Bring a sparkle of elegance into your home with a beautiful chandelier

Installing a chandelier in your home is an easy, inexpensive way to bring a feeling of elegance and sophistication into your dining room, foyer, or even master bedroom or bathroom. This guide will teach you the basic types of chandeliers and walk you through a few tips on installation.

Types of Chandeliers

Choose from cage, candle, crystal, globe chandeliers and to pick the best chandelier for your home.

Cage chandeliers

  • Feature a light source surrounded by a metal, wire or wood cage

Candle chandeliers

  • Designed to resemble candles and may include fabric shades to cover the bulbs

Center bowl chandeliers

  • Feature a large bowl suspended in the center of the light fixture

Island chandeliers

  • Feature a modern open design
  • Often three or more lights hanging in a straight row

Crystal chandeliers

  • Have numerous tiny glass or crystal spheres that bounce light around the room

Drum chandeliers

  • Have a center shade that resembles a drum, with a fabric cover that dims the light like a lamp shade

Installation Tips

When you’re installing chandeliers, you must make very precise measurements of the area of installation to ensure that you hang the lights at a comfortable and safe height.

When hanging a chandelier over a dining room table, the typical rule of thumb is to hang a chandelier with a width equal to one-half the length of the table. Modern design trends now make it acceptable to hang a larger chandelier over a table. Should you choose this option, the length of the table should be 1 foot longer than the chandelier on each side for a properly spaced look.

  • In a hallway or foyer, the bottom of the chandelier should be spaced no lower than 7 feet from floor to allow enough head room for family members and guests to walk underneath.
  • If you are placing the chandelier above a dining table in room with an 8-foot ceiling, the bottom should set no lower than 30 inches from the tabletop. For higher ceilings, add 3 inches of additional space per each foot of ceiling. For example, with a 9-foot ceiling, hang the chandelier so the bottom is 33 inches from the tabletop.
  • If you are hanging a chandelier in a two-story foyer with a window, hang it so the chandelier is centered in the window when looking in from the outside.

Based upon the amount of available space, chandeliers are designed to float in a room, not dominate or get lost in it. You don’t want to place a large chandelier in a small room as it will overpower the space. Similarly, you don’t want to place a small chandelier in a large room as it will look out of place.

  • To make sure your chandelier is the right size, determine the height of the ceiling. The greater the ceiling height, the larger fixture you’ll need.
  • Consider the square footage of the room. Be sure to select the appropriate size chandelier to match the size of the room.
  • A good rule of thumb is to add the room's length and width, then convert that number to inches. For example, if your room is 10 feet by 12 feet, the total is 22 feet. Convert that number to inches, and hang a chandelier that is 22 inches in diameter.
  • Consider the design and shape of the chandelier. Light and airy fixtures work well with smaller rooms, while grand or heavy fixtures work better in larger rooms.

Directional Lighting

There are three main types of chandeliers, classified by the direction in which they cast light: upward, downward and ambient.

  • Upward chandeliers cast light from the base of the chandelier up to the ceiling. This light direction creates softer lighting that is great for decorative purposes.
  • Downward chandeliers cast light from the base of the chandelier down to the floor, table or onto other pieces of furniture or household items. This light direction creates more direct light that is great for task lighting.
  • Ambient chandeliers cast light in all directions. This light direction creates a glowing effect for full illumination.
  • Some chandeliers are hybrids that cast light in more than one direction. For example, multi-select chandeliers cast light upward and downward.
  • Dimmers work very well with chandeliers to control the amount of lighting you want to control the ambience in the room.