Chandeliers run the gamut when it comes to price and style. You can go for quirky and inexpensive, to over-the-top and very pricey. When you begin chandelier shopping, consider where the chandelier will go, the size of your room, your current décor and the feeling you want to deliver.
Location: Is your new chandelier meant to be a showpiece in a hallway, foyer, or over a staircase? Or will it be installed over a dining room or kitchen table, offering more function than decoration? The location of your new chandelier should dictate size, style and lighting capabilities of the new fixture.
Size: Chandeliers are meant to be big showpieces. Get the dimensions of your room and offer the measurements to the salesperson helping you with your purchase. A too-small chandelier will get lost in a large area, while a too-big chandelier can come across as loud and gaudy.
If you are hanging the chandelier over a table, be sure to measure the table as well (including height) and know the height of your ceiling. A chandelier should sit at a height that provides enough light, but isn’t in head-bumping distance.
Style: When you think of a chandelier, you most likely envision an elegant, crystal, decorative piece, but not all chandeliers are so traditional. If your home is modern, skip the crystals and ornate designs, and choose something more sleek and contemporary. Be sure the metal frame of the chandelier matches the other metals (drawer handles, other lighting fixtures) in the room. Also, decide how much light you require from your chandelier; this will help when contemplating shades vs. no shades.
Price: Chandeliers can cost a small fortune, but there are ways to cut back on cost. When it comes to crystal chandeliers, you can opt for glass “crystals” rather than the real thing. Chandeliers made from real, Swarovski or Waterford crystals may not leave you with money to pay your hydro bill. If you really want to save cash, check out garage sales and flea markets for used items—but be sure to test them before you pay and walk away.
Maintenance: Consider the care your chandelier will require down the road. Chandeliers require frequent cleaning, as dust can really build up. Chances are you will need to move furniture or need a ladder to clean the fixture properly. Also think about the light bulbs; if specialty bulbs are required, it can be a pain when it comes to shopping (finding the right bulbs and the extra cost). Some chandeliers use candles, rather than bulbs, which can create beautiful ambience, but the wax must be cleaned out frequently so you don’t end up with wax dripping on your dinner plate.