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How to Choose the Right Size Indoor Lighting Fixtures

Upgrading your home’s indoor lighting fixtures has the potential to transform the look, feel, and livability of your space. However, not all lighting is created equal. One significant difference between light fixtures that can make or break their impact in your home? Size.

We've got good news, though. It’s possible to determine the ideal size for your interior lighting fixtures – even without professional design experience!

Here’s a closer look at why size matters when it comes to interior lighting, along with tips for getting it right.

Why Lighting Size Matters

We’re all familiar with the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” As the story’s heroine makes her way through the bears’ home, she struggles to find food, seating, and sleeping arrangements that are “just right.” Picking lighting for your home can often feel the same way. Choose a light fixture that’s too large, and it can overwhelm your space. Pick one that’s too small, and it will not only fall short in terms of functionality, but it may also fail to make an aesthetic impression. Ultimately, it’s all about balance – selecting the right lighting fixtures can pull together a room while simultaneously improving how you live in it.

Four Tips for Choosing the Right Lighting Size

The following designer-approved tips can be a useful resource when it comes to selecting interior lighting for your home:

1. Use Your Dining Table as a Guide for Overhead Lighting

Did you know that your dining table can be used as a guide for choosing the right size chandelier? Simply subtract 12 inches from the width of the table. For example, if your dining table is 40 inches wide, your fixture should be no more than 28 inches wide.

The size of the room also offers guidance. Your chandelier’s diameter (in inches) should equal the length of your dining room (in feet) measured diagonally from corner to corner. For example, if the room measures 25 feet diagonally, the chandelier should not be more than 30 inches in diameter.

2. Consider the Height & Diameter of Your Chandelier

When choosing a chandelier for your entryway, factor in both the height and diameter of the light fixture. Higher ceilings call for taller chandeliers. A commonly used formula states that each foot of ceiling height merits 2.5 to 3 inches of chandelier height. For example, a 10-foot ceiling requires a chandelier that is 25 to 30 inches in height.

To determine the ideal diameter, combine the height and width of the room (in feet). This is the recommended diameter of the chandelier (in inches) for the space. For example, if the room is 20-by-20 feet, the sum is 40 feet. In this case, the chandelier should be approximately 40 inches in diameter. This formula can also be used when selecting a different overhead light, such as a flush-mount or semi-flush mount ceiling fixture, for a large room, hallway, or bedroom.

3. Choose the Right Width for Bathroom Light Bars

Light bars are a popular type of lighting for bathrooms. Available in two-, three-, and four-light styles, the basic rule dictates that whichever you choose is no wider than the width of your vanity or cabinet. Selecting vanity bar lights that are 75 percent of the mirror’s total width is a foolproof way to get it right.

If you’re using sconces to supplement or replace bath bar lighting, the dimensions of the bathroom dictate the size of the fixture. For tiny bathrooms, sconces that are 12 inches tall or less are most suitable. Meanwhile, average size bathrooms call for pieces that are approximately 18 inches tall or slightly smaller. 

Have an especially large bathroom? Sconces that are 19 inches (or even taller!) may be most appropriate. 

4. Determine Your Island’s Dimensions Before Purchasing Pendant Lights

Kitchens require plenty of lighting, and pendants are a popular choice. These fixtures are ideal above islands, counters, and bars – both for the light they provide and their aesthetic contribution to the room. The number of pendants you need, as well as their size, is determined by several factors. These include island length, ceiling height, the desired amount of lighting, and preferred dramatic effect.

One trick used by lighting designers? Measure the length and width of your island, counter, or bar, then subtract 12 inches from both of these measurements. This ensures 6 inches of clearance. Then, add the remaining measurements together to get the approximate width allowable per pendant.

Meanwhile, to determine the number of pendants for the desired surface, subtract 12 inches from its length and divide by the desired diameter of your fixture. This number, divided by two, reveals the approximate number of pendants you can hang over your island, counter, or bar.

Find Stunning Lighting Fixtures for Your Entire Home at Fashion Light Center

Fashion Light Center, one of the leading lighting stores in CT, offers an extensive collection of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures. Our catalog includes top designers like Robert AbbeyRegina AndrewArnsberg, and many others.

For more interior lighting ideas or a professional consultation, contact us today.

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