Common Questions/Design Tips
- Dining Room
- Bathroom & Powder Room
- Living/Great Room
- Table & Floor Lamp
- Ceiling Fan
- Dimmer Switch
- Wall Sconce
Effective lighting in a Dining Room should have the capability of setting a relaxing, romantic mood, as well as a festive, holiday mood. The tabletop should be highlighted and dimmers should be incorporated into your lighting plan. TIP: Small low voltage lights on either side of the dining chandelier, lighting art work, collectibles, and niches, using wall sconces, torchieres, and buffet lamps to add layers of light, all add up to a spectacular dining experience. For a real design statement, install a decorative ceiling medallion with your chandelier.
1. What size chandelier do I need for my dining room?
Deduct one foot from the width of a rectangular or square dining table and that would be an appropriate sized chandelier. Rooms with a high ceiling or that have a large round dining table can accommodate a larger chandelier to call attention to the setting.
2. How high do I hang the chandelier in my dining room?
Generally, hang chandeliers high enough so that diners can see each other across the table. For higher ceilings, raise the chandelier so that the chandelier, and not the chain, is the focal point. If your ceiling is 8 feet high the bottom of the chandelier should be 30 inches above the table. For a higher ceiling the chandelier may be raised 3 inches for every foot of ceiling height above 8 feet. For example for a 10 foot ceiling the proper height would be 36 inches (30+6).
3. What is the recommended wattage for my dining room chandelier?
For an arm chandelier, where the bulbs will be visible, 25 watts per socket would be adequate dining light and not too glaring. Shades can also be used to hide the bulbs, but you should not use over 40 watts per socket or the shades may burn. If you have a chandelier where the bulb is not visible, you can use the recommended maximum wattage for the fixture. Always install a dimmer switch in order to lower the lights for dining. Other ideas to bring elegance to your room is to add another layer of light by installing low voltage lights on either side of the chandelier, use wall sconces, buffet lamps, or torchieres.
The Foyer says “welcome” and sets a tone for the rest of your home. It should not be overlooked when deciding on new lighting. If it is a small area, a chandelier or wall sconces can provide enough light to make the transition from the outdoors into the home. If it is a larger area, the lighting can incorporate recessed or track fixtures, for instant drama. Tables can hold table lamps, columns can be flanked by torchieres, art on the walls can be lit, and plants can be highlighted with portable up lights. If there is a closet in your foyer, be sure there is enough light to see into it.
1. How high do I hang the chandelier in my foyer?
The bottom of the chandelier should be at least 8 feet above the floor. If the ceiling is very high the chandelier may be hung higher than 8 feet. If there is a window above the door through which the chandelier will be seen from the outside, the chandelier should be hung centered in relation to the window.
2. What size chandelier do I hang in the foyer?
A chandelier should be chosen based on the width of the foyer, the ceiling height and any architectural details, such as double doors, or a window above the door. A general rule is the chandelier width should be at least the same size in inches as the diagonal measurement of the room in feet.
Bathrooms today have become versatile multi-use rooms where lighting can be critical to enhance its use. Aside from adequate light at the vanities, don’t overlook lighting the tub area and any architectural features. Instead of the usual light over the bathtub water, (always have a licensed electrician do any electrical work in a bathroom. Electrical codes vary by location and safety should be the utmost concern in a bathroom) light the corners of the tub where you would place your objects d’art. Halogen lights will make your surfaces and objects sparkle, especially if they are marble or glass block. You can also light the toe kick areas of the vanity or the bath tub, to have a soft night-light type effect. Put the lights at the tub area on a separate dimmer switch for a relaxing soak in the tub.
The Powder Room offers an opportunity to get creative with your lighting. Since this area is not generally used for grooming, the lighting can be very dramatic. Try wall sconces on either side of the mirror or for a true design statement hang pendants. Light up a niche, or artwork, and if the sink or faucets are themselves a work of art, highlight it with a halogen narrow spot light from above. Remember that dark colors absorb light, so plan for more than you think you need and use a dimmer. Also, small rooms need more light than larger rooms as there are more walls and surfaces to absorb the light.
1. What is the best way to light my bathroom vanity area?
For shaving and putting on make-up, the best light should be even and shadow-free. To achieve this, light should come from above and both sides. Wall sconces should be at least 28 inches apart and centered 60 inches off of the floor. Of course, taller or shorter people can adjust this guideline. If there are no wall sconces being used, the fixture above the mirror should be at least 36 inches to light both sides of your face.
A bedroom is not only a place to sleep; it can be a refuge from the bustle of the rest of the house. There is also the need to see into dresser drawers and closets so don’t overlook layers of light by using overhead lighting – a ceiling fan or chandelier â€“ as well as table or floor lamps.
1. What size should my bedside table lamps be?
The size of the lamps should be comparable scale to the size of the headboard and end tables being used. For instance, small lamps will be “lost” next to a large, commanding headboard.
2. What other ways can I have bedside lighting?
Swing arm wall lights add a decorative element, and allow one person to read without disturbing the other. To avoid glare, install them so the shades are about 22 inches off of the mattress. Pendants, track, and recessed lighting are another way to add reading light and high style to your room.
Living Room or Great Room: These rooms are responsible for so many varied activities that the lighting plan should be flexible. Think of all the activities that you will do in the room and then add various levels of light. If there is a game table or pool table, supply over head light on a separate dimmer switch. Be sure any bar areas, bookcases, DVD/Video collections, or architectural features like fireplaces are not overlooked. Track or recessed lights, wall sconces, and floor and table lamps can all be utilized in this multi-purpose room.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house in regards to lighting. It is home to many activities, and needs task as well as general lighting. Your plan should include enough light to see into cabinets and pantries, adequate task lighting over sinks, countertops and islands, and light over a table for dining and family activities.
The possibilities are endless and can include chandeliers, wall sconces, under-cabinet lights, recessed or track lights, ceiling fans, and pendants. Soffits, ceilings, or toe kick areas of the cabinets or island can be lit for design style or as a soft light at night. Since there is an array of activities that take place in a kitchen, dimmers are a definite plus to your lighting plan. TIP: The darker the surfaces of the countertops, walls, and floors, the more wattage you need. Always plan for more light than you think you need and use dimmers or extra switches.
1. If I hang pendants above a kitchen island, how high should they be?
Pendants or fixtures that hang above the island or bar should be high enough so that all members of the household can look across the island or bar without their vision obstructed by the fixtures. Generally, the bottom of the pendant hangs at least six feet above the floor.
1. How much light do I need for reading?
Most people can read comfortably with 120 watts to 150 watts of light. If the lamp has a halogen bulb, fewer watts are required, due to the white color of the light. At age 50, most people need double the amount of light then they did before. The best reading light should come from the side or over your shoulder, and is best accomplished with table or floor lamps with wide lamp shades.
2. How tall should my floor lamp be?
The bottom of the lamp shade should be at eye level when you are sitting down. Generally this would be 38 to 42 inches from the floor if the lamp is beside you and up to 49 inches if the lamp is behind you. Lamp shades 15 inches wide or more supply the most ample light for reading.
3. What type of lighting is best at my desk area?
Small table or desk lamps will provide task light directly onto the desk without causing glare the way overhead lighting can.
4. Must my table lamps be the same?
No, as long as the height is the same and the colors and shapes blend with each other, two different lamps can add an element of surprise to your dÃ©cor.
5. What size should my table lamps be?
The table lamps must be comparable scale to the furnishings they are near. High sofa backs or arms call for larger size lamps. Also consider the size of the table they will be on. The width of the lamp shade should not be bigger than the table it is on.
6. What else should I consider when choosing table lamps?
Consider the purpose of the light. Is it purely decorative? If so, you can choose whatever style you love. If its purpose is mostly for a task, like reading, you must then consider the wattage (3-way 150 watt are good reading lights), and the size and color of the lamp shade. Wider shades (at least 15 inches diameter) allow an adequate amount of reading light to be available. White and beige shades allow the light to shine through. Dark or Black colored shades will contain the light and only allow the light to shine down onto the table.
1. How high should my ceiling fan hang?
To ensure air circulation, a ceiling fan should hang 8 or 9 feet above the floor. A longer down rod may be necessary to achieve this height. Fan manufactures have optional down rods to make this possible.
2. Can I hang a ceiling fan from a plastic junction box?
A ceiling fan must always be hung from a metal junction box. A plastic box will eventually crack with the vibration of a ceiling fan and can cause the fan to fall.
3. What size ceiling fan do I need?
For maximum efficiency choose a fan to fit the size of your room. For a small area, like a bathroom, choose a 29 to 42 inch blade span fan. For larger rooms choose fans 50 inches to 54 inches in total blade span. Generally, a 52 inch fan will cool most rooms efficiently. A fan should be comparable scale to the size of the room. For instance, very large rooms can use either multiple 50-54 inch fans, or one very large fan made for large areas.
4. If I hang a ceiling fan from a sloped ceiling will it hang straight?
If the slope of your ceiling is less than 30 degrees the fan will hang straight. Be sure that the placement of the fan on the slope will allow adequate room for the blades. A downrod of at least 18 inches usually takes care of this issue. Most manufacturers stock an optional sloped ceiling adapter for ceilings that have a steeper slope.
5. What size downrod do I need?
6. Which direction should a ceiling fan turn in the summer?
In the summer a ceiling fan should turn counter clockwise to create a breeze, and in the winter it should be set in the reverse position (clockwise) to circulate the hot air that rises back down to the floor area.
7. Can I use any ceiling fan outdoors?
A fan made specifically for outdoors should always be used. Outdoor ceiling fans have sealed motors to protect it from moisture and dirt, the blades are made of special all-weather material to prevent cracking and warping, and the fan will be labeled for “Damp Location”. Any added light kits must also be specifically for “Damp Location” use. If the fan will hang in a location where it might get wet, it must be a fan labeled “Wet Location”, and it pairs with a light kit specifically for “Wet Location” use.
1. Can I use a dimmer switch on low voltage lights?
Yes, you can use a dimmer switch on low voltage lights if you use an appropriate low voltage dimmer. Magnetic low voltage lights require a magnetic dimmer, and electronic low voltage lights require an electronic dimmer. Line voltage lights may also be dimmed with the low voltage lights if they are on the same switch. For instance, if you have a dining table chandelier and low voltage recessed on either side of it, they may all be dimmed with the low voltage dimmer. Low voltage lighting may be damaged if the dimmer used is not a low voltage dimmer.
2. When can I use a dimmer switch?
Most rooms benefit from dimmer switches. Dimming provides flexibility for different activities, enhances highlights in the room, and saves energy. For example, in the dining room, a dimmer allows for soft light for dining and bright light for reading or cleaning. Dimming a light only slightly will save energy and extend the life of your light bulbs.
1. If my chandelier is labeled for 5-40 watt bulbs can I use 60 watt bulbs in it?
If the manufacturer has labeled the chandelier at 40 watts, that is the maximum wattage to use. Any more wattage may cause a fire.
2. When installing my chandelier, do I need extra support at the junction box?
A chandelier weighing 50 lbs or more can not be safely hung from just the junction box. It should also be attached to a joist or beam.
3. What do I do if I need more chain?
In some cases we have listed the chain as an accessory item on the chandelier page. If you want to order any items not visible on our website please call our customer service department to order.
1. At what height are wall sconces installed?
Generally, wall sconces should be hung 72 inches off of the floor. If the ceiling is very high, sconces can be hung higher for a dramatic effect, or at the tops of pillars or beams to highlight architecture. If there are people taller than six feet in the house, the sconce should be hung high enough so the tallest person can not see into it.
2. What does ADA certified mean?
ADA certification is regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA dictates that if a light fixture is mounted on the wall above 27 inches and below 80 inches from the floor, it must not protrude more than 4 inches from the wall the light fixture is mounted on. ADA enforces this regulation in public facilities.