DECORATING RULES: LIGHTING

Choosing the right size, style and usage of lighting seems to be one of the toughest things for homeowners to do; most people choose the wrong style and size. Here’s where this simple ‘Q & A’ style lesson will help most. Enjoy, KL

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How far from the table do we hang the chandelier?
From the top of table to bottom of chandelier is 32-42 inches. Lower ceilings mean keeping it closer to 32 inches.

Pendant light height?
A pendant is hung 42-60 inches above a kitchen island or hobby work space.

How do know what size chandelier to buy?
Measure the width (not length) of your dining room. For each foot of width you get 2 inches of diameter for the chandelier. For instance, if your dining room is only 10 feet wide, then you should choose a chandelier that has the diameter of about 20 inches. If you have high ceilings then try to fill that space with a taller-shaped light fixture. If you have low ceilings then choose a more horizontal-shaped fixture.

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How high should wall sconces be?
The standard height is 60 inches from floor. Raise it 2-6 inches higher if you have exceptional high ceilings.

What do you do if you have really high ceilings?
For each foot, add an extra 2 inches of height to any light fixture. Also consider that the higher the ceilings, the more volume you have to fill; a slightly larger-scaled light fixture will probably work best.

Double high foyer – How high should that be? Should I be able to see it only when i’m upstairs, or when i’m down in the foyer?
It should be viewed from the upstairs or 2/3 high into the overall space.

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How high should our bedside lamp be?
Sit up in bed… The bottom of the lampshade should be ideally within 2 inches of your shoulder’s sitting height.

Does your bed size matter here in terms of measurement?
No, its the height of the bed, not how wide it is.

Floor lamp?
The shade needs to be higher than the back of your chairs. Floor/reading lamps should be 6-12 inches higher than the chair’s arm.

Lamp on side table beside the couch or chair?
Same rule as bed… Measure from the sitting height of your shoulder.

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More for thought:

1/ Every room needs 3 types of lighting: Task, Overhead, Ambient.

2/ Dimmer switches help to create various moods throughout your home- a definite investment and worth while!

3/ Look for new LED lightbulbs that have soft-white light; much more flattering than the old ones.

4/ Lighting is like jewellery for the home- keep tones/finishes similar and look to your home’s architectural style to help influence the style- especially on lighting that is permanately installed.

5/ Got an old lamp? Add a new shade & a new coloured cord to give it new decorative life.

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