The Definitive Guide to Chandeliers. Choosing, Buying and Caring for your Chandelier.

This is a must-read article for anyone considering buying a chandelier. We provide you with answers to age old dilemma’s; the Lighting Company provides a valuable resource of advice and guidance. We can guide you to select the best chandelier for each room and choose the correct size light fitment. Do you have a period home and need to know which style chandelier is suited to the era of your home? Or perhaps you have a modern home and fancy adding a show stopping, contemporary style chandelier? Just from looking at the sheer variety of chandeliers that are available to buy and you’ll soon appreciate that defining your requirements will not only speed up the process but also give peace of mind that the investment you make at this stage will save you time and (potentially!) trouble later.

 

The starting point in your search for the perfect chandelier should always be choosing the correct size for the dimensions of your room. If you are mounting a chandelier in the centre of a room, you may find this task relatively straight forward, i.e., if you have a high ceiling space and choose to have a large light, it would not have the consequence of dominating the room. Your search may be for very large crystal chandeliers, if so we can help to speed up the selection process. Here’s a few notable examples of supersize chandeliers.

 

 

However, most of the time you’ll probably have one or more specific requirements; it may be that you need a very small light, a flush fitting light for smaller spaces, or perhaps that the light is to be mounted over a table or kitchen island. Check out our comprehensive size guide to buying a chandelier.

What size of chandelier is right for your room?

Measure your ceiling height and use the quick ready reckoner guide below.

<7ft: We would recommend that ceiling heights of 7 feet or below are generally not suitable for hanging lights, the exception to this rule is if it is to be positioned above a table. You can have grand, chandelier style wall lights, sparkly table lamps or crystal chandelier inspired floor lamps as an alternative, if you’ve set your sights on a crystal or glass sparkle effect light fitting.

 

 

8ft: For ceilings of around 8 feet in height, there’s plenty of choice for modern chandelier lights which fit close to the ceiling. We would advise that you allow a clearance below the base of the light fitting of at least 6 feet and 6 inches to 7 feet if you have tall family or visitors or to allow for unexpected movement.

 

 

9ft: If you have a ceiling height of approximately 9 feet high, the choice of fittings really begins to expand and allows for lights to hang on longer suspension, chain or dual mount type light fitting that has a drop down light on metal frame rather than using the chain (sometimes referred to as semi flush).

 

 

10 – 11ft: When you have ceiling height of between 10 and 11 feet, you can afford to have a light that hangs down from the ceiling around 2 to 3 feet, often when light measurements are stated they include the length of chain too. If you see a chandelier’s measurement giving a minimum and maximum this is normally the shortest measurement (when the chain has been adjusted leaving just one link) to the longest (full chain) from the decorative part of the fitting to the ceiling mounting plate (sometimes referred to as a ceiling cup, canopy or ceiling rose).

>12ft: For those of you with ceilings over 12 feet; lucky you! Only a few lights are excluded from your choices. Almost any light will work here, allowing for a clearance of 7 or more feet from the floor, however, be aware that If you have very high ceilings you may have a picture rail too – this will play a part in the aesthetics as you may not wish the light to hang below that height (tradition dictates as a rule of thumb).

>15ft: If you have a double height ceiling, or one higher than 15 feet, you will need to consider having something that hangs low enough to reach for easy changing of the light bulbs. Sometimes lights can be made with longer cable or chain, specially customised to suit the size of your room. We’d advise this is carried out during the manufacture of the light. You may find that very few lighting companies offer this type of service; proudly – we do!

There’s a wide selection of customisable light fittings which can be specially made to your bespoke height specification at a small additional cost. Talk to the sales team if you have special lighting requirements and they will be happy to assist you with lighting your high ceiling. As we’re experts for lighting high ceilings, you’ll also find dedicated sections on the website – one for modern lighting for high ceilings, which includes some lovely crystal contemporary styles, and for a period home, rustic or converted barns, churches and chapels, we have the barns and high ceiling section, specializing in traditional and heritage styles for period settings.

 

 

You may also wish to peruse the multi-tier lights for dramatic statement lights of very large proportions. These are so impressive, they are often used for contract applications, i.e., wedding venue lights and hotel reception or foyer lighting.

What about if you have a high ceiling in a small room? Can you still install a big light?

You may worry that the light may be too wide for a room. Having limited floor space does not preclude you from having a large statement light as there’s no clutter high up there. Going a little larger on the ceiling light makes a statement that does not get in the way or impede movement – even in tiny rooms. If you have a show off high ceiling, why not add a “wow”?!

What height should a chandelier hang above a table or kitchen island?

There is nothing that makes a grand statement better than an opulent chandelier above your dining table. Regardless of whether that be a traditional candelabra style or a contemporary crystal modern light, the question always comes down to what size and height it should be, or how low it should hang. This same conundrum applies to lights above large kitchen islands, breakfast bars or kitchen peninsular worktops. Large decorative feature lights are often utilised to dress and elevate dining kitchens, which now play a big part of the living rooms and social areas throughout the home and are therefore thoroughly deserving of more lavish lighting.

When lighting such dining spaces, careful thought should be given to the height of the light to avoid glare in the eyes for you and your dinner guests. It’s prudent to consider that the fitting does not obscure the view from one diner to another; as much as you may want your guests to admire your light, it’s no reason to place it directly in front of their faces! Take the time to sit at the table and make sure the light is at least 2.5 feet from the surface of the table or island top. Ideally, it should take up no more than a third of the table’s length and so that your table is not dwarfed in scale, take care that it does not protrude further than the its width. It is often better to utilise two smaller chandeliers than use one that dominates. Large scale is great for adding impact but don’t overdo it, or that you knock the light when rising from the table.

Fitting the light with dimmable bulbs (where possible) allows for changing ambience.

How do you change the bulbs for chandeliers in very tall spaces?

There are a couple of options to consider giving you access to light fitments installed higher up. You could look to install a hoist, or look to have a fitment made with longer suspension supports.

Installing a chandelier winch or hoist; the pros and cons:

• It seems sensible to easily move the light down to change the light bulbs.
• Hoists are expensive to buy typically costing more than the value of the light.
• They require specialist to install them.
• You’ll still need to gain access for maintenance of the hoist.

The alternative is having a light made with a longer cable or chain suspension. This will:

• Ensure that you add the additional length to your order as it’s a more complicated to add it later
• A lower hanging light source can be more effective in the space you require to light
• Makes it easier to reach
• Ensures a custom fit for your home that’s unique to you

As an alternative, you could look at hiring a platform or cherry picker to periodically change your light bulbs. It would be advisable to install LED bulbs in all situations as this type of light bulb may have an expected life of up to 15 years dependent on use. Find out more about LED bulbs in our comprehensive blog or look at the range for product specific details.

 

 

What style chandelier is right for a traditional style property?

Long before electric lights had been invented, chandeliers were used to show emphasise the affluence in wealthy homes. Originally powered by candlelight, the spectacular statement lights have never fallen out of the limelight, but what interpretation of chandelier styling, accurately encapsulates the period of your home?

Georgian and Regency Homes: Traditionally, these were large, crystal multi-arm light fittings that were synonymous with the luxuriousness of the period, such as the Marie Therese chandeliers.

 

 

Edwardian and Victorian Homes: In these times light fittings were often gas powered so the chandeliers of the time had the glass bowls style shades fitted around flames. The gas ran through metal tubes, so metal and glass light fittings are more representative of chandeliers of this period.

classic-british-lighting-chandelier-traditional-aged-brass-with-halophane-glass-shades-p2649-4210_image

 

 

From 1920’s to the 1930’s, lighting moved slightly away from traditional candle style chandeliers and started advancements into more modern styles of chandeliers. They became simplified and refined, with less frivolity and decoration.

 

 

In the 1950’s lighting became more utilitarian and chandeliers of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are often described as architectural or sculptural. Today we’d refer to this style of light as an installation or modern chandelier.

 

 

As newer homes were built in the UK after the war years they became smaller with lower ceiling heights in comparison to earlier period homes. The lower ceiling heights gave way to smaller light fitments and chandeliers of more basic forms. If you’ve always fancied a chandelier but have the lower ceiling heights and want something decorative, you’ll be pleased to know that many more modern crystal chandeliers have been designed with these homes in mind.

Look at the website for lights for lower ceiling heights and select crystal and glass options. Here you’ll find modern chandeliers.

 

 

Cleaning and care of chandeliers.

How often should you clean your chandelier?

Keeping your light fittings clean and fresh looking should be (at least!) an annual job. Quite often, cleaning your light fitment is a neglected task and is especially true for chandeliers, because they look so fragile and delicate and therefore prone to damage. It’s usually just a lack of knowledge that stops us maintaining the original sparkle of our prized possession, as it’s not as complicated as it looks; you will need to take care and use suitable cleaning materials, however with a bit of attention, your light will be as bright and impressive to your guests as when it was new.

How do you clean a chandelier?

• Switch of the power both at the fuse board and the light switch.
• Replace any light bulbs that have blown, it may be prudent to replace with LED light bulbs as these as much longer lasting and have a very low energy consumption. Lightly clean the glass of any bulbs that did not require replacing.
• Use a feather duster or a light muslin cloth and gently flick around the light to remove cobwebs and dust. Any branches of the light that are unembellished may be dusted. There is no need ever to use water on your light fitments. Most metal fittings are coated with a lacquer and wetting lights may not only damage the fitting but is dangerous too.
• Lights that are bedecked with crystal droplets take a little extra care. It can be tricky removing each crystal one at a time and great care is needed so that the crystal fastenings do not break. Our top tip here is use a spray crystal cleaner; however you need to follow these tips:
• Keep the power off, spray with crystal cleaner
• avoiding the bulb sockets; they can be covered with kitchen roll or a plastic bag whilst you spray the light
• Ensure the floor below the light is covered with plastic, towels or cardboard to protect the floor covering or carpet.
• Follow the instructions for each crystal cleaning product.
• Often the cleaning fluid is like a mousse that just drips off the fitting removing dirt and grime with it.
• There may be additional safety equipment needed such as masks, glasses and or gloves.
• The room may also require ventilation.
• Once the preparatory cleaning material drips or dries off you can gently buff the crystal back to its former shine.

What are the best light bulbs for a chandelier?

Oval shaped light bulbs always look super in a chandelier, in the lighting trade we call these candle bulbs as they replicate the shape of a candle flame. In most European countries, the majority of lights take a “screw in” type bulb, known as an Edison screw cap, but some UK style candle bulbs are a push in and turn type of bulb (known as a bayonet cap). To complicate further there are small and lager caps, a small Edison bulb (SES) can also be called an E14, the larger size is a E27 (or ES). In the bayonet range a small bayonet cap (SBC) is known as a B14 and the larger size – a B22 (or BC).

 

 

Your light fitting will normally have a small sticker next to the lamp holder telling you which bulbs to buy and what the maximum wattage should be. They are small stickers and sometimes they may be hidden under the candle sleeve (a tube of metal or plastic that sits below the light bulb), lift this up slowly (only if you need to establish the required light bulb) as sometimes there are spring clips below just waiting to give your fingers a nasty pinch, which can be a bit of a surprise and make you jump, not what’s needed or recommended when you are at the top of a ladder!

Here at the LightingCompany.co.uk we’d always recommend using LED bulbs as they are very low energy but give a nice level of illumination and have a much longer life. There’s options for dimmable led candle bulbs too.

What style of chandelier can you install in a kitchen?

You can install any style of chandelier in a kitchen safely, if you select a sensible place to install it of course. There are a few practical implications to consider. It is always less than wise to place a light fitting directly above a hob as heat will damage your light’s internal components. Kitchens get greasy and lights will need more regular cleaning, for that reason, a less ornate or simpler chandelier may be a sensible approach.

 

 

Can you fit a chandelier in a bathroom?

Bathroom chandeliers are growing in popularity, helping to bring a luxury feel to the smallest room of the home, however as with all light fittings installed in bathrooms there must be a level of protection against water ingress. Browse bathroom Chandeliers on our web store or alternatively read our blog for further bathroom lighting idea’s and explanation of bathroom ratings for lighting.

 

 

That is our guide to chandelier lights.
Could we help more? Is there anything we’ve forgotten? Or do you have a question relating to chandeliers that we have not answered? Please let us know via the comments below and we’ll be happy to add further information should we feel this will help others too!

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