TIPS & TRICKS

How low to hang your light fixture

Lighting can totally change the feel of a room. We'll dive into your lighting options and how low to hang them.

A pendant light or chandelier can make a big difference to the feel of a room. Depending on what you're going for, light fixtures can make a room feel more cozy, show stopping or modern.

What can distract from this focal point, though, is improper spacing that draws the eye in the wrong direction or even becomes a hazard. Let's face it, nobody wants to hit their head on a chandelier while walking by!

Once you’ve chosen your light fixture, figuring out how low to hang it is just a matter of logistics. Let’s dive into the lighting options and how low you should hang them:

Pendant lights

A pendant light hangs from the ceiling, often with just one bulb. Pendant lights could be used as both a design statement and extra lighting for the room, but aren’t usually the primary source of light. Typically hung over a sink, island or peninsula in a kitchen, they can act as task lighting for food prep or additional ambient lighting depending on the style and material. They come in a variety of materials, such as fabric, glass, metal, and more.

As a general rule, the bottom of the pendant shade should hang between 30 - 36 inches above your table or countertop. That allows enough room to maneuver around and keep a comfortable sightline, like being able to talk to a friend across the island while cooking.

If you’re hanging multiple pendant lights in a row, the design rules are a little more loose and depend largely on personal preference, the size of the pendant and the overall length of your island or peninsula. However, design experts say the spacing between the pendants should be at least the same distance as the diameter of the pendant itself. For example, if your pendant is 12 inches wide, there should be at least a 12-inch spacing between each pendant.

Tip: Hang a balloon on a piece of string and tack it to the ceiling at your desired height to get a visual of how the pendant will look before committing.  

Chandeliers

Chandeliers come in all shapes and sizes, from simple to intricately ornate. Chandeliers feature multiple lamps, often in multiple tiers, and are used for ambient lighting. While most commonly used in the dining room, chandeliers can be used to create a statement in any room such as the living room, bedroom, and patio. Figuring out how low they should hang depends on where they’re being used.

As a general rule, there should be at least 84 inches of space between the bottom of the pendant and the floor, and there should be at least 48 inches between the fixture and walls or obstacles like doorways.

In a hallway or entryway especially, take extra caution to make sure the chandelier won’t hang so low that it can cause issues with opening doors or furniture, and that there’s enough clearance to comfortably walk underneath.

In a dining room, use the same 30 to 36-inch rule as hanging a pendant over an island, leaving that amount of space between the dining table and the bottom of the chandelier. Keep in mind, though, that lower-hanging lights traditionally indicate a more formal dining room.

Tip: For a more laid-back, conversational feel, you could consider raising the height of the pendant to between 78 and 84 inches from the floor to the bottom of the pendant.

Once you pick out your lighting fixture, we've made it easy for you to DIY any hanging project.

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