Question: I have a new chandelier to install.
How high off the floor should it be? My room is narrow,
the chandelier is large with both candles and electric
lights and some crystal pendants. The ceiling is about 20
feet high at its highest triangular apex. I would also
like to cover the chandelier chain. I have the fabric but
cannot figure out a way of making the "tube" so that it
can be removed for cleaning without dismantling the
entire chandelier or affecting its "bunch-ability."
Answer: One of the most important details in
creating an inviting dining room is the lighting. While
candles are the most romantic and flattering light you
can use for dining, they don't necessarily answer all of
our lighting needs, especially since the dining table
isn't always used for romantic dinners.
Let's face it, a dining table is used for doing other
things like homework with the kids, craft projects and
meeting with people to do personal business.
So we'll start with the primary function of the dining
room - to share meals with family and friends. An
everyday meal with the family requires brighter lighting
than for an intimate, romantic dinner for two. The
solution: a chandelier with several lights that can take
on different dining and practical functions nicely,
especially when the wall switch has a dimmer control.
When dinner is more intimate or social with guests,
candlesticks placed on the table can be added for mood
lighting. Lower the intensity of the chandelier so it
gives off only a soft, warm glow that complements the
HOW HIGH, YOU ASK?
The correct height depends on several things: What is
the style of the chandelier? What is the style of the
room? And how high is the ceiling?
If it's traditional, contemporary or ultra-modern with
several arms and you can see through the piece, then
closer to the table is the best option, from 28 to 32
inches above the table. If the chandelier is a solid,
bowl style and you can't see through it, then it should
be slightly higher.
You can use a couple of easy tricks to help you
visualize the correct height for your chandelier. For the
bowl-style chandelier, there's a trick that makes me
smile at its image -- the umbrella trick. The average
bowl chandelier has a diameter of 24 to 36 inches and is
similar in size to an open umbrella. The trick: take your
umbrella, open it and hold it upside down over the dining
Once you find a height you like, measure how high
above the table the bottom of the umbrella is and that's
the height the bottom of your chandelier should be.
If your chandelier is open style, there's a trick for
you, too. Take two pieces of cardboard, approximately the
same length as the width of your chandelier at its widest
point (you might have to tape several pieces together
lengthwise). Hold both lengths of cardboard sideways and
cut a slot half way into each piece vertically. Now
insert the slots of the two pieces into each other and
fan it out to make an X out of the two pieces. This model
replicates the diameter of the open arms of your
The bottom of it should be at the height that's
comfortable when seated at the table. Remember to allow
for the decorative end of the chandelier.
CONSIDERING THE CHAIN
There is no easy trick for making a fabric sleeve that
hides the chain from the ceiling. When I made a sleeve on
a chandelier I had to move the table aside and stand on a
ladder to sew it onto the chain. I used a piece of fabric
that was twice the length of the chain and three times as
wide. Before climbing the ladder I hemmed both sides of
the length of fabric to make nice, clean edges.
Standing level with the bottom of the chain I started
with the part of the fabric that will be at the top but
worked with it on the bottom of the chain. Using a blind
running stitch to sew the two edges together, I pushed
the sewn fabric up the chain as I went. It wasn't as
difficult as it sounds, but my arms were tired when I was
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