Sizing Light Fixtures
Helpful advice for calculating proportional decorative lighting based on a room's dimensions.
 
Indirect LED lighting adds an ambient layer to help keep this decorative fixture from visually overpowering the space.
What is the rule of thumb for determining the size of a chandelier or pendant fixture for a given space? I have a 25-by-30-foot area over a stairwell and I don't want too large or too small a fixture. If you could help me out, it would make me very happy.

Just think of me as verbal Prozac. Try this formula: Add the dimensions of the width and length of the foyer area together. This number will be the measurement in inches what the width of your fixture should be. Based on the dimensions that you have given me, I think you should be looking at a chandelier that is 55 inches in diameter. The length will be a little bit harder to determine, as it depends on the ceiling height. Taller ceilings can take longer fixtures. Somebody in your family or your contractor could make a mock-up out of wooden dowels and strings to get a feel for what the fixture would look like in the space.

Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

This was very helpful!!! And

This was very helpful!!! And it is information that is extremely difficult to find on the internet. I am decorating my home myself due to interior designers not responding to my inquiries (amazing to me the lack of courtesy). I have a good design sense with the big decisions, but struggle to finish the details. And this type of rule of thumb is just what I need to know to find the light for my stairs in the proper scale. Thank you!!! Mary

Latest from ask randall

This is a little bit of a challenging situation. You want to have a fixture that you can’t look inside of easily — we don’t want to see the bulbs... read full story
Yes. All I would do is take a picture of the fixture showing the labels attached as a backup. It just like the tag on your mattress — once you have... read full story
I keep thinking about your statement “very little wall space.” You have 20-foot ceilings, which means you have four 20-foot-high walls. In my mind, I... read full story
This is an interesting piece of information with which you have been presented. I don’t think that CRI has much to do with the amount of reflectance... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Emerson and Legrand. Wednesday, August 10 at 2 p.m. EDT Register for this free CEU webinar here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW) 1.0... read full story
This webinar has already taken place, but you can still watch it on demand by registering here. Webinar Overview:Learning units:AIA/CES LU (HSW) 1.0 Learning UnitIDCEC (IIDA/... read full story
Sponsored by Emerson and Kuzco Lighting. This free CEU webinar has already taken place, but you can still watch it on demand by clicking here. Webinar Overview:Learning units... read full story

RL Tweets!

E-mail Subscriptions