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Advice: Dining Room Lighting


Historically, chandeliers have usually been found in the dining room.  New designs such as mini-chandeliers and forward thinking design trends have moved the chandelier out of the dining room and into the rest of the house.  These days you can find chandeliers and mini-chandeliers in the foyer , kitchens , bedrooms and even in the vanity or bathroom .  Of course, today’s large great rooms are often highlighted with a beautiful chandelier.  
The following questions and answers about chandeliers as well as other important lighting questions can be found in our guide, “ Selecting Lighting For Your Home .”
Q – How do I determine the proper chandelier width for a foyer? 
A – This is pretty easy.  Just add together the length and width dimensions of the foyer area.  What you get is the proper diameter for most any chandelier you’ll need there.
Example:  The area is 12 feet by 16 feet.  Added together this equals 28 feet.  Therefore, the foyer chandelier’s diameter should be approximately 28” in width.
Q – What about the height of the chandelier? 
A – This depends on the height of your foyer ceiling.  Always keep in mind that the bottom of the chandelier should be at least 7 feet from the floor.  That may mean you need a flushmount (mounts directly against the ceiling), a semi-flush (also known as close-to-ceiling fixture, which hangs a few inches below the ceiling) or, if you have a tall ceiling, you may need a 2-tier or 3-tier chandelier.
If there is a window above the front doors, center the chandelier so it can be seen from outside.  If the foyer is extra large, you may also want to include wall sconces in the foyer.  Install them against the wall approximately 60” from the floor, 6 – 8 feet apart.
Q – How do I determine the proper size chandelier for over a dining room table? 
A – Here, as in the foyer, the dimensions of the room dictate the width (diameter) of the chandelier.  If that doesn’t appear to fit because of the size of your table, use ½ the table width for the chandelier’s diameter. 
The bottom of the chandelier should be no lower than 30 inches above the tabletop.
Q – When should I use a dimmer switch? 
A – Although dimmers can be used in every room, we put this question here, because the dining room will be the location of many varying activities.  Intimate dinner party?  Dim the lights.  Children working at the table on their homework?  Bring up the wattage!
Q – Will a chandelier be enough light? 
A – Here again, you should make sure the chandelier has enough wattage (Multiply the length times the width of the room.  Then, multiply that number times 1.5.  That gives you the amount of wattage you need to light the room properly for general illumination. 
Example:  A room is 12 ft. x 16 ft. (12 x 16 = 192).  Then multiply 192 x 1.5 = 288 watts.  That means an 8-light chandelier using 40-watt bulbs would give 320 watts, which is even more light than needed.). 
If you’re not comfortable with the amount of light, you can add sconces, portable lamps or recessed lights to add more light and ambience.

-Courtesy of Kichler Lighting