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How to Select the Perfect Dining Room Chandelier

By: Kathy McCleary

These seven tips simplify the process of selecting a chandelier for the dining room.

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Photo: Molly Culver Photography. From: Becca Stephens Interiors.

Choosing a Chandelier for Your Dining Room

A chandelier is a great addition to almost any dining room lighting design, adding an eye-catching focal point and softly illuminating the table. But selecting a suitable chandelier for your dining room is key, as a fixture that’s too small, too large or not complementary to your home’s architecture can detract from the overall look of your space. Our tips and tricks will help you find a dining room chandelier that’s the right size, shape and style for your home.

Proper chandelier installation is another important element of a well-designed dining room. For example, 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.

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Photo: Joe Fletcher Photography. From: Feldman Architecture.

Honor Your Home's Architectural Style

"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.

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Photo: Paige Rumore Photography. From: Lori Paranjape.

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.

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Photo: Catherine Truman. From: Kendall Simmons.

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.

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