One of the most important details in creating an inviting dining room is the lighting. While candles are the most romantic and flattering light you can use for dining, they don’t necessarily answer all of our lighting needs, especially since the dining table isn’t always used for romantic dinners.
If you have an island that doubles as a dining area, consider having a dimmer installed on the fixture that hangs over it so that when you want some intimate, romantic lighting, you can turn it down and when you want to chop and dice, you have the option of more light.
Now how high to hang the chandelier is a common question. A good formula for determining the correct size light fixture for the dining room is to go with a fixture that has a diameter that is about half the diameter (or width) of the tabletop. If you have the luxury of gorgeous high ceilings and an open-concept room, your fixture can be quite a bit larger.
There are ways to help you visualize the correct height for your chandelier. If you have a bowl-style chandelier, that you can’t see through, try the umbrella trick (if you’re not superstitious). The average bowl chandelier has a diameter of 24 to 36 inches and is similar in size to an open umbrella. The trick: take your umbrella, open it and hold it upside down over the dining table. You want to be able to see your guests across the table and not see the inside of the fixture. Once you find a height you like, measure how high above the table the bottom of the umbrella is and that’s the height the bottom of your chandelier should be. If your fixture has a dangly bit on the bottom, account for that too.
If your fixture has several arms and you can see through it, then you can hang it a little closer to the table – that’s about 28 to 32 inches above the table in a house with 8 foot ceilings. If your ceilings are higher you can add about 2-3 inches per each extra foot of ceiling height.
- It is possible to get compact fluorescents for chandeliers BUT the wattage is very, very low (7 watts) so this only works for mood lighting situations – not task lighting. However, compact fluorescents are not recommended around children because if broken, they emit mercury. Scientists are working on creating LED (mercury-free) bulbs for chandeliers.
- Dimmers don’t just help to create a mood. By dimming the lights you’ll realize about 20 per cent energy savings as well as less frequent bulb purchases and changes because dimmers greatly expand the lifespan of light bulbs.
- Only 10% of the electricity is used for illumination when turning on an incandescent light while the other 90% is wasted as heat.