Selecting the right lighting is a favorite part of my job as an interior designer. It’s also one of the most common questions I get: How do I choose the perfect modern chandelier? There are many different styles and places where a chandelier could be hung. It makes sense that all those options could lead to confusion about the best chandelier to incorporate into your space.
Chandeliers are also so beautiful and what design crushes are made of. They can be sparkly and opulent or clean and modern. Really, it depends on your style and the room you’ll hang it in.
Overall, it has to make sense for the space it’s in (more on that throughout the post). A small bowl chandelier that hangs close to the ceiling will look out of place in a 2-story foyer, for example.
Here are my top designer secrets for choosing a modern chandelier and ideas for how to best use them in your rooms. I hope you enjoy these tips!
Chandelier Ideas for Dining Rooms
Chandeliers and dining rooms are a great match. The room needs an intimate feel and lighting is a great way to access that feeling. Because of the special considerations when choosing a dining room chandelier, this is the room where there are the most “rules” in terms of size, type, and how to hang it.
The average dining room chandelier is a four to six light, 26- to 30-inch diameter fixture, though you may have more or less lights if you choose a mid-century modern chandelier.
Your dining room chandelier should be low enough to create a warm atmosphere, but not get in anyone’s way. You’ll also want to make sure you’re measuring things correctly so no one bumps their head; it shouldn’t be wider than your table!
To calculate the exact chandelier diameter or width you’ll need, here are a few simple guidelines:
Round tables: select a chandelier that is one third the width of your table. A 60-inch table would take a 20-inch light fixture above it. You can get away with something slightly larger for oval and rectangle table.
Rectangular tables measure the width of your dining table, divide it by 2, and then add 5 inches, give or take an inch or two. No matter what, hang it with the bottom 30 to 34 inches above the table.
You can also work backwards to find the right table size if you have a chandelier that you love. This post shares more tips on how to hang a chandelier and gives you additional measurement examples.
Hanging Chandeliers in Entryways
For the most part, there are two different entryways: double-high (AKA grand) or an entrance with a normal ceiling height (generally around eight feet tall). Even in a comparatively small space, there are lots of different modern chandelier ideas.
For spaces with very tall ceilings, hang the light eight feet above the floor. Add an additional foot if the room is taller than 12 feet. You can also hang lights in varying lengths to fill the height of the space while also landing low enough to help make the space right at the entrance feel more intimate.
In an entryway with an average ceiling height, keep in mind that a light fixture will have to avoid the door swing. Centering a light in the entry can be beautiful, but you may want to choose a petite pendant or a flush-mount fixture instead of a true chandelier to avoid any collisions.
Generally, remember this ratio:
The height of your chandelier equals 2.5 inches of chandelier height to 1 foot of room height. In that case, a room that’s 8 feet high would like a chandelier that’s about 20 inches tall.
The diameter of your chandelier should be half of the perimeter of the room in inches. So, if your room is 8 feet by 10 feet, you’ll add those together and discover that your chandelier is 18 inches in diameter.
You may also like: Entryway: Tips for a Lasting First Impression
Clients ask me if they can put a chandelier in their bedroom and my answer is a resounding, “Yes, a thousand times, yes!” Hanging a chandelier in a bedroom creates an elegant, inviting feel to the room. It can also add a fun, modern mood to the room depending on the type of fixture you choose.
You have a few options when it comes down to where to hang your chandelier. Either center it in the room or center it over the bed. You can also hang pendant lights where you would place bedside lamps. Or you can add several lighting choices to create different “zones” in the room. For example: adorn one area with pendants that are softly lit for bed and another with a chandelier that has more bulbs and is brighter for dressing.
A few traditional and modern chandelier ideas for a bedroom are: highlight color and texture, mix old and new styles a la grandmillennial decorating, use clusters of small pendants to create one focal point. No matter what you do, make sure you have a few lighting options to create balance in your room.
You may also like: How to Bring Balance to Any Room with Symmetry
Best Chandeliers in Small Rooms
Choosing an engaging sculptural shape is a modern idea for a chandelier in a small space. It can be a great way to add some extra oomph to a fixture without upping the scale. This is good in tighter rooms where a very large fixture would be impractical (such as under a low ceiling or in a tighter powder room).
You may also like: Small Spaces with Big Style: How to Make the Most of Your Studio Apartment
Chandeliers for Big Rooms
Two or three are sometimes better than one! This is especially true if you have a big room. For example, hang a row of pendants over a kitchen island or breakfast counter or use two smaller chandeliers over your table instead of one long one.
For a modern look with your chandelier, one idea is to use it to create a focal point for the room. You can make a small, intimate space in a larger room by hanging a chandelier that is sized appropriately for that area. For example, separate an eat-in kitchen into a cooking area and a dining area by using a chandelier to create a focal point for the dining area inside the larger room.
You may also like: How to Hang a Chandelier