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Shopping for chandeliers can be quite an experience, what with such an immense variety of options available by so many different manufacturers. However, when selecting a chandelier for your space, there are many points to consider. Not only is the look and style of the chandelier important to the overall feel of the space, but the dimensions, hanging position, and maintenance as well. But when you find just the right fixture for your space, it can transform that room dramatically.

Determining your category of style is often the first good step to finding your ideal chandelier. The design of the fixture can be broken down into three basic divisions; traditional, transitional, and modern.

Traditional: If you tend to lean more towards this side of the spectrum, manufacturers like Savoy House, Schonbek, and Minka Metropolitan will definitely cater to your taste. Often heavily ornamented and finished in bronze, wrought iron, rich golds, or possibly brass are seen within the realm of the traditional light fixture. Dripping swags of crystals and decorative silk shades will add a great touch of refinement and formality to many traditional fixtures as well.

Modern: If the specifications above are the exact opposite of what you’re looking for, then modern is the path to take, with brands such as PLC Lighting, George Kovacs, and ET2 who are notorious for their clean and contemporary lighting designs. Bursts of color with contrasts of stark black and white, paired with sleek finishes like chrome, brushed nickel, and polished steel are commonly seen within modern design. In recent years, designers have broadened the sphere of modern style by incorporating, oddly enough, some more classic and traditional elements into their fixtures; we’re seeing more modern pieces with crystal, linens, and lines reminiscent of past 20th Century styles.

Transitional: If an eclectic style is more to your taste, then transitional should suit you perfectly. Within the scope of transitional style, you will find something from every design era and movement, oftentimes with combinations of a couple of them. Finish has no boundaries with traditional design either, showcasing everything from the sleekest of silvers to the most resonant bronzes. Manufacturers such as Murray Feiss, Currey & Co., and Robert Abbey exhibit these qualities expertly.

Depending on what application you have for your light fixture, there are a couple general rules-of-thumb for how it should be hung. For example:

Foyer: When choosing a light for your foyer, it’s important to consider the width and height of the room. If your foyer is 1 story with an average height ceiling, then something light a flush mount or semi-flush would be more practical. If the ceiling is 10’ or above, 2 story, or vaulted, then a chandelier is the perfect opportunity to add extra interest to the space. As far as height is concerned, you can choose the maximum size that the space allots as long as the very bottom of the fixture hangs no lower than 7’ above the floor. Be sure to consider the amount of chain that needs to be used and factor that into the total height. As for the width of the fixture, it is best to use this formula: add the dimensions of the room together (ex: 10’ + 12’) and the total should equal the width of what the fixture is in inches (ex: 22”). Going a couple inches larger will not be noticeable, but if the chandelier is too small for the space, it becomes dwarfed by the room around it. If there are larger windows within the foyer, your chandelier will make even more of a statement if it‘s placed so it can be seen through the window from the street.

Dining Room: The same basic equation of adding the room widths and converting the total to inches can be applied to a dining room space to get an adequately sized chandelier as well. Another standard designers like to use is to make the width of the chandelier no smaller than 50% of the table. Height-wise, the bottom of the chandelier is most commonly hung roughly 30” from the tabletop to the underside of the fixture. If the ceiling is higher, you may want to go up a couple inches above the tabletop standard, a 6” extension generally being the most. An alternative to raising the fixture is just to opt for a taller chandelier, or one with multiple tiers; these will both take up empty space within the room.

The same general rules apply to just about any room in the home. As long as the underside of the fixture hangs no lower than 7’, is appropriately dimensioned for the space, and does not impede with any activities going on in that space, then you should have a fixture that fits just right.

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