5 Expert Tips To Choose A Chandelier

Choosing a chandelier goes beyond adding a lighting element to your room: from the simplest to the most ornate designs, it can help you emphasize the sleek, majestic or nostalgic look of your décor!

Given its importance and the central role that it'll immediately seize in your room, you should spend some time understanding exactly what type of chandelier you need and what would work well with the rest of your furniture and décor style.

If you follow our 5 handy tips, there will be no risk of disappointment!

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1. How Big Should a Chandelier Be?

Truth be told, this depends on your preference and the size of the room, but, if you're striving for a balanced look, there's a trick that we can share with you!

  • You must measure the length and width of your room (in feet), sum them together, and change the result into inches: that's the best size for the diameter of your new chandelier;

  • If the chandelier will be centered on your seating area rather than the entire room, use the dimensions of that space instead;

  • If it will be hanging above a table, look for a diameter that's around 12" smaller than the width of the table;

  • Don't forget that your chandelier is a statement piece: if you're torn between two models in slightly different sizes, it's always better to go for a slightly larger option than a tiny one.

As for its length:

  • Leave around 7 feet off the floor;

  • If it's hanging above a dining room table, allow at least 30 inches between the two;

  • In small rooms and, especially, entryways and foyers, check that the swing of the door doesn't get in the way of your new chandelier.

2. How Many Lights Should a Chandelier Have?

When it comes to the number of lights, chandeliers are tricky: a model with more branches and light bulbs won't automatically be brighter!

  • The number of lights on your chandelier is mainly a statement and a conscious decorative choice: what matters the most in terms of brightness is its overall wattage;

  • As a starting point, multiply your room's square footage by 1.5 to calculate the right wattage for that space;

  • However, do keep in mind that, unlike more functional overhead lights, decorative chandeliers are usually intended to be complemented by other sources of lighting, such as table lamps and wall lights.

Wooden 4-Light Unique Rectangle Chandelier
4-Light Lantern Square Chandelier in Wood
10-Light Unique Modern Linear Chandelier
15-Light Contemporary Chandelier in Silver
5-Light Lantern Drum Chandelier
8-Light Candle Style Empire Chandelier

3. What Are the Different Types of Chandeliers When It Comes to Shape?

Chandeliers are available in lots of different designs, but choosing a particular shape will immediately allow you to narrow down your choice:

  • Whether they have candles or electric bulbs at the end of each arm, traditional chandeliers are better suited to add a stylish and dramatic touch to old-style and fancy décors;

  • Wagon wheel models can add a rustic element to wider rooms;

  • Tiered and empire chandeliers are perfect for the classiest and most elegant rooms;

  • There are now lots of unique shapes that follow interesting geometric patterns, too: they're usually a better choice for more modern settings.

Metal and Wood Wagon Wheel Chandelier
Metal Industrial Wagon Wheel Chandelier
Candle Style Classic Chandelier
Candle Style Traditional Chandelier in Crystal
Large Crystal Statement Empire Chandelier
Wood and Metal Empire Chandelier

4. What Is the Right Finish for My Chandelier?

  • Black finishes are the most versatile, as they can complement most color palettes and décor styles;

  • Gold, silver and chrome models are a bold statement that can look majestic in elegant rooms, but could easily look out of place in more rustic or humble décors;

  • A white finish can help your chandelier's structure stand out if it's mounted on a ceiling of a different, darker color;

  • Bronze options are perfect to mix tradition and a touch of modernity;

  • Nickel and brass finishes are ideal for the most modern rooms and for chandeliers in unique designs that emphasize the arms and shapes of their structures.

Bronze Candle Style Empire Chandelier
Black Wooden Lantern Rectangle Chandelier
Dark Gold Light Candle Style Chandelier with Crystal Accents
Gold 4 - Light Globe Accent Chandelier
White Candle Style Traditional Chandelier
Industrial Nickel Sputnik Chandelier

5. What Is the Right Style of Chandelier for My Décor?

Given its size and accent function, a chandelier can make or break the style of your room! You should identify its palette and the décor style that you're trying to keep consistent before choosing a chandelier that could otherwise end up looking like an unfortunate mismatch:

  • For a modern feel, experiment with creative geometric shapes and sleek lines; black, nickel and brass finishes work very well with this style;

  • For a traditional and cozy atmosphere, stick to the most classic chandeliers with different arms or a wagon wheel shape, consider adding wooden elements, and look for drum-shaped fabric chandeliers for your bedroom;

  • Sputnik designs (with multiple straight arms surrounding the chandelier's core) are one of the most recognizable signature elements of mid-Century modern décors, especially when they feature bronze or black finishes;

  • If you're a fan of the aesthetically-pleasing rawness of industrial décors, you can either look for very thin metal structures (such as bare wagon wheel models) or designs that highlight the exposed lightbulbs rather than the structure itself; you could combine metal and wooden elements, or choose brass and copper finishes;

  • Traditional chandeliers with harmonious arms and a discolored white finish will immediately convey a shabby chic look;

  • To recreate the majestic feel of French country styles, consider actual candles or candle-shaped bulbs and look for the most decorated and harmonious armed designs;

  • Rather than compromising on the number of lights for your minimalist room, avoid a cluttered look by choosing very thin, bare structures; add white, wooden, brass or copper elements for some Scandinavian vibes;

  • If you're after a bohemian room, you're freer to experiment with eclectic textures and patterns, such as wicker designs or colorful teardrop models.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.