In Focus: Chandelier Lighting
The final installment of our series about light fixtures covers the flashy yet beloved chandelier. Parts 1 and 2 covered the atypical use of track lighting and the basics of flush mounted ceiling lights, whereas part 3 discussed the subtle but important difference between pendant fixtures and chandeliers. A chandelier is a multiple light fixture, with lights arranged in several branches or tiers, suspended from the ceiling by a cord, chain or metal rod.
While chandeliers can be simplistic in style, the goal of this fixture is to dominate or elevate a room. Chandeliers are not meant to be wallflowers, they don’t blend in. Instead, the chandelier stands out as the life of the party, glittering and glowing with anywhere from two to hundreds of lights and adding dramatic flair to any décor. A classic chandelier fixture—and its many lights—casts brilliance upwards, providing a large source of ambient light for the room. Due to their size and tendency for the flamboyant, chandeliers are often placed in areas of high traffic and great impact.
Reserve your large chandeliers for grand entryways and foyers or a large formal dining room. Medium-size chandeliers work well in traditional dining rooms and as focal points for bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. If your dining room table is exceedingly long, consider hanging two medium chandeliers instead of a single large one. Likewise, impress yourself and any visitors with a popular trend that involves installing a small one in your walk-in closet. Other fixtures only accent designs, chandeliers take over open space and can establish the tone for your motif. Moreover, there is a certain timeless quality about chandeliers that lends staying power and enduring style, regardless of changing trends.
Styles and Types of Chandeliers
Chandelier fixtures are usually classified by the total number of lights, followed by the style. As I mentioned earlier, chandeliers can become enormous. Hundreds of lights can decorate a fixture in a hotel lobby or opera house. Whether you decide to have three lights or thirty grace your dining room ceiling, the following categories are some general genres of chandelier fixtures.
Shaded. Each light on this type of fixture is equipped with a shade, diffusing and reflecting light downward. Simplistic and homey, shades on chandelier fixtures are often made of glass or fabric.
Tiered. This form can incorporate numerous styles and essentially means the lights are arranged in rows that are stacked on top of one another.
Candelabra. A familiar shape, candelabra refers to the long, narrow stems of the sockets, as well as the torpedo or flame-shaped bulbs with E12 (i.e. candelabra) bases used in this fixture. It’s one of the oldest styles of chandelier in use and this form can be found in outdoor versions as well.
Crystal and Beaded. When you imagine a chandelier, this is what may come to mind. These fixtures tend to be considered the most ornate type; the crystals reflect the light and add glamour to your space. Beaded chandeliers can take on a more whimsical feel. Pearls, colored beads, or even shells generate an elegant or mellow mood, depending on your style. It is important to note that if you decide to install a crystal chandelier you will need to clean the crystals every six to nine months to maintain their shine.
Reversible. Reversible chandeliers allow the fixture to switch between ambient lighting and task lighting. Joints in arms of the chandelier can either point light up or down to suit your needs.
Mini Chandeliers. Also known as chandelettes, these younger siblings are becoming more popular in smaller areas like bathrooms or powder rooms. Their modest size allows mini chandeliers to fit in low-ceiling homes and unconventional places.
As with the pendant fixture, size matters when choosing the right chandelier. Household standard-size chandeliers range from about 17 inches to more than 48 inches in diameter, with as many lights as you want. When hanging one of these lavish fixtures over a table, you will need to measure the diameter or width of the table and subtract 12 inches. The width minus one foot is the maximum chandelier diameter you should consider, without overwhelming your space. Adding a chandelier to your foyer requires a comparative fixture width in inches as the diagonal measurement of the room is in feet.
The accepted height of a chandelier goes back to main ceiling requirements of pendants: headroom. Your chandelier may be sophisticated and decadent but no one will notice because they are too busy banging their heads into the brass or getting caught in the crystals. Most fixtures come with an adjustable rod or chain so you can alter the hanging height as needed. A good rule of thumb is your chandelier should hang no lower than eight feet from the floor. Furthermore, the chandelier should be a centerpiece and not an afterthought. Choose your fixture with care and consider the style of your room, you may love the grandiose crystal from your grandmother but that may not work well with your log cabin theme. Most importantly, there is a chandelier to fit every budget and every style. If a large chandelier is out of reach, consider adding several smaller ones to your space, similar to way you would arrange pendant fixtures.
Please ask any questions about how luxurious, big, and awe-inspiring chandeliers can be when adorning your parlor in the area below. Stories of historic chandeliers and restoration are also welcome. We have covered some of the most decorative and individualized lighting fixtures in this series yet that is not the end of your options. You can find more lighting ideas for your space on our Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. If choosing lighting fixtures makes you feel like swinging from a chandelier rather than just installing one, the refined staff at 1000Bulbs.com invites you to call them before you climb up there.