July 12, 2022

How to Choose the Perfect Dining Room Chandelier

Dining room chandeliers add function and beauty to your space. They make your dining table feel inviting and add a touch of your personality to the room. But to find the perfect fixture, you’ll have to do more than just pick out the first thing that catches your eye. It’s important to consider not only the style, but the light output and, most importantly, the size.

In this guide, we’ll cover how to determine the size of a dining room chandelier, how low a chandelier should hang in a dining room and other important questions to help you find the right fixture for your home.

How to Choose a Dining Room Chandelier

When choosing a chandelier, there are several things that you need to consider, from the height to the light output, style and size. 

How High Should a Dining Room Chandelier Be?

three large chandeliers
Black lamps in light bedroom interior. Three modern black lamps hanging.

Before you even start looking at chandeliers, consider what size you’ll need. Some chandeliers are better suited for taller or shorter ceilings.

How low should a dining room chandelier hang?

  • For 8-foot ceilings, the lowest part of the light fixture should hang 30-36" above the dining room table.
  • If you have ceilings taller than 8 feet, the standard rule is to raise the chandelier for each additional foot of height.

These are the standards recommended by the lighting industry, but you may find that you have a different preference. While you generally don’t want to go any lower if you have an 8-foot ceiling, you may find that the standard for taller ceilings doesn’t provide adequate lighting for your table.

Chandeliers are often viewed purely as a design feature, but they do play an important role in the room’s lighting. Keep this in mind when considering the height of your light fixture.

How Many Lumens for a Dining Room Chandelier?

Along with height, you need to consider the light output of the chandelier. The light fixtures in your dining room should be bright enough to see what you’re eating, but not so bright that the food looks washed out.

How many lumens are appropriate for dining room chandeliers? 

  • 470 (40 watts), OR
  • 806 (60 watts)

If possible, choose dimmable lights so that you have more control over the brightness. If the conversation carries on after dinner, you’ll have the option to dim the lights for a more welcoming ambiance. 

How Big Should a Dining Room Chandelier Be?

We’ve already covered the optimal height for a chandelier, but what about width or overall size? How wide should a dining chandelier be? And can a dining room chandelier be too big?

Yes, a chandelier can be too big for a dining room. Generally, the diameter of a dining room chandelier should be:

  • One-half to two-thirds the width of your table

It’s important to make sure that the chandelier isn’t too big or small for the space. If a light fixture is too big, guests may feel uncomfortable sitting at the table. On the other hand, large fixtures in small spaces throw off balance, so it’s important to keep your proportions in check.

Alternatively, a chandelier that’s too narrow or small may not provide adequate lighting for the room. 

What Style is Best?

vintage chandeliers
beautiful retro vintage style luxury interior lighting lamp decor

The chandelier’s style is another vital thing to consider. There are a variety of styles to choose from, so find one that matches the rest of your home’s décor.

  • If you’re going for a modern or contemporary look, chrome or satin nickel finishes work well with clean lines and minimal decoration.
  • Bronze finishes work well in transitional and traditional homes.

Along with finishes, consider the shape of the chandelier. Pendant lighting works well for long, narrow tables or islands used for dining. Round chandeliers work well with any table, especially round tables. You can find other unique shapes as well, but consider whether they will complement your dining table and the overall style of your home.

Some of the most popular styles and shapes include:

  • Shaded: These provide warmer, dimmer lighting. Shades can be turned upward or downward. 
  • Crystal: A traditional style. Crystal chandeliers reflect light to add glamorous and enchanting light to any space.
  • Candle: Formal and elegant, candle-style chandeliers typically feature faux candles and come in a variety of finishes.
  • Sputnik: Quirky and modern, these chandeliers have spindles with light bulbs at the ends. They may come in geometric shapes, or they may be shaped like a sunburst.
  • Box-shaped: Square and rectangular chandeliers come in wood and metal finishes. They’re typically minimalistic and contemporary in style.
  • Lantern: These fixtures feature open cage designs with faux candles at the center. They offer a combination of vintage and modern styles to create a unique look.
  • Empire: With this style, strings of crystals or beads hang down from an upper cone to a lower bowl in a cascading fashion. Like crystal chandeliers, the empire style is elegant and glamorous. 

These are just a few of the many styles of chandeliers out there. Consider your options carefully. If you’re looking for something unique or trendy, make sure that it’s a style you truly love and will be happy to look at in the years to come.

How to Size a Dining Room Chandelier

So far, we’ve covered the appropriate height and diameter for a dining room chandelier, but how do you know the right size for your dining room? Taking measurements will allow you to use the size standards above to find a chandelier that fits well in your space. 

How Do You Measure for a Dining Room Chandelier?

How do you size a dining room chandelier? What’s the best way to take measurements?

Start with your table.

Measure your dining room table’s width, height and length. These measurements will help you determine the ideal diameter of your chandelier.

Measure the room.

How big is your dining room? The size of the space will also determine the width of your chandelier. Here are some general rules for sizing a chandelier based on the size of your dining room.

• Under 90 square feet: Less than 19”

• 90-225 square feet: 20-29"

• 225-400+ square feet: 30”+

Consider your ceiling height.

Don’t forget to keep your ceiling height in mind, as this will affect the chandelier's chain length. For low ceilings, a large chandelier may feel out of place, even if you have a large table. 

When sizing a chandelier, the goal is to make sure that the space feels balanced and comfortable. While the size of your table is essential, you still need to consider the overall size of the room.

Taking measurements is the surefire way to ensure that your chandelier looks great in your space. However, you can also find shopping apps with augmented reality features that allow you to visualize how it will look in your room. Some apps are relatively accurate when it comes to scaling their products, but make sure that you take measurements just to confirm that it will fit in your space.

How to Measure for Two or More Chandeliers

If you want to hang two or more chandeliers over a dining room table, divide the width of the table by the number of chandeliers you want to hang. Use this figure as the diameter for each chandelier.

When placing your light fixtures, the distance between them should be the same width as the chandeliers.

Where To a Hang Dining Room Chandelier

You know what size chandelier will work best for your space, but where should you hang it? Typically, chandeliers are hung at the center of the room, but it all depends on the layout of the room. 

Where to Place a Chandelier in a Dining Room

Ideally, a chandelier should be at least four feet from adjacent walls. However, to create a sense of balance and to make the space more welcoming, consider placing the chandelier at the center of the table. Center placement will ensure there’s adequate lighting when you’re eating and entertaining guests.

What if the Electrical Box Isn’t Centered Over the Dining Room Table?

If you’re installing a chandelier for the first time, you have more control over the placement of the electrical box. But what if you’re updating an existing fixture and the box isn’t in an ideal location?

Depending on what type of ceiling you have, you may be able to hang a swag hook to suspend the cord and move the fixture to the center of the table. Using a swag hook will eliminate the need to move the junction box, which requires an electrician and ceiling renovation work.

Another option is to use a hide-a-cord solution to extend the cord to your desired position. Just as the name suggests, these products conceal cords to eliminate eyesores.

Final Thoughts

Finding the perfect chandelier for your dining room will take some time and effort. However, it’s important to remember that this is an investment in your home. The right fixture will make your space feel inviting and warm, making it more enjoyable to entertain and share family meals. Measure your space and choose a style that will complement the rest of your home.

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An interior design professional with a Master's degree in Architecture and 14 years of practical experience.
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