How to Choose the Right Size for Your Chandelier

Luxury living room and dining room
Spaces Images / Getty Images

A chandelier is a focal point for any room, and especially so for the dining room, so it is important to choose one that is not apply appropriate for your decor, but that is also the right size for the space.

While there are no hard and fast rules, there are a few guidelines that will help you determine the right size for your dining room chandelier:

Tips for Choosing Chandelier Size in Dining Rooms

  • The diameter of a dining room chandelier should be about one-half to two-thirds the width of the table over which it will be hanging. Another version of this rule is that the diameter of the fixture should be about 1 foot less in diameter than the width of the dining room table at its widest point. The logic behind these guidelines is that guests rising from their seats are less likely to bump their heads if the hanging fixture is kept well back from the seating area. If this is not possible, most experts say that it's better to go bigger with the dining room chandelier size rather than smaller. You can always hang the fixture a bit higher so it is well out of the way.
  • If possible, size the chandelier so it is no closer than 48 inches from any wall or other piece of furniture. Although hard to accomplish in smaller spaces, this is a good rule-of-thumb to keep in mind.

Tips for Foyers and Other Space

For foyers, great rooms, and other large spaces, keep in mind that an appropriate chandelier is more than a matter of size. Remember that the fixture style and the visual weight also plays a role. If you are choosing a fixture with a heavy, ornate style, it can be a bit smaller, while a more delicate fixture can afford to be a little wider than the rules indicate.

One standard method for determining the right size for a chandelier is to add the length and width dimensions of the room together, measured in feet. That number, in inches, is a good size for your chandelier. For example, a foyer 12 feet x 12 feet in size calls for a 24-inch-diameter chandelier fixture.

Some designers follow these guidelines, which offer a bit more flexibility:

  • For rooms smaller than 10 feet x 10 feet, choose a chandelier that is 17 to 20 inches wide.
  • For rooms about 12 feet x 12 feet, choose a chandelier that is 22 to 27 inches wide.
  • For rooms around 14 feet x 14 feet in size, choose a chandelier that is 24 to 32 inches wide.

Rooms larger than this rarely require chandeliers more than 32 inches wide, unless their ceilings are quite high. Very large rooms with ceilings 14 feet or higher may tolerate a chandelier as much as 36 inches in diameter.