Chandeliers sometimes get a bad rap (especially when they’re outdated), but the right fixture can instantly elevate your dining room. And if the word itself makes you picture Grandma’s crystal version while you’re more of a modernist, fear not: Functional and chic chandeliers are available in countless styles, whether it’s antique, midcentury, or contemporary. You can find a chandelier that compliments your beautiful tablescape and can actually grow with your home. From size, placement, and style, we have the best tips to making sure a modern chandelier in your dining room works for you and not against your existing floor plan.
How to Choose a Chandelier
Lights.com cofounder and creative director Sheva Knopfler recommends going with more of a simple and timeless design. “If it has a lot of intricate details or materials, the chandelier will only be in style for 1-3 years. We recommend a style that is more transitional,” Knopfler explains.
You’ll need to know the measurement of your dining room and the dining table before shopping. If the measurements are off, the room can look off-kilter. To narrow down on the size of your chandelier, Knopfler advises determining the length and width of your dining room and converting the total to inches. Whether you go big or small, the fixture should be about 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table.
If your dining room is dimly lit, finding a light fixture that not only adds warmth (you don’t have to rely on your candlesticks) but suits the personality of your home will liven up the space. Knopfler advises considering the amount of light needed from your chandelier and the existing setup in your dining room. “Is it the primary source of light in the room? Or do you have other layers of light available? Do you have recessed lights in the room that act as the primary light source? In that case, your chandelier is a decorative element and an additional layer of light,” she says.
Using a smart light switch, toggle, or light dimmers will allow you to control the overall feel of the space from full-on for guests or a soft glow for dinner for two. These details will help you determine the size and shape of the chandelier!
Where to Install a Chandelier
All eyes are on the center of the room when you open up your home. Modern chandeliers make a dramatic statement even when they have less glitz and glamour than classic styles. To illuminate your dining room in the best way, it’s important to make sure the lighting fixture is centered over your dinner table, and not in the middle of the overall room.
According to Mitzi’s Creative Director Ben Marshall, the bottom of your chandelier should be between 30 and 36 inches away from your table. “For round tables, compare the diameters of the table and the fixture, aiming to keep the fixture 12–18” back from the table’s edge,” he advises. “For a rectangular table, the ideal width is 6” less than all edges of the table.” This leaves room for your thoughtfully designed tablescape, from the flowers to the vases. If the fixture is installed too high, it takes away from the intended impact you wanted to make.
If you’re installing in your living room, Marshall advises calculating the size of your chandelier by multiplying your ceiling height (in feet) by 2.5–3 (in inches) to get the suggested height for the fixture. For example, “An 8′ ceiling calls for a chandelier height of 20–24″. For diameter, add the room’s dimensions and convert the sum to inches. A 12′ x 12′ room indicates a chandelier with a 24″ diameter would work,” Marshall states. But if your ceiling is pretty low, you can get clever with decorative flush-mounts that will get the job done!
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Where to Find Modern Chandeliers
First things first: “Always buy something that speaks to you, and you love,” advises Knopfler (And we couldn’t agree more!). “Trends are great, but if it isn’t authentic to your own aesthetic, you will get bored of them quickly. The key is to follow what you are naturally drawn to and find those forms and colors within up-to-date designs.”
Whether it’s rustic or a glamorous raindrop fixture, chandeliers are an upgrade to your space that can be purchased at a wide range of price points. You can score from a variety of your favorite online stores like One Kings Lane, CB2, Anthropologie, or newer brands like Mitzi and Vault Light (there are even great options on Amazon). Marshall believes shoppers should plan to set into motion the proper purchases for that space. “Plan around things or a style that you like. Your style will shift over the years so choose wonderful pieces that speak joy to you. This “joy” will last a lot longer than a trend.”
Below we found eye-catching chandeliers for every aesthetic, cost, and dining room size. Happy shopping!
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