In his Room to Improve chronicle Tim McKeough of The New York Times tries to answer the question How high over my dining table should I hang the light fixture?
The usual answer in North America is that the end of the pendant should be 30 inches higher than the table top. But I find that that the suspended fixture is too low, especially if you host a lot of dinner parties.
Europeans seems to agree with my taste. At lunch, I was reading one of my favorite French home decor magazines. I share with you these fabulous dining rooms. These pictures, taken from Residences decoration magazine, tell the whole story. So I cannot resist sharing with you my interior design sensibility.
My chandelier proudly sits at 40 inches. I count in the final tiny decorative end piece. In fact, anything up to 42 inches is fine. I am lucky to have 11 foot ceiling. But the height of my ceiling does not explain why I hung my chandelier higher that the norm? The entire space and the desired ambiance were the key factors that let me determine the best height for the light fixture.
Putting the chandelier higher than the standardized 30 inches gives you more freedom when you dress up your table for a dinner party. When you sit at the table, the space feels more airy. Finally, your table looks its best when you have a gap of 12 to 15 inches between the higher element on your centerpieces and the light fixture.
A dimmer switch makes it simple to play with the light intensity and to create the right mood instantly. But reject any impulse to go higher than 42 inches because you will not be able to create a nice glow on your table, even with a dimmer.
Finally, I show you a modern, more casual dining room where the light fixture is installed at the 30 inches mark. You can see that you feel more enclosed when you sit at the table. For that apartment, the standard works wonderfully. Like I said before, it depends on the mood you wish to create. Form and function dictate how high to install your light fixture.