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  2. Expert Tips for Lighting Your Home: Part 1 of 2

Expert Tips for Lighting Your Home: Part 1 of 2

This maybe stating the obvious, but your home can be brightened in different ways with the right choice of lighting. Strategically arranged track lights will focus attention on architectural features, art works and family photos. A chandelier, will add drama to your entrance way, and recessed lighting will give your kitchen a modern, organized look. Your options are almost endless, and you’ll enjoy your home even more when it’s lit just right.
According to Tommy Smythe, a designer from Toronto based House & Home, stresses the importance of lighting, or at least the fixture choice, by stating “Lighting will make or break a room. Switching out a boring light fixture for a more personality-driven alternative is one of the least disruptive, most effective ways to reinvigorate a room.”

How do I choose a lighting fixture for my dining room?

According to Wayfair, a furniture and home décor source, the size of the room and the size of the dining room table should be proportionate to that of the chandelier.  A small fixture will look dwarfed, while a too big chandelier can overpower a room.

Rob Ryche, owner and operator of Lights ON, in Kelowna, advises us that “Dining room lights should be reflective of the size of the table and the size and shape of the room.  If the table is rounded, then match it with a round chandelier.  If it is square or rectangle, then perhaps choose a linear or square piece to match.  Generally, dining room pieces are expressive pieces and do not have to match the other fixtures in the home.  It’s a good place to make a statement”.

In selecting the style, Kiersten Hincks, Manager of Pine Lighting, points out that the style should reflect the whole house’s feel.  “We don’t like to matchy match any lighting in the house these days, but we don’t want it to be drastically different in style either. If you use your dining room on a regular basis, then a statement piece is exactly what it should be.  We call it, lighting the jewelry of the home, and it finishes off a room.”

How do I determine the actual dimensions of the fixture?

For the height of a fixture, the rule of thumb is that the higher the ceiling, the longer the chandelier.  The recommendation is 2.5 inches/6.25cms of chandelier length for each foot of ceiling height.  In a standard 8 foot high room, this works out to 20-24/50-60cms inches in length.
For the diameter there is also a formula to determine the proper fixture width.  To do this, add the height and the width of the room together.  For example, if the room is 20 by 18 feet, the sum is 38 feet.  The approximate diameter of a chandelier in that area is 38 inches/95.3cms.

What about the actual placement of a chandelier with relation to a dining room table?

To start off, the chandelier should be centered over the dining room table or you can hang two smaller chandeliers over the table. The fixtures should be hung 30-36 inches/75-90cms above the table.  If the ceiling is more than 8 feet in height then the fixture should be hung 36-40 inches/90cms-1 meter over the table.
Rycke also advises us that “Unless you are trying to preserve a view, stay within that range.  If there is a significant view involved, then more consideration must be given to the fixture, including its style and finish (for instance, chrome and crystal tends to disappear, whereas colours interrupt the view).  It can be hung higher as well so that you don’t have to look through the fixture”.

What about other rooms in the house?

Since people move around a lot more in the living room, you will want to hang your fixture a little higher, around 7 feet from the floor, to keep people from hitting their heads.  Placing the fixture above the coffee table will prevent heads from bumping the chandelier while supplying light to illuminate food, drinks or remotes.
Lindsey Tetlock, a certified lighting specialist from Robinson Lighting, has some additional illumination recommendations.  “We recommend dimmer switches in most spaces.  You have control of the light for the task the room is being used for. Dim for ambient evening light or brighten for task lighting – all with the same fixture.”   Rycke suggests using 60-watt Edison nostalgic bulbs with a good dimmer to establish ambiance.  Note that nostalgic bulbs now come in LED versions that look remarkably good, use 1/5th the energy and will last virtually forever.

In Part Two of Expert Tips for Lighting Your Home, we will explore kitchen lighting and cover areas that span the classic lighting styles, the latest lighting trends and conclude with an overview of the our own Okanagan inspired lighting designs.

Hope you see the light about lighting

By Louise Lambert
Westside Weekly, July 22, 2016