When most people first walk into a room, what do they notice?
Paint color, art, accessories, and furniture are the normal items most people observe. But why not the light fixture?! All too often when we put a room together, we neglect the most important item (at least to me): the item dangling in the middle of the room or floating above the table for all to see.
Lighting excites and enthralls me, almost to the point where I am constantly on the lookout for the best fixture for a space. The lighting we choose can ultimately pull a space together quietly or completely transform the room into a show-stopping feast for the eyes.
Lighting options are endless (maybe that’s what scares some people). From vintage to brand new, there are thousands of possibilities for every taste and budget. One thing I love about fixtures is their ability to effortlessly freshen up a room that’s in need of some updating. Changing (or adding) a light fixture may be all that’s necessary – just like a piece of art.
This may all sound fine and dandy, but where does one start?
First, decide on a room in which you want to make a change. This may sound like a “duh” comment, but the room you choose makes a huge difference when deciding on a fixture. In your dining room, go for a larger impact over the table and provide dinner guests some added drama. Simplicity and peacefulness are paramount in a family room. Lighting for a kitchen needs to be resourceful, but gorgeous. Each room choice makes a difference on the fixture.
Find Your Style
Once you decide on the room, it is important to find your style. What is it that you want your light to say? Don’t know what your style is? Start by looking at your options. Lamps Plus is a great place to start. The site carries a variety of looks (and prices), which makes it great for every type of decorator. Even if you do not see what you are looking for, perusing others’ designs will help you define what your own personal style will be. Also check out sites such as Pottery Barn, Rejuvenation, and Restoration Hardware. They may be above your price range, but will help you zero in on the look you want to achieve! Many times you can achieve a Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware look with vintage items or by looking at the sale aisles at Home Goods.
Ralph Lauren Home Collection fixture on sale at TJ Maxx for $45.00!
A Little TLC
You many not feel entirely comfortable, but many times I wire my own fixtures that I find cheap in thrift stores. Sometimes all a fixture needs is spray paint and wire.
For instance, this was an ugly brass fixture. The original glass dome was broken so I scored it for just $1. I painted it black and found a shade to attach. With a small amount of effort, I achieved the look I was hoping for!
Hang It Up
Once you have found your fixture, hanging it is important. Once you feel comfortable, changing fixtures will seem so easy.
Note: If you do not feel comfortable, hire a professional. Or check out an informative guide here.
Let’s Talk Numbers
So how far off the ground do hanging lights need to be?
- For a dining room fixture suspended above a table, the standard in 30’’ from the bottom of the fixture to the table (assuming a standard 30’’ table).
- In an entry or any standard room, you should leave at least 7’ from the floor to the fixture.
- If you are placing the fixture in over your kitchen island, suspend the fixture 6’ from the floor.
You never want to hang a fixture too low or too high. Either predicament can look awkward, so measure and re-measure! You may need to adjust the light’s chain accordingly.
Start dreaming, gathering ideas and defining your style. Life is short; enjoy the surroundings of your home in all of its well-lit glory!