At Masterpiece Lighting in Atlanta and Roswell, we want to provide each customer with the solutions he or she needs for new home or commercial lighting. If you have questions or need tips on how to best place or install your new fixtures, read through our FAQ page below. If you still have questions, we’ll be more than happy to help!

Common Questions/Design Tips

Dining Room

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, track lighting for artwork, collectibles, and niches, and wall sconces, torchieres, and buffet lamps to add layers of light will 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, not the chain, is the focal point. If your ceiling is eight feet high, the bottom of the chandelier should be 30 inches above the table. For a higher ceiling, the chandelier may be raised three inches for every foot of ceiling height above eight feet. For example, the proper height for a 10-foot ceiling 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 provide adequate dining light without being 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 that perfect ambiance. 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, or by using wall sconces, buffet lamps, or torchieres. Keep in mind, watts and lumens are not the same, and a low-wattage bulb may still provide plenty of illumination.

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Foyer

The foyer of your home says “welcome” and sets a tone for the rest of the house. 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 outside into the home. If it’s a larger area, the lighting can incorporate recessed or track fixtures for instant drama. Tables can hold 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 eight feet above the floor. If the ceiling is very high, the chandelier may be hung higher than eight feet. If there is a window above the door through which the chandelier will be seen from the outside, the fixture should be 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 transom window above the door. A general rule is that the chandelier width should be at least the same size in inches as the diagonal measurement of the room in feet.

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Bathroom & Powder Room

Bathrooms

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, light the corners of the tub where you would place your objets d’art.

1. What’s the best way to install my bathroom lighting?
It’s always important to have a licensed electrician perform any electrical work in a bathroom. Electrical codes vary by location and safety should always be the utmost concern in a bathroom.

2. Which bulbs are best in the bathroom?
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 bathtub to add 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.

Powder Room

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 hang pendants for a true design statement. Light up a niche or artwork, and if the sink and faucet are themselves a work of art, highlight them with a halogen narrow spot light from above. Remember that dark colors absorb light, so plan for more fixtures than you think you need, and always use a dimmer. Also, smaller rooms need more light than larger rooms, as the walls and surfaces are closer to the light, and will absorb more of the illumination.

3. 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 wide to light both sides of your face.

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Bedroom

A bedroom is not only a place to sleep – it can also be a refuge from the bustle of the rest of the house. There is always the need to see into dresser drawers and closets, so don’t overlook layers of light by using overhead lighting, such as a ceiling fan or chandelier, as well as table and floor lamps.

1. What size should my bedside table lamps be?
The size of the lamps should be comparable in scale to the size of the headboard and bedside tables being used. For instance, small lamps can become “lost” next to a large, commanding headboard.

2. What other ways can I add 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.

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Living Room/Great Room

The living room or great room is 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.

1. How do I light a game area or pool table?
If there is a game area or pool table, supply overhead light on a separate dimmer switch. Be sure that any bar areas, bookcases, movie collections, and 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.

2. How do I light seating areas?
For your seating areas, make sure there is plenty of light so that people can see when they sit down. If people are sitting down and talking, provide light with a floor lamp next to the couch, and table lamps on the end tables. The overhead fixtures should provide enough ambient light, but the lamps are key to the perfect accent lighting.

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Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house with regard to lighting. It is home to many activities, and needs the right 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.

1. What fixtures are best for the kitchen?
The possibilities are endless and can include chandeliers, wall sconces, under-cabinet lights, recessed or track lights, ceiling fans, and pendants. Soffits, ceilings, toe kick areas of the cabinets or island can all 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 lumens you’ll need. Always plan for more light than you think you need, and use dimmers or extra switches for precise lighting control.

2. 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.

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Table & Floor Lamps

Table and floor lamps can provide excellent accent lighting throughout the house, and they can be the most versatile form of illumination.

1. How much light do I need for reading?
Most people can read comfortably with 120 watts to 150 watts of light (keep in mind that watts and lumens are different, so that you may have a low-wattage bulb with high-lumen output). 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 than 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 or wider supply the most ample light for reading

3. What type of lighting is best for my desk area?
Small table or desk lamps will provide task light directly onto the work surface without causing glare the way that overhead lighting can.

4. Do my table lamps all need to 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 décor.

5. What size should my table lamps be?
The table lamps must be comparable in scale to the furnishings they are near. High sofa backs or arms call for larger 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 that the lamp 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, then you must consider the wattage (three-way 150 watt are good reading lights), the lumens, and the size and color of the lamp shade. Wider shades (at least 15 inches in diameter) allow an adequate amount of reading light. White and beige shades allow the light to shine through. Black or dark-colored shades will contain the light and only allow the light to shine down onto the table.

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Ceiling Fans

A ceiling fan can be the perfect focal point for a living room or family room, and they help keep your house cool on those warm summer days.

1. How high should I hang my ceiling fan?
To ensure proper air circulation, a ceiling fan should hang eight to nine feet above the floor. A longer downrod may be necessary to achieve this height. Fan manufacturers offer a variety of downrods 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 due to the vibration of a ceiling fan, and this could 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 fan with a 29- to 42-inch blade span. For larger rooms, choose fans with 50 to 54 inches in total blade span. Generally, a 52-inch fan will cool most rooms efficiently. A fan should be comparable in scale to the size of the room. For instance, very large rooms can use either multiple 50 to 54 inch fans, or one very large fan that’s made for bigger 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?

The size of downrod you’ll need for your ceiling fan will vary based on the height of the ceiling. If your ceiling is eight feet high, you can install a hugger fan without a downrod and still have plenty of clearance below the fixture. For ceilings that are higher than nine feet, you’ll need a three- to six-inch downrod. For every foot of height above nine feet, add six inches to the downrod. For example, a 10-foot ceiling would require your fan to have a 12-inch downrod, and an 11-foot ceiling would call for an 18-inch downrod.

6. Which direction should a ceiling fan turn in the summer?
In the summer, a ceiling fan should turn counterclockwise to create a breeze. 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?
No. A fan that’s specifically made for the outdoors should always be used. Outdoor ceiling fans have sealed motors to protect against moisture and dirt, the blades are made of special all-weather material to prevent cracking and warping, and the fan will be labeled for a “Damp Location.” Any added light kits must also be specifically rated for “Damp Location” use. If the fan will hang in a location where it might get wet, it must be labeled “Wet Location,” and it pairs with a light kit specifically for “Wet Location” use.

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Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches provide precise control over your lights, and installing them can help make your home lighting more versatile and dramatic.

1. Can I use a dimmer switch on low voltage lights?
Yes, you can use a dimmer switch on low voltage lights, but only 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 lights on either side of it, they may all be dimmed with the low voltage dimmer. Low voltage lighting may be damaged if the dimmer that’s used is not a low voltage dimmer.

2. When can I use a dimmer switch?
Most rooms can 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 can save energy and may extend the life of your light bulbs.

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Chandeliers

A chandelier can be a beautiful addition to many spaces, including the foyer, dining room, and great room. Finding the right one doesn’t have to be difficult, and once it’s installed, you’ll love how it looks.

1. If my chandelier is labeled for 5 to 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 pounds or more cannot 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 that aren’t visible on our website, please call our customer service department to order. It’s important to be sure that your chandelier has plenty of chain so that it can hang at the appropriate height.

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Wall Sconces

Wall sconces can provide the perfect accent or ambient lighting in a foyer, hallway, bathroom, and more. They can supply light that’s focused upward, downward, or that creates a “wash” on a vertical surface.

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’t 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 four inches from the wall that the light fixture is mounted on. ADA enforces this regulation in all public facilities.

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At Masterpiece, we want every customer to enjoy a pleasant shopping experience when looking for new lighting, and we’re always here to answer any questions you may have. If you didn’t find the answer to your question here, feel free to visit one of our showrooms or contact us at any time.

We look forward to helping you!