Inside: What’s the correct size light for each room and how high do you hang it? This lighting guide has all the answers for the perfect height for hanging chandeliers, kitchen pendants, sconces, and more, plus the best size for each room! ➡
We spend so much time researching, shopping, looking at photos, (and yes, sometimes overthinking) the fixtures and furniture we buy to decorate our homes.
But when we finally pull the trigger, they don’t look the way we pictured.
Because they are too big, too small, or we simply put them in the wrong place.
And if you’ve ever remodeled, you know the feeling of scrambling to find how high something should be hung because you hadn’t thought about it until you’re already standing there, hammer in hand.
I’ve learned these things too many times the hard way, so I’ve put together this handy dandy four part guide that you can always have at the ready to give you a good starting point!
I’ve even made a cheat sheet for you with all of the basic numbers from each post to print and keep on file.
What size light should I buy and where do I hang it?
This first part of the series is all about lighting – where to hang it and the best sizes for different areas.
Keep in mind this is just a placement guide, not set in stone rules. There are always exceptions depending on the style and layout of the room, the lighting fixtures you’re using, or what you’re hanging above.
And in the interest of style sometimes it pays to buck the rules. Because lighting is the jewelry of a room and can be a great place to make a design statement!
This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra charge to you. I only recommend products that I love or would purchase for myself. See my full disclosure here.
When it comes to lighting there are two things to take into consideration: size and placement.
Let’s take a look at both for chandeliers, kitchen pendants, sconces, and lamps!
What’s the best height for a chandelier over a dining table?
- 8-foot ceiling: 30-36 inches between the table surface and the bottom of the chandelier
- 9-foot ceiling: 33 – 39 inches between the table surface and the bottom of the chandelier
- 10-foot ceiling: 36 – 42 inches between the table surface and the bottom of the chandelier
Why the range? Depending on the visual weight, how large the fixture is, and what your room view is, it may need to be on the high or low end of the recommended range.
This industry recommendation is based on an 8-foot standard ceiling height. The basic rule is the chandelier should be raised 3 inches for each additional foot of ceiling height.
And when possible, the chandelier should be hung over the center of the dining table, not the center of the dining area.
What’s the best size chandelier over a dining table?
The right size chandelier should be 1/2 to 2/3 of the size of the dining table.
A chandelier any smaller than half of the table will look wimpy. Any larger and it will be overpowering. And people will bump their heads.
Another easy way to figure out how large you can go is to leave a foot of diameter all around between the outside of the chandelier and the outside of the table.
SH&H Tip: If you have an extra long dining table and want to use two chandeliers, the general rule of thumb is each should be a third of the table size.
I went as large as possible for the table in my breakfast area – just barely a foot diameter all around. But it’s an airy design that keeps it from looking too large or heavy.
What’s the right height for a chandelier in an open room or foyer?
- 8-foot high ceilings: 7 feet above the floor
- 9 to 12-foot tall ceilings: 7 ft. 6″ above the floor
- Two story ceilings and higher ceilings: The bottom of your light should be even with and no lower than the second story
How do I figure the chandelier size for a living room or foyer?
The Length + the Width of the room in feet = Chandelier Width in inches
The proper height of the chandelier is based on how tall the ceilings are and your personal preference of how much impact you want the fixture to have, so there’s no hard and fast rule here.
Go as tall as pleases your design aesthetic! Just remember to allow for room for the chain and canopy and keep the distance above the floor that’s recommended.
If you feel lost without some kind of guideline, designers figure 2 1/2 to 3 inches x each foot of ceiling height. For example, a 12-foot ceiling would have a chandelier 30-36″ tall.
What size chandelier should I hang over a bed?
The chandelier over a bed typically isn’t based on room size, but the area of the bed itself.
- For twin or full size beds, the chandelier diameter should be around 24 inches.
- For king sized beds, the chandelier diameter should be around 36 inches.
Where do I hang pendants over a kitchen island or peninsula?
- Height: 30-36″ from the kitchen counter to the bottom of the pendant.
- Distance between two pendants: Counter length divided by 4 = Distance from the end of counter to the center of each pendant
How many kitchen pendants should I use?
Dependent on the pendant. How large the pendant lights are, their visual weight, how long the island is, and your taste!
Unless you have small pendants or a very long island or peninsula, three pendants are usually not needed. Personally, I prefer the look of two pendants on the larger side to three smaller ones.
How large should kitchen pendants be?
The larger the kitchen island is and the higher the ceiling is, the larger you can go and vice versa. Just avoid going smaller than 10″ if you have a small island and low ceilings.
I love the look of statement pendants so I went extra large in my open concept kitchen that has 10 foot ceilings. I chose pendants that were oversized but don’t block the view with their open design. Their size would have been overwhelming if they had been a heavier or closed design. You can see my pendant lighting here.
What’s the correct height to hang sconces?
- Living Rooms, Entryways, and Hallways: 60-72″ from the floor to the center of the junction box
- Flanking a bathroom mirror: 60-65″ from the floor to the junction box
- Above a bathroom mirror or a window: 6 inches between the top of the item and the bottom of the sconce
- Above a counter: 60″ from the floor to the junction box and a minimum of 24″ above the counter
- Above bedroom nightstands: Center over bedside tables; 60″ from the floor to the junction box for a standard height bed or the bottom of the sconce shade even with eye level while sitting in bed. If it’s a shared bed, average the two heights.
I love using swing-out wall lamps over a bedside table – they save room, are adjustable, and look much cleaner!
In most cases, wall sconce placement is based on not being able to see up into the sconce. These guidelines place the sconces where this won’t be happening most of the time. That’s why these measurements are to the junction box instead of the bottom of the whole fixture because it’s directly behind the bulb on the sconce.
What size sconce should I buy?
The size of the sconce depends on the wall space area it will hang in, what it will be lighting, and how close you’ll stand to it. If you’re far away and it’s on a large wall, go larger than say, if you are lighting your bathroom vanity mirror to get ready.
What size lamp do I need?
Here are a few tips for choosing a lamp to avoid it looking strange in its surroundings. Keep in mind there is a lot of leeway for taste and design here.
- The table lamps shouldn’t be more than 1 1/2 times taller than the table they’re sitting on. A large, visually heavy piece of furniture requires a larger lamp; a table on the more petite side needs a smaller lamp.
- The bottom of the lampshade should be right at or just below eye level when seated next to it.
- The shade should not extend past the surface it is sitting to avoid knocking it over.
- The perfect size lampshade to lamp ratio should be about 2/3 of the height of the base or 40 percent shade and 60 percent lamp base.
- The perfect width for the shade is about the lamp base width at its widest point x 2. The lampshade’s bottom diameter should be within two inches of the lamp’s base length.
- The lampshade should cover the bulb socket and harp.
And what style lampshade looks best with the lamp?
- If your base is round, then a round shade usually looks best.
- A square or rectangular lamp works better with the same, repeating shape.
- When in doubt, an empire shaped shade is usually the safest bet for most lamps.
Getting new lighting is always exciting, right? Kind of like getting new jewelry, except for your house.
And you want this all important accessory to look good with its “outfit”.
Start with these standard recommendations and adjust from there using common sense and your best judgment and you’ll love your room’s new look!
In case you missed the other parts of my “Must-Have Measurements for the Home”, Part 2 was all about Bathroom Fixtures:
And don’t forget the free printable handy guide from all four parts is in the subscriber only library in the footer menu.
If you’re not already a subscriber, I hope that you’ll sign up so we don’t lose touch. I have lots of fun and useful freebies in the library you may be interested in!
As always, I appreciate your visit, comments, and shares here on the blog! I’d love it if you also follow along with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook so you won’t miss any of my inspiration and ideas.