Nowadays, a lot of the decorating rules we grew up with have been tossed aside in favor of design freedom and the feeling that anything goes. When it comes to hanging lighting fixtures, however, some recommendations shouldn’t be ignored.
Most homes built 30 or more years ago, especially in older cities and neighborhoods, have 8-foot or 9-foot ceilings. In those settings, lighting professionals recommend hanging the dining room chandelier at a height where the bottom of the fixture is roughly 36 inches above the top of the table.
At that height range, you will have enough illumination to see everything on the table comfortably. If the chandelier is too low, it can obstruct the view and distract from an enjoyable dining experience, like a large decorative centerpiece that doesn’t allow you to see everyone at the table.
For homes with 10-foot ceilings, increase that amount of space between the bottom of the fixture and the tabletop to about 40 or 42 inches. Naturally, you’ll want to go a little bit higher still for a 12-foot ceiling.
While those are the general rules of thumb when it comes to hanging chandeliers in a dining space, some designers are willing to bend those rules depending on the size of the table or the size and shape of the chandelier.
There are also several new design trends for dining areas. Instead of one large relatively round chandelier over the center, designers are choosing to hang two medium-size pendants over the table instead.
Another trend is to select a linear fixture that more closely follows the shape of a longer, narrower dining table.
Before committing to a hanging length, have someone hold the fixture above the table at the different suggested lengths while someone else sits at the table to assess the situation. Is light causing any glare by being too bright? Is there actually enough light hitting the table surface?
Then, step back and see how the fixture looks while you are standing further away. Pay attention to the proportions. Does it seem too small, too big or just right?
Once you have taken these considerations into account, you can feel confident that you have found the right height for your dining space.
Read more light sizing advice in our Complete Light Sizing Guide!
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