Be sure that the chandelier is centered over the table and not in the middle of the room. If you have a hutch or sideboard against one wall, as most people do, your table will likely be placed slightly off center in the room, and everything will look off-kilter if the chandelier hangs exactly dead center.
"If you have a beautiful old Georgian-style home and throw a modern chandelier in there, it will feel fresh and exciting," says Toronto-based designer Karl Lohnes, "but in five years you might want to change it." Unless you're open to replacing your chandelier every time you redecorate, select one that matches your home's era and architecture. Design by Troy Beasley.
Consider How Much Light You Need
The chandelier is only one part of the lighting plan. Recessed lights can add extra wattage if you use the space for projects and homework as well as candlelit dinners. Perimeter lighting, such as sconces or buffet lamps, can add even more illumination. In most cases, it's best to put chandeliers on a dimmer switch, so the intensity of the lighting is controllable. Design by Troy Beasley.
Be a Trend Watcher
"Crystal chandeliers used in modern settings look great," says designer Cheryl Katz. "So do rustic, slightly decrepit chandeliers. If anything, I notice that people are more interested now in unexpected mixes than in a particular style." Karl Lohnes says that very ornate French-style chandeliers in dark gold or bronze finishes strung with crystals or jewels are trendy now, as are fancy all-glass chandeliers. Design by Dave Stimmel.
The chandelier should be approximately one-third the width of the table, says Lohnes. So a 5-foot round dining table (60 inches) needs a chandelier with a diameter of 20 inches. Oval or rectangular tables can take a slightly wider chandelier.
"If a chandelier is extremely ornate, even if it's smaller than what you might imagine, it can work in a large room," says Cheryl Katz, co-owner of Boston-based design company C&J Katz Studio. The ornate features give it a different kind of weight.
Leave Roughly 30 Inches Between Table and Bottom of Fixture
"That ensures that the chandelier doesn't encroach on your view of dining companions and leaves space to fit a vase of flowers or another tall centerpiece," designer Karl Lohnes says. "Most people hang chandeliers way too high."