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How do I Choose the Best Pendant Chandelier?

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  • Written By: Kay Paddock
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2016
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Light fixtures often do more than just brighten a room. They can add a touch of design and even become a focal point or conversation piece. A pendant chandelier is a striking type of light that hangs from the ceiling, usually ending in a single light or cluster of bulbs. Which chandelier style and size to choose will depend on several factors. Things like the room size, ceiling height, other design elements, personal preferences, and budget typically all figure into the decision.

The first thing to consider is the size of the room. A small space will look even smaller with a large, hanging fixture like a chandelier. By contrast, a tiny light probably won't illuminate a large area well enough. How well the room needs to be lit is important. A single pendant light might not offer enough brightness for a large area, so more than one might be necessary. A standard chandelier with several tiers of bulbs also might be a better choice for bigger rooms.

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In addition to the size of the fixture and the area, the ceiling height is important. Fortunately, most designs are available in varying lengths. If the ceiling isn't high enough for a large pendant chandelier, a shorter one in the same style is probably available. A good rule of thumb is to allow a minimum of 7 feet (about 2.1 m) of clearance below the bottom of the light for safety. More distance may be better, depending on the scale of the other objects in your home.

If the pendant chandelier will hang over a table or counter-top, the best height is usually about 32 to 40 inches (about 81 to 101 cm) above the surface. Hanging a string from the ceiling that matches the length of the light can be helpful in determining if the fixture is too short or long. Look at the luminaire, or the entire fitting, when determining if it will be too bright or dim at that height. If the bulbs aren't well-shaded, for instance, a low-hanging pendant might be too bright and glaring. The pendant width is also important. If it is very wide and hangs over a small space, it can dwarf the surface and look out of place.

Finally, personal preference, budget, and the home's d├ęcor will help determine the right pendant chandelier style to choose. Fortunately, these fixtures come in a range of prices that will probably fit most decorating budgets. Styles are also available from the smallest and most conservative design to elegant showpieces meant to be noticed. Colors and textures that match or blend in with the home's other elements, like furniture and fabrics, should be reflected in the design of the light. A careful choice will help the pendant chandelier enhance the overall impact and beauty of a room.

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