How to Select a Dining Room Chandelier

Today, I'm going to share a tutorial. I created this simple guide from what I've learned during my stint working as a chandelier and lighting consultant for a luxury lighting brand. I posted this during my early days blogging and I was surprised by how popular this post has become at that time.

Selecting the perfect pendant lighting for your dining space seems to be a baffling task. As you browse through hundreds of styles in catalogues or during countless trips to lighting showrooms, one tends to feel perplexed. It often ends up either buying something just to get it over with or not buying anything at all.

I strongly believe that a lighting feature could make or break your desired space. (Eek, no pressure). It sets the tone. It creates a huge impact on the overall decor.  Before purchasing the chandelier, here are some guidelines to consider in order to achieve the beautiful dining setting you envision.

Design Style
  • What is the predominant style of your dining room?   Is your furniture Modern? Contemporary?  Or perhaps Purely Traditional? If it's the latest, then you require something that would match and harmonise with that style.  Check out design styles in sites like  and Pinterest to see what your dining room's design orientation is.
Design by Tony Chi
  • Do you prefer a more relaxed dining area? A creative piece made of natural or recyclable materials will give out a laid back look.
  • What are the material finishes? Have your fabric swatches, wall finish color and material samples with you during your selection and compare them against the chandelier. Ensure that your lighting of choice is in the same style as your furnishings. If your wish to go for an eclectic look, try having a complementary shade to any of the existing materials in the room.

Chandelier Finish
  • Match the finish of the chandelier frame to your accessories and furniture. If you have a lot of warm tones  and gold, select a bronze or gold finish.

Design by Yabu Pushelberg
  • Polished silver is ideal if you don't want to highlight the body of the crystal chandelier. Silver finish works well with black, grey and muted chandelier tones.
  • All crystal chandeliers are versatile in various design settings.

Chandelier Size and its proportion to the dining table

  • The chandelier should never be wider than the width of your table.
  • Rule of Thumb # 1: Choose a fixture that has a diameter measuring 1/2 the width of your square, rectangular or circular dining table.
  • It is always better to have two or more chandeliers in an elongated or banquet sized  table of an oversized room.

Tom Dixon Pendants
  • Rule of Thumb # 2: Suspend the chandelier 3 inches above the table for every 1 foot of the ceiling height. Having said that, the bottom of the chandelier should be hung roughly about 27- 30 inches above your dining table assuming a 9 foot ceiling. 
  • Here's an exception. Surface mounted light fixtures are not really recommended for dining areas, unless you are going for a minimalist look.  Here's a recessed lighting feature where Tony Chi mastered the art of doing it paired with interesting table top accessories.

Design by Tony Chi

  • Though I personally prefer suspended lighting above the dining table. A  sculptural lighting piece will always create a statement!

Bocci Chandelier

Room Dimensions
  • Measure the Size of the Room. The worst thing that could ever happen is to pick a chandelier too small or buy something too large it overpowers everything inside the room. 
  • Another pitfall is hanging it too high within your room. For small breakfast /dinette type of room, an elegant pendant lamp is more suitable.
  • Measure the Ceiling Height. Higher ceilings require large chandeliers and more illumination. 

Design by Kelly Hoppen

  • Two or more really small pendants are not recommended for dining table as they are more appropriate on top of kitchen bar counters. 

Illumination based on the Area
  • Calculate the total area of the room.  For a ceiling higher than 9 feet, multiply 2.0 Watts for every square foot in order to achieve a well-lit room without causing a lot of glare. Installing a dimmer switch is wise. I suggest referring to a lighting consultant in order to customize chandeliers for palatial ceilings and grand spaces. 
Kevin Reilly Altar Chandelier
  • Consider dimming. It's always a plus point if you can adjust the brightness of the chandelier whenever possible.
  • LED is always a good idea.  Dimmable LEDs are becoming more and more popular.

Budget is another determining factor. Always remember that a chandelier is an investment and should last for a very long time. It could even be an heirloom, so it is very important to buy something that you love. 

Which one is your favourite?
Do you have a dining room chandelier at home?
Love & light,

Images via: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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  1. the one in the first photo is stunning as are all the flower pieces in all of the pics! Especially the white tulips in square vases. I bought myself once ten of those vases at a sale :)

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