Right first time, every time

Get the scale and shape of your centre light fitting right the first time. Follow these simple guidelines and choose the right size…

A four-tier chandelier may suit the centre of a ballroom or hotel but consider the proportions of your room before you choose. In hallways use a linear fixture to complement the shape. Also think about access for replacing bulbs and cleaning. I’m thinking of the Only Fools and Horses classic moment which leaves every designer and contractor cold with fear. Sometimes your chosen fitting isn’t practical for the intended interior. Resist imposing fittings if the fixture is going to compete for attention against other furnishings such as sofas, or simply because the chandelier is so dramatic it needs a standalone space. A common mistake is ‘over-sizing’. There is nothing worse than an oversized chandelier. Keep in mind the function of the lit area, too. You want the light to enhance your space not overpower it.
The warm yellow tones and porcelain shades shed a candle light effect, ideal for dining and artificial diffusers can provide a variety of light textures to suit the purpose of the room while a contemporary chandelier may simply be an illuminated feature rather than a light source and be made in a variety of materials beside crystal.
As a general rule of thumb, add the width to the length of the room (this formula works best with rough measurements taken in feet and inches than metric for some reason). The resulting calculations, in inches, is the ideal diameter of the chandelier you should look for.
For example: A 26-by-16-feet room requires a fitting as follows: As a rough guide, 26+16=42. Therefore the ideal diameter of the chandelier is 42 inches (approximately 1 metre). This helps you to search the correct size. Of course, it’s not an exact measurement so you can be a little bit flexible either way without damaging the outcome.
The fitting drop needs a minimum overhead gap of 30 centimetres between the lowest point from the ceiling and the top of a person’s head. Say we take the average height of a person as 200 centimetres (2 metres), tthe fittings should leave a 230 centimetres gap from the ground to the lowest drop of the fitting.
A dining table needs a metre clearance between the chandelier’s lowest point and the table surface to avoid banging your head on it.
These guidelines will help you buy and install the right size fitting. Get it right, the first time, every time!

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE, SBID President
www.vanessa-brady.com
www.sbid.org