How to choose a chandelier: Vinterior’s top styling tips
The chandelier is perhaps the most exuberant and statement of all the lighting options out there. These sculptural pieces can really make a room and choosing one that matches your style and your interiors can be tricky. Here we’ve collated everything you need to know about picking the perfect piece—from how and where to hang, to styling advice.
Chandeliers have been a classic lighting choice for centuries, illuminating our homes with a sense of suave and sophistication—all the way from the mediaeval period through to the present day.
Despite their association with glamour and grandeur, chandelier styles are so much more versatile than simply the classic crystal and glass festooned candelabras that instantly come to mind.
Chandeliers have evolved throughout the decades, responding to different design styles with a huge array of different shapes and characteristics. So whether you’re blessed with high ceilings or fitting out a more understated space there’s a chandelier for you.
Despite their versatility, the sheer number of options can be dizzying. Choosing the right chandelier for your space depends on a host of factors—from picking a suitable style to figuring out the proper positioning or how to get the hang just right.
That’s why we’ve collated our top styling tips, including a selection of design options to help inspire, helping you to make your choice confidently.
What is a chandelier?
The very first chandeliers originated around the 15th century, designed as humble wooden crosses supporting animal fat candles. Throughout the centuries designs became more elaborate, evolving into decadent sculptural candelabra styles. By the end of the 16th century rock crystals were added to designs to refract light and create a more luminous feature.
Traditionally, chandeliers were characterised by this unique design—candles or bulbs fixed to arms that extended out of a central body. But these days we’ve all loosened up a little and the definitions aren’t so strict, making room for fixtures such as the ring chandelier—a simple circle without arms, studded with bulbs.
Today it’s also common to refer to any large pendant lighting, as well as globe and oval lanterns, as chandeliers too.
Which chandelier style is right for me?
When choosing a chandelier style it’s important to consider which ones will not just complement your interior, but also enhance it. Here’s a quick wrap up of different chandelier styles to give you a flavour of what can work, where.
Any furniture or fixture that was made over 100 years ago is technically antique, so considering the chandelier is over 500 years old, antique chandeliers encompass a wealth of different styles.
Broadly speaking, antique chandeliers tend to feature bold, decadent designs that will really catch your eye in any room. Think cut glass and crystal adorned with strings of pendants, or striking polished brass with extravagant, looping arms.
Although you can find smaller, more ornate pieces, typically these are the classic showstoppers that will look best in more traditionally fitted out homes with high ceilings and lots of space around them.
Art Deco is a design style that was popular during the roaring 1920s and early 1930s. It thrived on expensive, rich materials, and any Art Deco piece always exudes luxury.
Art Deco chandeliers are no exception. A stylish statement, these pieces feel as glamorous as antique Chandeliers but tend to feature modernist geometric forms—influenced by the bold, cubist shapes that Art Deco is famed for.
Because this style of chandelier is often characterised by low hanging, large pendants, these pieces are again best suited to interiors with high ceilings and space to hang.
Vintage essentially encompasses everything made less than 100 years ago, up to the contemporary turn. The vinterior collection includes a huge array of different styles from minimal mid-century modern chandeliers to beautiful bauhaus pieces.
Because of their range, vintage chandeliers can complement a whole range of different spaces but for the best results, make sure you choose a style that matches at least one or two other pieces in the room.
Murano glass, sometimes called Venetian glass, is a special type of glass made on the island of Murano in Italy. Famed for exquisite craftsmanship, Murano glass pieces are truly magnificent. Both traditional candelabra style designs along with more modernist designs with brightly coloured shimmering glass features are available
Murano glass chandeliers are bold and brilliant, with coloured pieces looking best in more minimal spaces with neutral tones. Try to pair glass colours with other accents around the room, like cushions or curtain colours.
Last, but certainly not least, we have contemporary chandeliers. Although there are lots of contemporary pieces that attempt to replicate older styles, the best ones (in our opinion) completely break-free from tradition.
Here you have your ring chandeliers, sculptural pieces with tumbling bulbs, clusters of dangling lamps or minimal LED strips arranged in squares or circles. Any of these -modern designs fit best with other contemporary interiors and are often used as an illuminating feature within spaces adorned in darker greens, blues or grey hues.
How to choose the correct size chandelier for a room
Now you have an idea of which style chandelier you might be aiming for, the next most important thing is figuring out the correct size. This is fairly straightforward.
- Start by measuring the width and length of your room in feet.
- Add them together.
- The sum will give you the perfect diameter of your chandelier in inches.
If you use this as a rough guide, whether you’re looking for the perfect hang in the living room, dining room, bathroom or a hallway, you’ll rarely go wrong.
How to choose a chandelier for a living room
When it comes to the living room, a lighting feature as prominent as a chandelier can really make or break the space. Because of their spectacular hanging presence, it’s best to strip the room of any tall cabinets or pieces of furniture which make the ceiling seem lower than it is. Opt for low sofas and seating and choose a colour that stands out against your wall paint.
Another important point to consider is whether you want your chandelier to be the room’s primary light source. As they are first and foremost a decorative light fixture, it’s often best to think of them as supplementary lighting, in addition to a few wall lights, large lamps or cove lighting.
How to choose a chandelier for a dining room
Choosing the right chandelier for your dining room is often a little tricker. This is because the simple layout of the room draws the eye toward the chandelier much more, allowing it to really standout as a sculptural centrepiece.
As a guide, we recommend picking a piece that is roughly half or two thirds of the size of your table. This way it won’t overpower the room, or look too small compared to your table. Position your chandelier with about 30” to 35” between the table and the bottom of your fixture for the perfect hang.
Again, make sure your piece complements the rest of your interior, and match colours with trims on any upholstery or centre pieces on the table to really draw the whole look together.
How do I hang a chandelier?
Depending on how savvy your DIY skills are, it’s generally best to get a professional to fit your chandelier, especially if there are any electrical bits that need attention.
In addition to hanging tips for the dining table, make sure you leave at least 7 feet between the floor and the bottom of the chandelier to ensure it doesn’t feel too imposing and to cater to your taller guests. Ensure there is also at least 4 feet from your chandelier sides to the nearest walls. Chandeliers need space to stand out.
How do I take care of a chandelier?
Chandeliers can be tricky to care for because of their long limbs and large surface area, but here are a few tips to maintain their appeal.
- Make sure you regularly dust your piece with a lint free cloth.
- If it’s brass, give it a polish about once a year to keep it shining.
- Don’t use any harsh chemical cleaners and always look up what products are safe for your pieces materials.
- Choose the correct bulbs for the electrical wattage—if you’re not sure, ask an electrician.
So there you have it. Hopefully by now you’re feeling confident about what style chandelier could be right for you and your interiors.