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Eight Practical Tips for Decorating with a Chandelier

Whether it’s a simple four-armed fixture made of brass or wrought iron or a glorious Empire chandelier ablaze with hundreds of crystals and dozens of candles, a chandelier adds a touch of elegance to any room in the house. But there are ways to bring out the best aspects of a chandelier other than simply hanging it. Here are eight practical tips for decorating with a chandelier:

1. Put It Where It’s Not Expected

That dining room crystal chandelier doesn’t have to go directly over the center of the table. Placing it over one end brings a surprising but pleasing asymmetry.

2. Do Lots of Research Before Buying

Lighting a room can be a surprisingly complex undertaking, and finding lighting that is aesthetically pleasing on top of providing the right kind of light makes it even more daunting. Because of this, it’s important to do research before settling on a chandelier. Go online, go to lighting stores, take time to look through interior decorating magazines or a big coffee table book with those luscious photos of the homes of the stars.

Big Box stores are also places to visit for beautiful chandeliers, though looks can be deceiving. Fixtures in lighting stores or big box stores tend to look smaller than they really are. It’s always a good idea to write down the dimensions of the room and take measuring tape.

Yard sales and estate sales are also good places to find that vintage or antique chandelier. Just make sure that the wiring is up to code. If it isn’t, utilize the services of an electrician.

3. Buy a Chandelier That Complements the Decor

Some people may believe that a crystal chandelier goes with just about anything, but sometimes that’s not true. There are rooms where a sparkling Maria Theresa chandelier would just seem crazy, but a contemporary “atomic” chandelier is just the thing.

The color palette of the room should also be taken into account, but so should the materials. Does metal predominate, or wood? Is the color palette neutral, or is it bright and bold? These should influence the type of chandelier that’s bought for the room.

4. You Can Build the Room Around the Chandelier

Of course, the room’s decor can be built around the chandelier. If the frame is made of metal, metal-framed modern chairs might just the thing. If the frame is made out of wood, wood furniture might go well with it. Brass candlesticks or figurines can complement a brass chandelier, etc.

5. Make Sure the Chandelier is the Right Size

A tiny chandelier that hangs from a high ceiling in a cavernous room makes no sense, and a huge multi-armed chandelier that hangs from a low ceiling in a small room is overwhelming. However, figuring out the right size chandelier for a room can be complicated. There are actually online calculators that help a homeowner decide the best size chandelier for the space.

6. Make Sure the Chandelier is the Right Height

The height of the chandelier can change from one room to the other, but experts claim that the most comfortable height for a chandelier over the dining room table is between 30 and 36 inches. Chains help to raise or lower the chandelier accordingly.

7. It Doesn’t Need to be Made of Crystal

Though many people simply adore the diamond-like brilliance of a crystal chandelier, it’s not absolutely necessary to have one. Beside wrought metals, modern chandeliers are made of:

  • Glass
  • Stained Glass
  • Lucite
  • Wood
  • Seashells
  • Beads
  • Washi paper
  • Rope
  • Antlers

8. Don’t Rule Out a Chandelier in Every Room

Whether large or small, a chandelier can be placed in every room as well as the hallways. This includes children’s rooms. Little kids can’t reach a chandelier anyway, so they’re not going to wreck it! Place chandeliers in bathrooms, powder rooms, mudrooms, walk-in closets and walk-in pantries. Put them in the attic, and put them in the basement. Hang one over the washer and dryer in the laundry room. The beauty of it is they don’t have to be one style, but can be bought to complement the decor of the room. The only limit is the homeowner’s imagination.



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