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Measuring for Lighting: Quick Tips

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

You've spent months carefully picking out and coordinating paint colors, furniture, flooring and lighting. Your place has been painted, the floors are in, furniture is being delivered and you're moving along, just like you'd planned; obviously, because you're amazing (and don't you forget it!)

Your electrician is here! You're installing the decorative lighting and WHAT. THE. HELL?! Its maybe this is something that belongs in The Coliseum, HUGE! Or oh Sh*t!! Its way too small. Panic sets in. Emails are sent. Boxes are repacked. Returns are facilitated. And the search for replacement pieces begins.

We all make mistakes. But before you beat yourself up and reorder, check out some of these tips on how to measure for lighting so you don't make the same mistake twice.

Living Room (Or Any Room) Chandelier:

Measure the length of the space

Measure the width of the space

Add the two figures together

Change "feet" to "inches"

This final number is the appropriate diameter for a chandelier in this space

The bottom of the chandelier should hang about 7' above the floor for average ceiling heights


Space is 10' x 20'

Add: 10'+20' = 30'

Change "feet" to "inches" = 30" Diameter

Over Table:

Fixture should be between 1/2 and 3/4 the diameter (or width) of the tabletop. If you have a 36" x 36" square or 36" round table, your fixture should be approximately 18"-27" in diameter. If your table is 48" x 60", your fixture should be somewhere between 24"-30". The bottom of the fixture should hang about 30"-36" above the table top.

Vanity Lighting:

A good rule of thumb here is to measure the width (or height, depending on your light fixture) of the medicine cabinet or mirror. The fixture should be about 3/4 the size and mounted 3" above the mirror or centrally between two mirrors

As with everything else in life, figuring out how to select the correct lighting will take some time, math (ugh!) and patience but it'll be worth it in the end! If you have some questions about something I didn't answer here, feel free to reach out!

Pro Tip: All of this is approximate. You can go a little larger or a smidge smaller if you absolutely love something. Keep in mind that drum style or lighting with solid shades will "feel" larger so err on the side of caution here. The cage lights we see all over, because they are so open, will feel smaller and more airy so I would up my size just a bit on these.

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