Each week Mansion Global tackles an interior design topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to choose—and hang—your chandeliers.
The glimmering lights, the romantic glow, the drama—a chandelier is one of the most glamorous elements you could have in your home.
“Chandeliers always capture the eye,” said Yanic Simard, Houzz contributor and founder/principal designer at Toronto Interior Design Group.
“A chandelier balances the scale and proportion of a room and instantly creates that wow factor,” said Ruby Ramirez, principal at ANTROBUS + RAMIREZ in Miami. “The luminescence and transparency of the glass juxtaposed against the overall massing of the chandelier is a magical combination.”
Selecting the right light for the right space, however, takes some know-how. Here, essential advice from design pros for a room that’s lit in every sense of the word.
Make a thoughtful choice
“Chandeliers are best suited for voluminous areas and rooms meant for congregating and those that can be seen from a distance, such as a porch or a more formal space like a dining room or living room.
"Look for one with a three-dimensional volume created in a sculptural and functional design that can be seen from all sides and from below. The fixture can be dramatic and large, and designed to be the center of the space.
"The best way to select the style is by looking for drama and artistic intent. You want to generate a ‘wow’ effect and leave an impression. But really, there are no rules. You might hang a traditional crystal chandelier in a more modern space, or a more modern chandelier in a traditional space.”
— Kobi Karp, founder and principal Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design in Miami
Kobi Karp Interior Design & Architecture
Size & scale matter
“Chandeliers make a great addition to any room, as long as the scale is right. They are wonderful in foyers, living rooms, dining rooms, en-suites, and even walk-in closets.
"Determine if you want your chandelier to steal the show or add another layer to a beautifully designed space. Ask yourself, do you want it to blend in or stand out?
"There’s a no-fail equation for the size to choose. Take the width of the room (in feet) + the length of the room (in feet) = diameter/width of chandelier (in inches). So, for example, if your room is 14-feet long by 10-feet wide, a 24-inch-diameter chandelier would look proportionate.
"To choose the vertical dimensions of the chandelier, the classic rule is to take the room height (in feet) and multiply it by 2.5 or 3 to get a good range (in inches) for the vertical proportions of the light. So if your room has an eight-foot ceiling, this would mean your chandelier should be roughly 20 to 24 inches top to bottom.
"There are many elements to choosing a specific chandelier style: structural appeal, shape, texture, color, overall aesthetic, material, light source.
— Yanic Simard, Houzz contributor and founder/ principal designer Toronto Interior Design Group.
Photography by Carolyn Reyes © 2016 Houzz
All about effect
"A well-proportioned chandelier can open up a room tremendously through the play of light and shadow that lift the eye toward the ceiling. I always make sure that every ceiling fixture is dimmable to create varying atmosphere from task lighting to a softer evening glow.
"Always consider proportion, line and scale. It’s essential to measure the ‘drop’ between the bottom of the chandelier and the floor or table.
"When thinking about size, remember to consider the diameter over a surface or the room size. If the chandelier is round, I suggest that the diameter be approximately half the width of the table. If rectangular and over an oval or rectangular table, I prefer that the fixture cover approximately two-thirds of the surface. When specifying a chandelier or hanging a fixture in a room without furniture below, the drop is calculated according to ceiling height. Minimum clearance should be at least seven feet above a person’s head. And nothing looks worse than an under-scaled or over-scaled chandelier.
"My advice is to look for a fixture with an open eye—some of the most successful rooms I’ve designed have a mix of lighting styles and materials. And always keep in mind that with lighting, you’re in control of creating the room’s atmosphere.”
— Eric Cohler of Eric Cohler Design in New York
Eric Cohler Design
Placement is key
“Chandeliers are ideal for rooms that have tall ceilings or spaces that need a little extra punch, like a grand staircase, for example. Staircases are perfect for a cascading chandelier element, as both the staircase and the chandelier play off one another to create a sense of drama. Entryways are also great for hanging chandeliers since they help set the first impression of what’s to come.
"When hanging a fixture, there are different rules for different applications. Generally, chandeliers hover between 42-to-48 inches above a dining table. In an entry foyer, they are usually suspended between 10-to-11 feet off the floor, depending on ceiling height, but assuming it’s a tall volumetric space.”
— Ruby Ramirez, Principal at ANTROBUS + RAMIREZ in Miami
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