Does the placement of lighting in your kitchen, dining area, and living room matter? You bet it does, and as you may surmise, based upon our business model, we know the ins and outs when it comes to the best lighting placements throughout your home. In this first part, we are going to walk you through your kitchen, dining area, and living room, providing you with industry standards and guidelines for placing and installing your lights, especially chandeliers. So get your tape measure and notepad ready, and let's get rolling!

Your Ultimate Lighting Guide - The Kitchen

Yes, your kitchen is food preparation central, but more often than not it serves multiple purposes, including casual chatting and snack grabbing. Regardless of the situation, having appropriate lighting in each section of the kitchen is crucial for those desiring an optimal food preparation environment, as well as those who enjoy reading the paper with their morning coffee.

Lighting Over Kitchen Islands

There are lots of advantages to having a kitchen island installed, as it can offer additional storage for pots, pans, and other utensils, sport extra appliances and outlets, be populated with tall chairs for coffee klatches or where kids can do homework, and function as a valuable extra and sturdy workspace. In all of these cases, good lighting and proper placement is a must, especially for food preparation.

When providing overhead lighting for kitchen islands, you can opt for a series of pendant lights spanning the length of the island or instead choose a single fixture; in the instance of single fixture lighting, plan for a fixture which spans about 2/3 the length of the island, while multiple pendants typically allow for about 30 to 32 inch distances between each of them and should hang approximately 6 inches in from the edges of the island. You can also opt for chandeliers which are not flush to ceiling, but be sure to provide for a minimum of 2 1/2 feet (preferably 3 feet or more) from the top of the island counter to the bottom of the hanging pendant.

For most kitchen areas, you want clear and bright lighting; this means you don't need to install dimmers to control lighting, but rather should have multiple fixtures which brighten the most important and active areas of the kitchen.

Your Ultimate Lighting Guide - The Dining Space

When illuminating dining rooms, you have a lot of space with which to work, since the furnishings for this particular area tend to be limited to tables, chairs, and perhaps some side serving tables or small cabinets. It's also important to employ lights with dimming capabilities, as there are many moods you will want to create, depending upon the number and personalities of the attendees: smaller gatherings call for more intimate settings, which in turn requires a minimum of overhead light to gently accentuate the candlelit table setting, whereas larger and more festive groups thrive better in the shimmering energy of a brightly lit dining area.

Dining Space Chandelier Selection and Placement

A natural and popular choice for overhead lighting in your dining space is a chandelier; with the broad variety of chandelier selections now available, finding a hanging light fixture which expresses your own taste and style is assured, but be certain to work within appropriate parameters, so you end up with a chandelier which is neither too large nor too small for your space.

If your home has a typical dining area, you are likely working with a ceiling 8 feet high: in such a situation, you want your chandelier to have at least a 2 1/2 to 3 foot (30 to 36 inches) clearance from the bottom of the chandelier to the top of the dining table. For dining spaces with higher ceilings, the chandelier can be raised about 3 inches for each extra foot of height beyond 8 feet; for example, a 9-foot-high ceiling can allow for clearance of 33 to 39 inches, while a 10-foot-high ceiling could accommodate a clearance of 3 to 3 1/2 feet (36 to 42 inches).

Of course, accenting your overhead lighting with selected floor lamps can emphasize an area, but less is better when it comes to floor lamps for the dining space; one, perhaps two floor lamps at the maximum, placed in selected quiet sections may provide an aesthetic glow and presence which fills an otherwise empty or drab spot. 

Your Ultimate Lighting Guide - The Living Room

Usually the largest and most regularly populated space in the home, your living room deserves extra attention to ensure that you have adequately addressed your lighting demands and properly answered those needs. Although not common, many people are now considering the inclusion of a chandelier in the center of the ceiling; if opting out of this growing trend, overhead lighting is still a viable and logical addition for illuminating your living room area. Of course, a selective placement of table and floor lamps is also appreciated, and gives you more options when it comes to spotlighting certain areas in the living room while leaving less bright spots for those sections which function better in low light, such as when playing games or watching movies and shows. Use of dimmers for all lights in your living room area is often appropriate, giving you more control over the intensity and brightness of each light source.

Living Room Chandelier Selection and Placement

Unlike your dining area, where the chandelier is hovering above your dining table, it's not unusual for a living room chandelier to be more free-floating, instead of hanging above the main furniture item. Because of this major difference, you can hang your living room chandelier higher to allow for a broader spread of illumination: for instance, if your living room ceiling is 8 feet high, allow at least 7 feet between the floor and the bottom of the chandelier. If the height of your living room ceiling runs 10 feet or more, add on an extra 3 inches for each extra foot of ceiling height (i.e., for a 10-foot ceiling height, account for a range of 7 feet, 6 inches or more, and 7 feet, 9 inches for an 11-foot-high ceiling).

Because living rooms are typically larger than dining spaces, you have a larger "canvas" with which to work and arrange your overhead lighting. This may result in a stunning centerpiece chandelier, with pendants radiating away from the chandelier, or a series of chandeliers tastefully situated to illuminate the entire living room area.

Remember, you have been provided guidelines, not hard and fast rules; granted, no one wants a chandelier in their face while enjoying a meal, but besides this strong recommendation to assure that your chandeliers are well out of company view, let your imagination and creativity fly. Also keep in mind that when it comes to lighting all areas of your home, we are not only your lighting specialists, but we are also lighting enthusiasts!, so please contact us to share your ideas and desires, or to just ask us questions about lighting products, installation procedures, and anything else you think can light up your life!