Wondering about the perfect height to hang a chandelier? This by-the-numbers chandelier decorating guide has all the answers. I’ll teach you how high to hang a chandelier over a dining room table, a bed or nightstands. You’ll learn to calculate how high to hang a chandelier or lighting based on your ceiling height and how to choose the right size chandelier for your space. You’ll get tips on how to choose the right lighting for your foyer. And I’ll also show you choose a fixture or chandelier that provides enough light for your room — so important in spaces like home offices.
This by-the-numbers chandelier decorating guide is designed to answer all your question about choosing lighting for your home. It will demystify the process of calculating chandelier height and size, based on a room’s dimensions. And it will answer common questions like, “How high do you have a chandelier over a dining table” and “What’s the ideal chandelier height for 9 foot ceilings.”
I learned these lessons the hard way, and I’m hoping to save you from a costly mistake, or from banging your head on a chandelier that’s hung too low. Ouch!
As a lifelong blonde, I don’t really believe in “blonde moments.” But if such a thing exists, this definitely qualifies.
A few years ago, as part of my day job in public relations, I helped put together a consumer guide for a lighting company all about how to choose the right chandelier for your space. Since I was redecorating my office at the time, I told the company to keep my paycheck and send me a gorgeous chandelier instead. So they did.
And when it got here, I realized I had made a major decorating mistake! Maybe I should have read what I’d written about how to choose the right size chandelier for a room before ordering mine.
I think you know where this is heading. When choosing lighting, many people make the mistake of buying a fixture that is too small.
Not me. I’d written the guide on it, so I knew to calculate the room’s square footage to make sure my chandelier was big enough. But I must have skipped right over that part about ceiling height because the light I choose was way too tall for the 8-foot ceilings in my office. Talk about a head slap, literally! Thankfully, I’ve found another place in the house (with much taller ceilings, thank you very much!) to hang my “blonde moment” chandelier and DIYed a pretty lighting fixture for my office.
And I’ve whipped up this learn-from-my-mistakes, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, by-the-numbers guide to choosing and hanging chandeliers.
You’ll get answers to these questions:
- What size chandelier should I buy for my room?
- How high should I hang a chandelier in my living room?
- How high should I hang a chandelier in my foyer?
- What size chandelier should I buy for my foyer?
- Can I hang a chandelier above my bathtub?
- What size chandelier should I buy if I have 8 foot ceilings?
- What size chandelier should i buy if I have 9 foot ceilings?
- What size chandelier should i buy if I have 10 foot ceilings?
- What size chandelier should i buy if I have 12 foot ceilings?
- What size chandelier should I buy to hang above my dining room table?
- How high should I hang a chandelier above my dining room table?
- How high should I hang a chandelier above my bed?
- How how should I hang pendant lights or a chandelier above nightstands?
- How do I ensure my chandelier or light fixture will provide enough light in my room?
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How big should my chandelier be?
As I mentioned earlier, I think a lot of people make the mistake of using chandeliers that are too small for their rooms.
If you keep this formula in mind, you’ll never make that mistake.
Length of the Room (in feet) + Width of the Room (in feet) = Diameter of the Chandelier (in inches)
So, if your room is 12 feet by 14 feet, add 12+14=26. Using this calculation, you should choose a chandelier that is at least 26 inches in diameter.
Don’t forget about the ceilings
If you’re planning to hang a chandelier in the middle of a room, and not above a dining table or nightstands in the bedroom, you need to measure how tall your ceilings are.
Choose a chandelier that will hang no lower than 7 feet above the floor to allow for head clearance. Ideally, if your ceiling height can accommodate it, you want to allow 7 feet, 6 inches from the bottom of the chandelier to the floor. This provides ample head clearance.
Source: Ballard Designs
Anything lower is dangerous (head smack!) and it will look out-of-scale, too. (Remember, I sadly know this from experience.)
How high should I hang a chandelier if I have 9 foot ceilings?
Aim for at least 7 feet above the floor and ideally 7 feet, 6 inches above the floor. Keep reading for tips on what size chandelier to choose for a room with 9 foot ceilings.
How high should I hang a chandelier if I have 10 foot ceilings?
If you’re blessed with ceilings that are 10 feet or higher, install a chandelier so it hangs at the sweet spot of 7 feet, 6 inches from the floor. Keep reading for tips on what size chandelier to choose for a room with 10 foot ceilings.
How high should I hang a chandelier if I have 12 foot ceilings?
With taller 12 foot ceilings, you can hang your chandelier a bit higher at 8 feet from the ground, but make sure it is at least 7 feet, 6 inches from the floor.
How high should I hang a chandelier in a foyer or a two-story room?
Rooms with vaulted ceilings, like foyers, call for taller chandeliers with more vertical weight. This is the perfect place to hang a chandelier with two or three tiers of lights. When hanging a chandelier in a two-story foyer or a two-story living room like ours, or in a room with vaulted ceilings, don’t hang the light any lower than the height of the first floor. Put another way, the chandelier shouldn’t hang below the second story.
Another rule of thumb to keep in mind: When hanging a chandelier or pendant light in an open foyer, make sure the bottom hangs at least 6 inches higher than the door.
How tall should a chandelier be when you have high ceilings?
If you don’t have to worry about bumping your head and the 7-foot rule, the designer’s rule of thumb is to allow 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches of chandelier for each foot of ceiling height.
Let’s do the math.
12 foot ceilings?
12 X 2.5= 30
12 X 3 = 36
Choose a chandelier that is 30 inches to 36 inches tall to go with your 12 foot ceilings. Don’t forget to take into account the canopy and chain length when doing these calculations.
10 foot ceilings?
10 X 2.5 = 25
10 X 3 = 30
Choose a chandelier that is 25 inches to 30 inches tall to go with your 10 foot ceilings. Don’t forget to take into account the canopy and chain length when doing these calculations.
9 foot ceilings?
Because of clearance issues, you should chose a chandelier or pendant light that is no more than 24 inches tall.
8 foot ceilings?
Because of clearance issues, a small chandelier, flushmount or semi-flushmount fixture is best for rooms with 8 foot ceilings. The light must hang no lower than 7 feet from the floor, meaning it should only be about 12 inches tall, including chain, pole and canopy.
How do I choose a the right size chandelier for above my dining table?
You can use the room dimensions calculation above, but a better way is to buy a chandelier that is half the width of your table.
Source: Pottery Barn
If you have a 60-inch round table, a chandelier that is 30 inches in diameter should be perfect. For an oblong table that measures 48 inches by 72 inches, go with a chandelier that is 24 inches in diameter.
Can I hang two chandeliers or lights above my dining room table?
Blessed with a large dining room and a long table? Why not hang two chandeliers above it instead of one. When hanging multiple lights above a table, choose fixtures that are a third the width of the table and hang them centered at each end of the table.
How high (or low) should I hang a chandelier above my table?
The bottom of your chandelier should be 30 inches to 36 inches above your tabletop.
Hang the chandelier at the right height, but don’t forget to fill up the vertical space. Use the designer’s rule of thumb of allowing 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches of chandelier height for each foot of ceiling height.
Source: Ballard Designs
If you have 8 foot ceilings, make sure the chandelier above your table is 20 to 24 inches in height. For 10 foot ceilings, buy a chandelier that is 30 to 36 inches tall.
What’s the rule for chandeliers above nightstands?
As you would with a dining table, choose a chandelier with a diameter that is in proportion to your nightstand. A good rule of thumb is to choose chandeliers with a diameter half the width of your nightstands.
Then hang lights 20 to 30 inches above your nightstand. You want the chandelier light at the same height as a bedside table lamp.
What about hanging a chandelier above the bed?
Definitely go for it. It’s such a romantic and luxurious look.
You don’t have to follow the 7 foot clearance rule when hanging a chandelier above a bed. Just make sure you won’t bang your noggin when you sit up in bed.
Some designers recommend kneeling on the bed and making sure the chandelier hangs above your head. You also want to make sure you don’t hang the light so low that it obstructs your view of the television or other sight lines.
What about choosing a chandelier for the foyer?
I say go big or go home, especially if you have tall ceilings.
Calculate the room’s dimensions and use the formulas above to pick the right diameter and height for your entryway light.
You may need a chandelier with multiple tiers of light.
If you have a window in the foyer about the front door, hang your chandelier so it is centered in the window and can be seen from the outside.
In a two-story foyer, remember not to hang the chandelier below the second story. You should also make sure the bottom of the light at least 6 inches higher than the door.
Can I hang a chandelier above a bathtub?
Some electricians may be wary to hang a chandelier above a bathtub for safety reasons. But if you have tall ceilings, like we do in our master bathroom, you can hang a chandelier over the tub. Just make sure there is at least 8 feet of clearance. Some experts recommend allowing 8 feet from the top of the tub to the bottom of the chandelier.
If your bathroom ceilings aren’t high enough to allow for a chandelier over the tub, you can still have one in the room. Just make you hang the chandelier at least 3 feet from the tub. You’ll also need to allow for 7 feet of clearance between the bottom of chandelier and the bathroom floor.
Get the light right
Don’t get left in the dark by choosing a chandelier that doesn’t provide enough light for your room. This is really important in spaces like a home office, where you need ample overhead illumination.
Four light, six light, eight light? Which chandelier do you choose?
Source: Ballard Designs
To figure out out, you’ll need to do some more math!
Calculate the square footage of your room by multiplying the length times the width. Then multiple that number by 1.5 to determine the proper wattage to light the room for general use.
Let’s say your room measures 12 feet by 14 feet.
12 X 14=168 square feet.
168 X 1.5=252 watts.
To ensure the room is properly lit, you’ll need to make sure the wattage output by your chandeliers, sconces, lamps and any other lighting in the room equals at least 252 watts.
Be sure to check the manufacturers’ specifications to find out what types of bulbs the chandelier requires.
I hope this guide for choosing a chandelier saves you lots of headaches — real and financial!
Interested in more decorating tips?