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Active Home: Suspended BRILLIANCE

THE DICTIONARY’S DESCRIPTION OF A CHANDELIER IS QUITE SIMPLE – an ornamental hanging light with branches and holders for several candles or bulbs. However, with the endless styles, shapes and sizes now available, shopping for a chandelier is anything but simple. As lighting technology and design elements continue to grow at lightening speed, choosing that perfect fixture can be overwhelming. Here’s how to break it down and cut through the confusion.

right chandelier


It’s important to size your chandelier so that it is the focal point of the room.

  • Measure the length and the width of the room in feet.
  • Add those two numbers together.
  • The sum of those two numbers should be the diameter of your chandelier in inches. When in doubt, err on a larger size, since chandeliers are statement pieces.
  • In a dining room, the goal is to suspend the fixture(s) low enough so that you don’t catch any glare from the light source, but high enough so that it doesn’t obstruct your vision.
  • A good rule of thumb is to hang the fixture 30 to 36 inches from the top of the table.


Chandeliers are decorative fixtures. With this in mind, they aren’t meant to be a room’s primary light source. Instead, they create ambiance and augment the style of a room. It would be unrealistic to expect a single fixture hanging in the centre of a room to light the entire space. The chandelier is a supplementary light source that should be incorporated into a layered lighting scheme. As part of the overall plan, consider integrating cove lighting, recessed pot lights, wall sconces and/or lamps. In addition, accent lighting can highlight paintings, countertops and cabinets.

When selecting a fixture, ensure that it provides the right kind of light. There’s nothing worse than sitting at a table with a glaring bulb shining in your eyes. If the bulbs are exposed on your fixture of choice, check to see what kind of bulbs would work best. Lean towards a warmer, ambient light that can be balanced with the cooler light of recessed options. In all cases, instal a dimmer switch so that you can control the light output.


Chandelier styles tend to fit into one of four categories – traditional, transitional, modern or rustic. The style of the fixture doesn’t have to follow the other style elements in the room. Since it’s a statement piece, perhaps an unexpected look would be more enlightening, rather than playing it safe.

For a more modern look, focus on satin nickel or chrome finishes. Traditional fixtures often feature brass (brushed or bright), and transitional options combine design elements from both traditional and contemporary styling. Wood, resin and metal are preferred materials for rustic fixtures. Mixed metals are very popular, including various combinations of black, bronze, silver, gold, glass – whatever. When adding jewellery to an outfit, one piece can change the whole look. Selecting a light fixture is similar. Choose a chandelier that provides a pleasing light quality, helps to balance the room, and is also appealing to your design sensibilities.

By Cobi Ladner



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