Maybe you’ve just moved into a new place, or maybe you’re finally doing some much-needed renovations. Or maybe you’re scratching your head over how to configure the lights in a service kitchen.
The right light fixture can make or break the layout of a room, and finding the right one can be daunting, whether it’s at home or a workplace. Luckily, there are some quick and easy ways to determine what size light works best for you. Keep on reading our expert tips from industry-leading lighting manufacturers for more!
What’s the Best Size for Me?
The three most important factors to keep in mind are scale, clearance, and spacing.
The scale of your lighting fixture refers to how it appears in relation to the other dimensions of your room. You don’t want a light that’s obviously too small, or one that takes up too much space.
In general, there’s a rule of thumb that can be used to determine the right diameter for ceiling fixtures.
First, measure the length and width of the room. Add the two measurements together, and then convert the total into inches. For example, if your room is 10 feet by 12 feet, the ceiling fixture should be 22 inches wide.
In some cases, you want to measure certain aspects of the room to make sure all the decor elements go together. If you’re installing a chandelier over a dining table, you want to measure the width of the table. Subtract 12 inches from the total width of the table to figure out how wide your chandelier or pendant should be.
How Much Clearance Do I Need?
If you hang your light, you’ll have to consider how much clearance you need. Depending on your space and needs, this is just as important as its scale. Many lighting manufacturers might even say it’s more important. Nobody wants to walk around work or home in constant fear of bumping their heads.
Think of all the spaces in your work and home where you walk underneath light fixtures – living rooms, bedrooms, and large, open hallways. For these spaces:
- A dining room chandelier should hang anywhere from 30 inches to 36 inches above the table. Remember: the fixture should be mounted above the middle of the table, not the middle of the room itself.
- For kitchen islands, center the chandelier in the middle of the island. If you’re hanging multiple pendant lights, place the lights 30 inches apart from each other along the width center line of the island. The bottom of the chandelier should also hang 30 to 26 inches above the countertop.
- Living rooms, bedrooms, and entryways should always have 7 feet of clearance between the bottom of the chandelier and the floor. If your ceiling is taller than 8 feet, mount the chandelier an additional 3 inches for every extra foot. If your entry way is more than one floor, the bottom of the fixture should hang at the same level as the top floor.
- Bathrooms should have fixtures hanging at least 8 feet above the highest point of the tub’s edge. Pay attention to strict building codes for wet environments, and remember a chandelier should be at least 3 feet from the edge of the tub or shower.
Find the Right Spacing
Now that we know how big our light is and how much clearance we need, we have to actually put it somewhere! When considering the spacing of your fixtures, keep in mind where other fixtures will be, as well as major pieces of furniture like dining room tables, kitchen islands, desks, and counters.
Professional lighting manufacturers recommend two main principles when installing lights above desks and tables:
- Square and round tables work best with single light fixtures right in the middle, like chandeliers and single pendants.
- Longer rectangular and oval tables tend to work best with multi-light pendants or linear suspension.
When hanging fixtures above desks and tables, the clearance you should aim for is about 3 ft. from the top of the table to the bottom of the light. Make you also have at least 6 inches from any side of the table!
Finally, let’s talk about that anchor of your kitchen—the island! Keep in mind that this can also apply to counter spaces in service kitchens, work benches, and really any large, immobile surface at home or work. If you’re hanging several pendants, make sure they’re all evenly spaced using these easy steps (they may sound a little like tax code, but we promise it’s easy!):
- Measure the length in inches. For example, 72 in.
- Next, decide how many pendants you want to hang, and determine their diameters. Add these up. We might want 2 pendant lights with a diameter of 9 in. each, giving us a total of 18 in.
- Now subtract this number from the total length of the island. In our example, 72-18 = 54.
- Now we’ll add an “imaginary” pendant—that is, we’re adding 1 to the number of pendants to account for the space between each other and the edges. Since we have 2 pendants, our new number is now 3.
- Divide the amount you were left with in step 3 by the number you have in step 4. This leaves us with 54 / 3, which is 18.
This will be the number of inches we want between our pendants.
Start Your New Project with RP Lighting + Fans
Starting a new project? With a wide variety of both residential and industrial fixtures, keep RP Lighting + Fans in mind during your planning process. With our huge variety and these straightforward steps, you’ll have the ideal fixture in no time!