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Chandeliers are a preferred light fixture choice for quite a while. The way how people incorporate them in their homes has changed many times: the process transformed from tiny wooden candleholders to excessive crystal solutions, in order to become the contemporary chandelier lighting that we use nowadays.

As you can see, it is a very long tradition, and there is no reason to abandon it. The main difference, however, is that chandeliers are no longer tools for functional illumination of space, but decorative additions that make space look unique and sophisticated.

That’s exactly why purchasing the right chandelier can be a fussy experience, in particular when you need a great lighting solution for an even greater dining room.

How-To-Choose-A-Chandelier-For-The-Dining-Room1 How To Choose A Chandelier For The Dining RoomImage source: RMI – Rebecca Mitchell Interiors

Being confused as to what type of chandelier you should purchase is perfectly normal, especially because there are lots of stylish and sophisticated ones out there. From a crystal chandelier, a glass bubble chandelier, and even round and rustic ones, you have a wide variety of choices. Almost nobody knows how to choose a chandelier for the dining room without expert advice.

Sometimes, not even experts will know how to guide you, and you can easily end up with an overwhelming solution that doesn’t match any aspect of your home.

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That’s why you should have a clear vision of what you want, and to familiarize with the basic rules that can simplify the choice.

Dining Room Lighting Ideas

The size

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Size is the most important criterion to consider when choosing a chandelier for a dining room. The widest a chandelier should get is one foot less than the table’s width, while its length should be at least four feet away from every wall in the room.

The maximum length is thirty inches from the tabletop, or two feet when observed from the ceiling side. The main idea behind these calculations is to balance space properly, and to choose a piece that won’t cause any blockade or inconvenience to our dining guests.

The style

How-To-Choose-A-Chandelier-For-The-Dining-Room2 How To Choose A Chandelier For The Dining RoomImage source: AM Dolce Vita

An obvious contrast between your home’s style/theme and your chandelier may seem like a refreshing solution, but the excitement of going against the rules will vanish only after a year or two. Unless you’re really willing to replace a chandelier during every redecoration, select a piece that matches the era and architecture of your place.

Every room has an overall design plan, and there is no reason why light fixtures should not stick to the plan. They need to satisfy specific criteria, and to fall within specific parameters (traditional, modern, contemporary, etc).

As strict as this sound, you’re not supposed to blind-follow rules, but to choose the chandelier that will charm you without taking you miles away from the overall theme of your dining room.

Modern dining rooms will benefit from smooth nickel and chrome finishes. You could also use bronze, even if this material is more suitable for transitional fixtures. (Bronze builds a visual bridge between traditional and modern styles, and that’s what makes it a smart choice for every type of dining room).

How-To-Choose-A-Chandelier-For-The-Dining-Room3 How To Choose A Chandelier For The Dining RoomImage source: Michael Abrams Limited

A modern interior will also require clean lines, sharp edges, and the least ornate decorations you could possibly have applied. Finally, don’t make the mistake of applying a chandelier finish that doesn’t match other finishes in the room.

Going to the local light gallery with pictures of your dining room or furniture can narrow the choice down, and help you understand which option is the best for your home’s setting.

You should also consider the flatware, wallpapers, metal elements, or similar light fixtures. From experience, they all have a design hint that can help you make the right decision.

Uniqueness

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Once upon a time, purchasing a unique chandelier could cost the same as furnishing the rest of your house. Chandeliers were luxurious additions, usually made of thousands crystal pieces to expose style, class, and wealth.

Times have changed since, and most of us would not purchase a crystal chandelier even if it came for free. With time, we concluded that price is not attached to a specific material, but to the uniqueness of that model that can differentiate your home from any other home.

Today, we invest in vintage pieces (all the way from shells to glass bottles), our local craftsman’s ideas, or even a personal moment of kit creativity. What we want is a chandelier that can tell a story, and we take its decoration very personally.

Functionality

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We all want our chandeliers to look amazing, and to highlight the beauty of our decoration style. In the case of chandeliers, regrettably, beauty comes only second after functionality.

The primary role of chandeliers is to do lighting, or at least to illuminate the spot-surface beneath them. If they fail to do this, nobody will even notice how beautiful they are.

That’s why you should never sacrifice a lighting fixture functionality for its appearance, but to choose something that will fulfill both your tastes and your needs.

How-To-Choose-A-Chandelier-For-The-Dining-Room6 How To Choose A Chandelier For The Dining RoomImage source: Michael Abrams Limited

A very functional solution to implement are lights with dimming controls, which act as mood-switchers, and are therefore perfect for evening entertaining.

During the days, it would be nice to have a chandelier that can enlighten the entire room. Dimmed light, on the other hand, resembles the peace of candlelight, and is therefore cut for pleasant and more intimate dinners.

If you happen to have your buffet/sideboard in the corner of your room, add few small lamps to throw spotlight on the food.

You can also reinforce light within your china hutch by focusing a couple of recessed lights on the stored things inside.

Accent chandeliers

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The reason why most of us wish to hang large and extravagant chandeliers in our dining rooms is that we expect those to attract attention each time a guest arrives for dinner.

Chandeliers are perfect for the role of focal elements, especially if you choose a model that contrasts the rest of your décor.

It could be an antique fixture in contemporary rooms, or a deep-blue ball in a predominantly white room. Remember: beautiful chandeliers will always inspire admiration, and will remain in the focus of every dinner-time conversation.

Two chandeliers for long tables

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Those of you who have a large dining table should consider two small chandeliers instead of a single large one. The right way to position two chandeliers is to divide the table’s length in three equal parts, and to hang the lights at one third from each table’s end.

Bulbs with light colors

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The traditional, incandescent bulbs had a consistent color, but the ones nowadays come in all colors and shades. You have the modern compact fluorescent lights (CFL), or diodes that emit light in every possible color (LED).

What needs to be considered here is that the color of LEDs can make a radical change in both appearance and mood. Warm yellows or bulbs with soft yellow glow can make a room feel homey and welcoming, which is why they are so commonly chosen.

How-To-Choose-A-Chandelier-For-The-Dining-Room14 How To Choose A Chandelier For The Dining RoomImage source: Elizabeth Gordon

Choosing the right bulb color is not much of an issue after all, because you can always switch to a darker/lighter nuance without replacing the entire chandelier.

In the case of LEDs, however, it would be smart to make a good start, because these bulbs can last up to 20 years, depending on the usage frequency.

Other Things to Consider with Chandeliers

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The number of bulbs you’d need will be determined by the number of arms your chandelier holds. The majority of chandeliers support 40 watts bulbs, which means that the only way to bring more light in the room is to purchase a chandelier with more arms.

The chandelier’s lighting capacity is likely to be reduced if the bulbs are diffused with light shades, instead of being completely transparent.

Bulbs with clear candles disperse light easily, and look much better and authentic than their frosted competitors.

Get inspired

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Before you make a final decision, explore as many options as you can. Inspiration comes from the least expected place, which is why you should pay attention to every magazine, website, or catalogue.

Assuming you’ve found something you like, take a photo of it, and suggest it to the salesperson. Without a ‘touchable idea’, not even the biggest lighting professionals will be able to help you.