Chandeliers

A touch of class to light up any room

It used to be that chandeliers were only for rich people; nowadays, however, they're found in almost any home. More than just a lighting fixture, a chandelier is an accent to your decor and may even be the centerpiece of your room design. Chandelier literally means "candle holder," but today, light bulbs generally take the place of candles.

Choosing a Chandelier

Chandeliers are found mostly in dining rooms or foyers. When you're choosing a chandelier, you should size your room first. A too-small chandelier won't light the room enough, and a too-large one will look out of place. Remember, the chandelier's lowest point should hang about 30 inches above a table.

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Also, choose a chandelier based on your home's decor. Though traditional crystal and brass chandeliers are still popular, this fixture has been adapted to suit just about any design style – there are even antler chandeliers for country dining rooms!

Styles of Chandeliers

Antique chandeliers will likely have a lot of glass prisms or candle holders; sometimes, they're made almost totally of brass. Wrought iron chandeliers are beautiful but can look clunky in the wrong room.

Contemporary decor should have an elegant light fixture to match. Contemporary chandeliers include spindly arms, glass light shades and lots of chrome or brushed metal.

Modern chandeliers tend to be chunkier and often have interesting, organic shapes to contrast with the stark lines of modern furniture. Simple colors and high shine are the mainstays of modern style, so these chandeliers are made of gleaming metal (usually chrome) or painted glossy black.

Conversely, rustic chandeliers eschew fancy finishes for a graceful simplicity that looks great in any country-themed room.

If you like the look of a chandelier but don't necessarily want it to dominate your room decor, a mini chandelier may be the answer. Mini chandeliers are available in most design styles but act more as an accent than a focal point.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Chandeliers

Aside from adding a touch of class to whatever room they're in, chandeliers provide uniform light and decrease glare on pictures, TVs and other reflective surfaces.

On the other hand, chandeliers aren't the right type of lighting fixture for every room, and they can be expensive and hard to clean. Crystal chandeliers, in particular, come with a higher installation cost, and their crystals are fragile and have a tendency to fall off. Getting replacement crystals can be tough, too.

The right chandelier can be a stylish, functional design element that adds value to your home. Carefully consider its placement and style, and it's guaranteed to brighten your decor.