Getting it Right

Not sure what’s wrong with your arrangement…except that it looks a bit “off”? Puzzled by exactly how to position your new chandelier? Experimenting is half the fun for discovering what looks best, but here are a few guidelines to help take some of the guesswork out of some common decorating dilemmas.

Arranging pictures

In general, artwork should be hung so that the center of the picture or grouping is around eye level. That’s between 58 and 62 inches from the floor. The largest picture will serve as an anchor for the eye in the center of the grouping. Here are some common arrangement approaches:

  • Block – Similarly shaped and sized pictures often look most effective in a simple block arrangement. Keep the gaps between the pictures even.
    Framework – Set your pictures within a well-defined shape, such as a rectangle or oval.
  • Row – For a horizontal row, range the top or bottom edge of your frames along an imaginary line. For horizontal, vertical or slanted rows, such as stairwells, display them with the centers on an imaginary straight line.
  • Test an arrangement by laying everything out on the floor. Cutting out sheets of newspaper to the size of your frames is even better because you can work with them easily on the ground, then tape them up on the wall to help you put nails in the right place.

Choosing a lamp shade

To assure that the lamp won’t look top or bottom heavy, use these proportions:

40% shade and 60% base
Base width x 2 = shade width

If the lamp base is round, then round shades usually look best. Square or angular bases go well with square shades.

Here are a few guides for shade selections:

  • A pleated shade compliments a traditional look
  • Smooth shades suit contemporary decor
  • Hardware should be hidden, such as the harp (the wire frame around the light bulb)
  • Translucent shades are great for reading and adding light
  • Opaque shades direct light dramatically and are good at setting a mood

Hanging a chandelier

Dining rooms – The aim is to position the chandelier low enough to create a focal point and provide light without interfering with the sight lines of people at the table.

  • For most ceilings, install the chandelier so it hangs 30 inches above the table (or around 34 inches for taller ceilings)
  • Choose a chandelier approximately one-half the table’s width
  • For a long table or room, two chandeliers or pendants might be a better choice
  • As a rule of thumb, make sure the chandelier is 12 inches narrower than the table to avoid bumping heads when rising from your seat
  • Install a dimmer switch to control light levels and set the atmosphere
  • Elaborate chandeliers take up more visual space, so you might want them to hang a few inches higher

Living rooms and bedrooms – For a quick estimate on what size chandelier you need, add the dimensions of the room. If the room is 12 feet by 14 feet, add those to get 26. The minimum diameter for your chandelier should be 26 inches. Add up to 6 inches if you have very high ceilings.