Tricks of the Trade: Scale in Lighting Design

Giving any room in your home a quick and easy update can be as simple as changing out a light fixture. It is a great was to infuse your unique style into a space, make a statement or create a dramatic new focal point in a room. When changing up your lighting design, be sure to keep the scale of the fixtures in mind.


Smart Use of Resources

With a wide variety of price points, a new chandelier or other fixture can be a cost-effective way to add some punch to your space. If you want something that’s a bit higher priced or need multiples (like pendants over a kitchen island), consider it a worthwhile investment in your home.

If your time is a precious commodity, installing new lighting is relatively quick. Most fixtures can be installed in about an hour and the change is often dramatic. Compared to painting a room (which can take hours or days!) it’s a time-efficient way to make a big impact.


Size Matters

When choosing a light fixture be sure to consider size. You want a fixture that is big enough for your space but not so large that it’s overwhelming.

For ambient lighting, measure the length and width of the room. Add them together and convert to inches. That gives you the ideal diameter for a light fixture in that room.  For example, for an 8’ by 10’ room, an 18-inch-wide fixture would be perfect.  (Here’s the math: Eight plus ten is 18.)

Pendants over a kitchen islandrustic_chandeliers_over_kitchen_island are a bit more involved, but still easy to calculate.  First, measure the length of your island. Then, for larger islands, it’s decision time: Do you prefer two or three pendants? If you go with three, the pendant size can be smaller.  If you go with a pair of pendants, they should be significantly larger.

After measuring the island, consider how much space is needed between each pendant. Usually, pendants are spaced about 30 inches apart. You can then calculate what size of pendants would fit above your island. Be sure to leave 6 inches of clearance on both ends of the island so none of your pendants hang over the edge.


Other Considerations

Usually, one single chandelier or pendant isn’t enough to light an entire room, so you want to include a combination of all three types of lighting (ambient, task and accent) such as table or floor lamps, bedside lamps, and task lighting above a sink or vanity.crystal_Chandelier_over_dining_table

Those lights also need to be appropriate in scale. Styles don’t need to necessarily match but should complement each other aesthetically. Many finishes and styles work well together, and you can take cues from the other design elements in your space as well.

Whether you want to do a whole room makeover or a simple update, starting with a new light fixture with some serious “WOW” factor is always a wonderful place to begin.




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