandelier makes a bold statement.

Home Installation

If you are at all handy, it's pretty easy to install a chandelier yourself. If the chandelier is heavy, you may want professional installation, however. No one wants a chandelier crashing to the dining room table.

How To: Install Your Own Chandelier


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    • profile image

      Home lighting 

      7 years ago

      Wow nice work love the chandelier


    • RedElf profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful chandeliers! Some of the modern ones are quite lovely, too. Thanks.

    • Deborah Donados profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Donados 

      8 years ago from Portland

      Lol! Thanks for the nice comment. Yes, more elegance to find and share! I totally fell in love with the Smithsonian chandelier, too.

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I just love chandeliers. These are so beautiful. Looove the one at the Smithsonian. It seems a home is not complete without a chandelier.

      Lovely hub! Hope you share more elegance with us! Thank you!


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