How Big Should A Dining Room Chandelier Be?

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Have you ever walked into a room and noticed the proportions of the furniture or the artwork on the walls are either too small or too big? It can throw off the whole look of the room. Choosing the appropriate size for a dining room chandelier is a similar dilemma; you want the fixture neither too small to get lost in the room nor too large to overwhelm your space. So what size should a dining room chandelier be to strike that perfect balance of proportion? 

A Chandelier ideal size should be relative to the size of the room. Simply take the length and width measurements of your dining room and add those numbers together. The sum of these two numbers provides you with the suggested diameter in inches for an appropriately-sized chandelier. For example, for a 12′ x 16′ room, the chandelier should be 28″ in diameter (12+16=28).

As for how high to hang your chandelier, the general rule of thumb is that the fixture’s bottom should hang 30-36 inches from the top of the table.

However, having determined the correct size for your chandelier is just one piece of the greater equation. We’ve researched the other substantial factors to consider when selecting and hanging a light fixture and, with the information below, you’re sure to enjoy the perfect balance for your dining room. So be sure to keep reading.

Interior of modern dining room with wooden classic table and yellow chairs against dark green wall, How Big Should A Dining Room Chandelier Be?

How Big A Dining Room Chandelier Should Be

Interior of modern dining room with blue table and chairs against white wall with big window and curtain

The general rule of thumb, as noted above, is to add up your dining room’s square footage measurements. Then, the resulting number becomes the approximate diameter (in inches) for an appropriately-sized chandelier.

For example, if your room measures 12′ x 16′, then your chandelier’s diameter would be 28″ (12+16=28). Of course, this is a flexible number and it’s fine if the chandelier of your dreams is a few inches shy of, or greater than, 28 inches. Also consider the idea of “visual space.” A detailed, ornate chandelier carries more visual weight than a simple, modest pendant and, therefore, err on the side of a smaller diameter for the ornate fixture. Likewise, an understated chandelier can be a bit larger.

The next factor to consider is the size of the table in proportion to the chandelier. Designers recommend that suspended lighting be 12″ narrower than the table, with at least 48″ of space surrounding the table. For the more contemporary linear light fixtures, length takes precedence over width. The suggested length for these chandelier styles is  1/2-3/4 of your elongated table. 

How High To Hang The Chandelier

Experts agree that for an 8-foot ceiling, 30-36 inches from the top of the table is ideal. With ceiling heights greater than 8 feet, add 3 inches per each additional foot.

If these flurry of measurements are confusing, there are several online calculators that can take all these dimensions–your room, table, light fixture–and provide not only the ideal sizes but also a visual illustration of how all these components work together from a wider perspective. This chandelier size calculator is particularly helpful.

How Do You Choose A Dining Room Chandelier?

Now that you’ve determined the right size range for your dining room lighting, take a step back, and revisit how you’d like to feel when you use your dining room. Are you looking for a formal feel and have a separate room just for dining? If so a crystal chandelier will be an ideal choice; its classic elegance suggests tradition and sophistication.

However, many homes today embrace an open-concept living space which means the dining room is likely near the kitchen and living room, too. Here, it’s important to remember all three of these living spaces should have a similar feel and flow, so choosing a significantly different kind of lighting fixture could clash with the very atmosphere you are trying to create.

It’s not just the style of lighting that contributes to the feel of your space, but the fixtures’ materials and finishes can reinforce particular characteristics. Sleek, shiny chrome chandeliers suggest a contemporary or modern trend, whereas the traditional crystals and glass fixtures, reflecting sparkles of light, create a formal setting.

There is no limit to the number of designs and styles available for your dining area: eclectic or contemporary, farmhouse or coastal. Believe it or not, these styles have an almost endless array of options so it’s worth it to think a little creatively!

Types Of Chandeliers

Linear chandeliers are fixtures often found in open-concept living spaces. Several lights are typically arranged on a single rod, a rectangle or oval frame, or sometimes a uniquely sculptured design. They can offer a broad swath of light, which is also helpful in open-concept layouts.

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A globe chandelier’s basic design is an orb singularly suspended from the ceiling. This kind of lighting often utilizes colored light bulbs, allowing for the sphere to glow in various different colors, creating a unique atmosphere.

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A drum chandelier has its structure of lights encased in a large, sometimes fabric-covered, plastic shade that resembles a drum. Because they are often quite large, many designers use 2-3 smaller versions as pendants hanging over a table or large kitchen center island.

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The starburst style (also known as a sputnik chandelier) offers a quirky, retro, example of mid-century modernism. This style of chandelier looks like a sphere made up of multiple different-sized rods with round lightbulbs on each end, almost like a 3-dimensional asterisk with glowing lights. The starburst style often serves as a great conversation starter.

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A lantern chandelier is just that- a single lantern or collection of smaller ones suspended from the ceiling. A versatile style, the lantern chandelier can be finished to fit nearly any decor style.

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A bowl chandelier is a versatile fixture that can be adapted for many different styles, from formal to contemporary. It hangs as if it were a bowl with the light source shining from inside and can be made from glass, ceramic, or acrylic. This option is especially good for diffusing light, casting a cozy glow over those sitting around the table.

Click here to see this chandelier on Amazon.

Does The Shape Of A Table Have To Match The Chandelier’s Shape?

Contemporary dining room with chandelier

As with most home design decisions, there are guidelines but not hard-and-fast rules. Do consider, however, that complementary shapes will be most pleasing to the eye. So if your table is round or square-shaped, a circular chandelier will be ideal.

Rectangular tables benefit most from a linear fixture as the light will shine lengthwise in coordination with the table. Because there are so many lighting options available, you’re likely to find a rectangle-shaped chandelier format, as well. Alternately, suspending 2-3 smaller round light fixtures above a rectangular table creates a similar harmony.

In spite of these guidelines, there are plenty of round chandeliers hanging above rectangular tables and this is fine, too

Does The Chandelier Have To Be Centered Over The Table? 

Whichever shape of chandelier you pick, make sure that it is centered over the table, rather than placed in the center of the room’s ceiling. While you may have a buffet or side table nearby, it will look awkward if the chandelier placement attempts to straddle both the dining table and other furniture in the room.

Do All Light Fixtures Need to Match?

The answer to this question is simple and stress-relieving: no, there’s no need to match all the light fixtures in a home. In fact, doing so could create either a bland feeling or a forced style, neither of which you’d want for your home. The better answer is that light fixtures should be coordinated and complement each other, especially in open-concept homes.

Perhaps use differently shaped light sources but ensure they all share a similar finish. Or use comparable fixtures with each one using varying textures or colors.

In any case, remember that light sources should be spaced no more than 6 feet from each other. This guideline serves functionality–we need light to see!–but also establishes a system of calming ambiance from room to room.

Create Layers Of Light

While it’s perfectly fine to use a chandelier as a grand statement piece, rarely does any room achieve balanced lighting with one fixture. Consider additional light sources for other areas of the room. This includes wall sconces to highlight artwork or a lamp on a console or buffet. Recessed lighting is also a common tool to contribute to the ambiance of a pleasant dining experience. 

And speaking of layering light, keep in mind that high-wattage bulbs can get hot and cast an unflattering shadow across your guests’ faces, so low wattage bulbs are best. Similarly, remember that too much of a downward light beam creates a glare on the tabletop. Windows, too, can affect the ambiance of a room. Be aware of the ways sunlight shines into your room during different times of the day; using these layers of light can significantly add dimension to your dining space.

In Summary

Modern dining room interior with wooden classic table and yellow chairs against dark green wall

Choosing a chandelier for a dining space is a significant decision; it can alter the feel of any room. But the information and tips here can guide you through to your final decision, and you can feel confident about the choices you make. After all, your dining area will be the place friends and family gather to share life’s most delicious and fulfilling moments. 

Looking for a dining room table? Don’t miss Should You Get A Round Or Rectangle Dining Table?

Do your rooms need more light? Check out How Do You Add More Light to a Room?

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