Chandeliers Tips

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What are some different chandelier styles?

Different Chandelier Looks

Don't try to use a chandelier to dress up a casual house, or make a modern house look more traditional. Instead, find one that works with the decor you already have.

  • Iron chandeliers are good for a classic or antique look. Because they can be very heavy, many "iron" chandeliers are lighter-weight metal with a slightly textured black finish.
  • Wood chandeliers can look rustic or contemporary, depending on styling.
  • Crystal chandeliers offer a glittering, formal look, meant to impress.
  • Antler chandeliers are a unique style made from the antlers of deer. No deer are harmed -- the antlers used in chandeliers are ones the deer have already shed and left on the ground.
  • Brass chandeliers also lend a formal look, and are popular as a brightener for small spaces.

   
How big a chandelier should I get?

The Right Size Chandelier

If your rooms are large, don't try to save by installing small chandeliers -- it will just look silly. However, if you have low ceilings or just like the look of smaller fixtures, consider hanging two or three of them down the length of a dining table, for example.

A standard rule is to add together the dimensions of your room in feet, then get a chandelier with a diameter that's close to that number of inches. So a 14 x 18-foot dining room would do best with a chandelier about 32 inches wide.

   
How high off the dining table should a chandelier be?

Chandelier Heights

When you're hanging that decorative chandelier, don't hang it too low, since the bulbs can create a large glare. Chandelier height depends on the style of the chandelier--crystal, simple, many-armed, elaborate. It also depends on the height and decor of your dining room. You wouldn't hang a small pendant chandelier near the ceiling in a simply decorated room!

A rule of thumb for crystal chandeliers: If your dining room is eight feet tall, hang the chandelier 30 to 34 inches above the table. If the ceiling is more than eight feet high, shorten that chandelier chain by an additional three inches. (You can also use a two-tier chandelier.) The chandelier should also be higher if it's a "bowl" style and you can't see through the glass. In an eight-foot-high dining room, most chandeliers will hang about 30 inches above the dining room table.

Tip: The San Francisco Chronicle suggests using two pieces of cardboard the same length as the width of an open chandelier and cutting slots in them to make an "X"--this represents your chandelier arms. When you hold up the "X," the bottom should be at a comfortable height when you're seated at the table.

For a bowl chandelier, you can hold an open umbrella, which usually is as wide as your average bowl chandelier, upside down over your dining room table and try for a height you like. Measure from the bottom of the open umbrella to the dining room table surface.

   
How do I care for my crystal chandeliers?

Crystal Clear Care For Chandeliers

Most people think Swarovski when they think crystal chandelier. But there are several types of crystal:

  • Moroccan/Egyptian
  • Rock crystal/quartz crystal (faux crystal glass)
  • Italian (especially Venetian)
  • Chinese
  • Turkish
  • Strass, made by Swarovski AG
  • Swarovski Spectra (generally cheaper than Strass)

All of these crystal grades have two things in common:
  1. They look impressive and elegant.
  2. They require special cleaning care.

Experts recommend that you clean your crystal chandelier and chandelier lamp shades in lukewarm water mixed with three parts isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to spread a drop cloth below your chandelier and cover upward-pointing bulbs with sandwich bags. Allow crystals to drip-dry.

*Chandelier Tips: If you don't want to mix your own cleaner, you can buy chandelier cleaning solution at a lighting store. Whether you buy Swarovski or Moroccan crystal, your chandelier will sparkle brilliantly for years to come.

   
Do I use brass cleaner on brass chandeliers?

Brass Chandelier Cleaning

It's time to get down to brass tacks with your brass contemporary chandeliers or antique chandeliers. Want some chandelier tips?

  • Don't use brass knuckles, especially if your chandelier is a hybrid of crystal and brass.
  • Gentle dusting with a linen or metal cleaning cloth will restore shine to brass uplight finish.
  • Lighting manufacturers also favor microfiber cloths.
  • You may not need to dust the brass if you give the bulbs a cleaning and polish. Don't neglect the chandelier lamp shades--wash them in warm soapy water.
  • If the brass still looks less than brassy, especially lacquered brass, use a cloth moistened lightly with furniture polish.

With care and attention your antique brass chandelier will impress the top brass (such as your mother-in-law), who will give you full marks on a surprise inspection!

   
Is there any place in the house I can't hang a crystal chandelier?

Where Crystal Chandeliers Can't Shine

You love crystal, and have dreamed of a crystal chandelier, especially one with gold or antique brass trim. However, when you try to hang Grandma's antique crystal chandelier, you discover it looks overly fussy in your casual dining room. Chandeliers should match your home decor and the room space. Some chandelier tips:

  • Don't pick antique brass for a casual, relaxed room, or the chandelier will look too formal.
  • If your dining room is eight feet tall, you need to hang a chandelier 30 to 34 inches above the dinette or dining room table.
  • If your dining room is more than 8 feet tall, mount the chandelier an additional three inches higher. A mass of crystal, especially with several dangling drop ornaments and low-hung uplights, can crowd the table.
  • Crystal chandeliers can work perfectly in your foyer. You can hang them halfway up the stairs. Even better: Install a crystal chandelier about knee-level of the upstairs landing.
  • Crystal chandeliers in a foyer, entryway, or lobby can be more "fussy" since they need to be wider or taller than dining room chandeliers so as not to appear too small.

on't mothball that crystal chandelier—it's a keepsake that will decorate your home for years to come.

   
How bright should my chandelier lighting be?

Chandelier Light and Shade

Dining in dim lighting can be romantic...especially since too-bright lighting sometimes blacks out your food! This is definitely the case with dining room chandeliers. Here are a few chandelier tips:

  • Crystal chandeliers or contemporary chandeliers that throw light directly onto a person's face cast unflattering shadows, plus people like to be able to see what they're eating.
  • It may not be your spicy jambalaya that has your dinner guests perspiring—naked bulbs that hang directly overhead heat up the air around your dining room table.
  • Consider decorative chandelier lamp shades that add to the mood you want to create and filter the light. Try a two-tier chandelier that can distribute the light.
  • Don't hang that crystal chandelier too low, even in a high room. You want the focus to be on the conversation and your gourmet cuisine!

   
Can I use amber glass or metal sconces with a crystal chandelier?

Sconces and Chandeliers

Here are some tasty chandelier tips on using sconces to chew on:

  • You can match crystal chandelier lamp shades to the wall sconce shades to create an impressive visual effect, or you can complement crystal chandelier uplight shades with "swoosh" glass sconces.
  • Amber glass sconces nicely complement a crystal chandelier with topaz crystals.
  • Choose a chandelier that goes well with the mood and style of the other accessories in the room (wall sconces, furniture, wallpaper or paint, window treatments, etc.).

   
How do I choose a unique crystal chandelier?

Unique Crystal Chandeliers

All crystal chandeliers aren't the same. If you're tired of crystal chandelier clones, you can choose a chandelier with:

  • Amethyst crystal ornaments
  • Black diamond crystals and heirloom gold/applewood finish
  • Topaz crystal ornaments
  • Etruscan gold trim
  • Gold-bronze patina finished frame
  • Frosted glass candle sleeves or chandelier lamp shades
  • Ironwork frame

Contemporary chandeliers offer a wide range of options for the crystal chandelier connoisseur. Try contemporary chandeliers with crystal design such as the horizontal drop James R. Moder Crystal Pendant Chandelier. There are as many crystal chandelier designs as there are facets in a crystal chandelier...just don't try to count them all or you won't enjoy your chandelier!

   
Where do I position my chandelier?

Chandelier Placement

There's no denying it, chandeliers are beautiful and can add elegance to any room. The trick is, however, that they need proper placement to really shine. You can't just dangle a chandelier anywhere and expect people to swoon. Here are some chandelier tips to help you get your great fixture situated in your dining room:

  • Center the table directly under the chandelier. This is pretty well-known rule of thumb. To be different, try angling the table diagonally to conjure up a more dramatic effect.
  • If a contractor or builder has hung the chandelier in the middle of the room you should move it. Placing a large table in the center of the room will likely force you to clump furniture together, creating a crowded area.
  • Put a dimmer on the chandelier fixture to create versatility and avoid glare. Use peripheral lighting to increase ambient light.

   
Does a Tiffany chandelier look good in a large room?

Classic Tiffany Chandeliers--All You Need

Tiffany chandeliers. Just the word “Tiffany” conjures up Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in her slinky dress, black glasses and cigarette holder, eating a pretzel and window shopping. Like Audrey Hepburn, Tiffany chandeliers are sleek, stylish and timeless. You may think that a Tiffany chandelier is wasted on a large dining area or hall area but the colored light refracted through stained glass actually adds intimacy.

However, generally speaking, slimmer, longer and modern chandeliers work better in smaller rooms. Here's a scintillating idea: For large rooms, consider installing several Tiffany chandeliers. They're perfect conversation pieces that even Holly Golightly's party guests would notice.

   
What are the best bulbs for my uplight chandelier?

Uplight Chandelier Bulbs

Bulbs are like remodeling choices...they keep multiplying. Fortunately, you don't have to spend hours debating between the offerings on view at the bulb display in your local lighting or home improvement store. Many chandeliers use candelabra bulbs that provide the right amount of light, so all you need to do is choose the correct intensity (25, 40, 60, or 100 watt bulbs).

You'll most likely select transparent candelabra bulbs, but frosted glass is also an option to further diffuse light through the uplight shades. Bright Idea: If you want to control the amount of light in the hall or dining room, use a dimmer switch. Now that you've decided on the bulbs, you can get back to the important dilemmas. Tuscan villa effect or French country chateau decor?

   
How bright should my chandelier lighting be?

Chandelier Lightbulbs and Brightness

So, you've bought a chandelier and you're ready to hang it in your home. Just hang it up, right? Wrong. Chandeliers must be hung in an effective way to be utilized correctly. If you want to hang one, follow these chandelier tips:

  • Hanging a chandelier too low can create a large glare that will throw off the lighting.
  • Hanging a chandelier too high can make it appear out of place.
  • Hang at an appropriate height over furniture (you don't want your fixture hanging onto your dinner plate).

   
What are some tips for decorating with chandeliers?

Decorating With Chandeliers

Installing chandeliers can brighten and beautify living spaces, but it's not a step to be taken lightly. Ideally, the chandeliers you choose will be part of your family's life and home for many years. Some things to keep in mind as you plan the decor of your room:

  • Before you fall in love with one of the beautiful dining-room chandeliers you see online, think about how long you're going to be staying in your house. Buyers and sellers often get into disputes about chandeliers, with a buyer believing the crystal chandelier went with the property and a seller who wants to take it away. If you know you're going to be selling your house within a few years, choose something light-colored and neutral, rather than an heirloom for your kids.
  • Hanging chandeliers can be a tricky task if you don't have much experience with electricity or home repair. Budget for whatever professional help and/or tools you will need.
  • Pay attention to whether your chandelier requires standard bulbs, and how much they cost.

   
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Carma Spence-Pothitt