Posts Tagged ‘lighting’

Reader Inquiry: Chandys and Ceiling Height

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

We all know how the perfect chandelier can add just the right finishing touch to a space.   Great light fixtures do more than simply illuminate – they make a design statement too.   Recently a reader asked this question: 

“I was wondering about your fantastic office redo.   Are you ceilings regular height?  8 feet I think is standard.  I would love to hang a chandelier in my office, but am afraid that the ceiling is too low.  Do you have that problem?  Any help would be appreciated!  ~ Emily N.”

right side after

Great question Emily!  When it comes to hanging a light fixture in a main traffic area in a room (and not over a dining table) lighting designers and interior decorators typically follow two rules of thumb. 

1)  Measure the height of the room and allow 2.5 to 3 inches for each foot of height.  According to this formula, if your room has an 8 foot tall ceiling, you would multiply 8 x 2.5 inches and 8 x 3 inches, to arrive at a light fixture that is between 20 to 24 inches in height (but see comments below).

2)  A chandelier also needs to be proportionate to the room size.   Add the width and length of the room together in feet and convert that figure to inches to come up with the correct width of the chandelier.  For example, in my office, the room measures 10 feet by 13 feet.  You add 10 + 13 together to get 23 inches in diameter.   

ballard chandelierIn my office, my ceiling is nine feet high, so according to the formula, my chandelier can drop up to 27 inches.

This Ballard Designs Montserrat chandy measures 23” wide by 26” in height.   You can’t see in this picture, but with the chain, it actually hangs down 28 inches. 

I fudged and went an inch outside the guidelines – but I love the added drama, plus it’s still 6 feet, 8 inches off the floor which is clearance for all the tall people I know and also the height of a standard door frame.     

Taking these rules of thumb into consideration, you also want to consider the path of traffic through a space, and whether tall individuals may bump their head on your fixture.  

white bedroom flickr You can always hang or swag a statement chandelier a bit lower over a bed, desk, table, sitting area, workspace, fireplace, or focal point outside the path of travel.  Take a peek at this bedroom inspiration picture and note how low the chandelier is hanging, far below the height of the door frame. 

Over a bed, where no one will walk, you can get away with dropping a chandelier a little lower like this for added drama. 

(Note: rules are different when it comes to fixtures over bathtubs, so check with your local ordinances.)

When you’re hanging a fixture over a dining table, the rule of thumb is to choose a chandelier with a diameter equal to 1/2 the width of the table, and suspend the chandelier 30 to 34 inches above the tabletop. 

But back to high traffic areas in open living spaces.  Personally, I would not hang a fixture any lower than 6’8” from the from the floor (the same height as a standard door) to prevent taller people from bumping their head.   If I had an eight foot ceiling like yours Emily, and I was hanging a fixture above where people will walk, I would opt for something closer to a flush or semi-flush ceiling fixture, and measuring no more than 16 inches in height.  

However, if you have your heart set on a larger fixture (closer to the 20 to 24 inch rule of thumb), I would swag it over your desk to illuminate your workspace, and to prevent visitors from bumping their head on your fixture.   But you can certainly capture the uber glamorous feel of a drop chandelier with a semi-flush mount fixture with choices like these:

flush chandy 1

flush chandy 2

flush chandy 3

flush chandy 41.  Vintage jewel ceiling light;  2. Lumens flush mount chandelier; 3. Downtown three light semi flush;  4.  Three ceiling light with chocolate shade;  5.  Crystal three light ceiling mount;  6.  Anastasia ceiling mount   7.  Kingston crystal ceiling mount; 8.  Antique white semi flush fixture

Don’t forget, when you have lower ceilings, you can always make a decorative statement with lighting with dramatic sconces on your walls, and with beautiful floor or table lamps. 

I hope this helps you Emily with your design inquiry ! 

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Crystal De-Light

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Y’all know I love the hunt for treasure at the local thrift store. Lucky me, I happened to find two complimentary crystal lamps for my master bedroom at two different thrift stores. Obviously, the reason they had been donated was because of their brass trim. But as you know from last week’s post, brass does not frighten me one bit.

The lamps had to be completely disassembled, including cutting the wires, then painted, and finally reassembled with a “make-a-lamp” kit. Along the way, I picked up some electrical lingo and taught myself how to make a lamp. Here’s how it all went down.

First, take a look at the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ for the lamp for my side of the bed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Girly Chandelier

Monday, February 16th, 2009

So I was in Home Depot buying a floral themed light fixture in “white” for my daughter’s bedroom. This was during the missing year (2006) when my life was a frenzy during our major home remodel. It was a good deal, on sale, for $49. I never inspected the thing, I just bought it from the picture on the box. Big mistake. To my horror, six months later, when I finally opened the box to install it, the chandelier was not white. It was the color of pee. Ewww.

No receipt for return? No problem. In my mind, the instant cure for such a dilemma is spray paint. Any DIYer must know all about the American Accents collection from Rustoleum. Impressive, I must say, for spray paint. I have about a dozen shades taking up real estate in my garage. But I digress.
I had fallen in love with a girly chandelier from Posh Tots years ago, with flowers all over the shades, and I had to have one that looked like it, just at a fraction of the cost. Here are a few photos of their current offerings. Check out these prices (choke).
Armed with a can of spray paint, I got rid of the horrid original color.  I bought four unadorned lampshades for $7 each from Michaels.  With various silk hydrangeas in differing colors, I hot glued the leaves then the petals to the lampshades.  I added four crystals I found for $1 each.  It now looks like a whimsical take on the high end Posh Tots versions.
When my daughter eventually tires of these frills in a few years, I’ll simply replace the shades with something current.

Chandelier $49

Paint $3
Shades $28
Flowers $12
Crystals $4
Total for Girly Chandelier: $96
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