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Lighting Metrics

Published: 
Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lighting brings an otherwise perfect décor to life. But, unfortunately it is the element that many forget and is often the element that is cut if budget is an issue. Today we will explore some guidelines for lamps and chandeliers, for lighting is what gives a room dimension and intrigue. 

 

Chandelier Position 
In a dining room with an 8’ ceiling, the bottom of the chandelier should be approx. 30 – 34”above the table or about 5’ from the floor. If the ceiling is higher, the fixture can be mounted 3” higher for every foot over 8’. Hung too high you can be robbed of good lighting. Hung too low you can be plagued by glare or be obstructed. For additional decorative equity, consider using multiple-tiered fixtures.

 

 

Chandelier Size 
The diameter of the chandelier should be between ½ the size of the table or 12” smaller than the width of your table. Your chandelier should also have at least 4”of space from each wall. If your table is extra-long and narrow consider using more than one chandelier along the length of the table. Use a large chandelier to anchor a large space, while using wall sconces or lamps for ambient lighting. As a guide, add the length dimension of the room to the width (in feet). The result is the approximate size in inches for your chandelier. For example, in a 12’ x 16’ room, the recommended diameter of your chandelier is 28.”
• For a 10’ x 10’room use a chandelier 17” – 20”
• For a 12’ x 12’ room use a chandelier 26” – 27”
• For a 14’ x 14’ room use 24” – 36”

 

 

Lampshade size
The lampshade should be in proportion to the size of the table: bigger tables, bigger shades. The diameter of your lampshade should approximate the height from base to socket and the height should be about ¾ the height of the base. The bottom of the shade should be wider than the base. Lamp fire power. The size of your lampshade influences the wattage allowed: the higher the wattage the larger the shade. Leave a few inches clearance between the bulbs and the shade. 

 

• For 40 - 60 Watt incandescent bulb, leave at least 1 - 2 inches between the bulb and the shade
• For 75 - 100 Watt incandescent bulb, leave at least 2 -3 inches 
• For a 150 Watt or higher, leave 3 - 4 inches
• Fluorescent bulbs are cooler and therefore, needs just about 1-2 inches clearance.

 

 

Consider the Use
Reading lamps need a wider shade to provide plenty of light. For reading lamps, the bottom of the shade should be at around eyelevel to minimise glare. Your bulb should be at least 60 watts and we recommend that you fit it with a dimmer. If a lamp is being used for task lighting it should be bright enough and the more people needing to use it at the same time the wider the shade needs to be. With regards to height, as a rule of thumb:
• In a living room look for a lamp 26 - 34 inches tall.
• In the dining room the chandelier does the heavy lifting. For the sideboard look for a lamp 20 - 36 inches tall.
• A bedside lamp for a tall bed would not normally exceed around 30 inches tall.

 

 

Décor Realties 
• Select a lamp you are in love with.
• A lamp with a simple shape can have a shade with a more intricate design. 
• Select a shade that is compatible with the décor. Drum shapes are at home in transitional, contemporary and modern decors, for instance. Consider all other elements of the décor, such as, furniture, wall finishes, floor and window coverings.etc.
• The lamp’s hardware must never be seen at eye level
• A lampshade with more transparent material is better for reading and general illumination. Light will project from the top and bottom of denser shades.

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