Although a chandelier in the kitchen might sound a little unusual, it's actually a trend that is on the upswing. Chandeliers make an unexpected yet lovely and luxurious statement in the kitchen, whether they are hung as pendant lights over islands, over a breakfast table or in the middle of the room as the main source of lighting.
Over an Island, Bar or Countertop
When lighting kitchen islands, bars and countertops, hang two or three small chandeliers, treating them as you would pendant lights. According to the American Lighting Association's Joe Rey-Barreau, AIA, an architect and lighting designer, pendants look and work best when there is about 30 to 36 inches of space between the surface of the counter or bar and the bottom of the light. Islands and countertops are typically 36 inches tall, and bars are 40 to 42 inches tall, which puts the chandelier anywhere from 56 to 78 inches above the ground. Rey-Barreau recommends at least 72 inches for households with tall family members.
Over the Breakfast Table
A similar rule is applied to dining tables, with a distance of 30 to 34 inches recommended between the top surface of the table and the bottom of the chandelier. Pam Kueber of Retro Renovations suggests using this rule but also employing a friend to hold the chandelier at different levels above your table so that you can determine the height you like best. Hang it close enough to the table that it illuminates your dinner party but high enough that you can place a fairly tall flower arrangement and guests can make eye contact.
As General Lighting
If your chandelier will be hung as general overhead lighting in your kitchen, hang it at least 7 feet from the ground so that friends and family members can walk freely through your kitchen without hitting their heads on your chandelier.
Despite all the rules regarding chandeliers, there are a few "ifs" and "buts" to take into consideration. One is ceiling height. If your kitchen has high ceilings, experts recommend hanging your chandelier 3 inches higher for every foot of ceiling height above 8 feet. Another consideration is bowl-shaped shades. If your chandelier has bowl-shaped glass shades, hang your chandelier high enough that your guests can't see into the bowls in case they have collected dust and deceased bugs.
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