Choosing Your New Chandelier

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Choosing the right chandelier for your foyer or dining room should be an organized process. You want to make sure it is a reflection of your attitudes and tastes. A chandelier adds style to a room, but is generally a poor light source. Keeping this in mind, here’s how to shop for a chandelier that works for your home.

Choose a chandelier that can hang at the right height when a table is centered beneath it. Consider both the chandelier and the room you’re lighting: if the chandelier has bare bulbs it will need to be hung high enough to avoid glare. Remember that a chandelier is more of a room decoration than a functional light fixture. It doesn’t need a large quantity of flame bulbs just because the room is big; let other lighting in the room appropriately supplement a more restrained chandelier. Avoid glare problems by buying a chandelier equipped with tiny shades (mini-shades) or adding tiny shades to bare candle-type lighting. You can also reduce glare by putting the fixture on a dimmer and then supplementing the room lighting with sconces, table lamps or recessed lighting.

If you want your chandelier to match the room closely, install up-to-the-minute mini-shades – they’re easy and relatively inexpensive to replace. Choose a chandelier that meshes with the mood and style of the other furnishings in the room: wall sconces, furniture, wallpaper, window treatments and other accessories. Try to keep metals in the room in finishes that harmonize.

Pay attention to scale. Bigger is usually better; too often a chandelier can look tiny. Remember that a chandelier is a dust magnet. Examine potential purchases for ease of cleaning and keep in mind that simpler designs are usually easier to clean. Determine whether a potential purchase uses specialty bulbs or standard bulbs. Specialty bulbs can be hard to find and/or expensive.

Proper attention to these details can make the difference between a chandelier you will love to look at in your home for years, or an eyesore that you prefer to avoid.