When it comes to lighting, style isn’t the only thing that matters; scale is also incredibly important. When choosing a new lighting fixture, be sure to pay attention to how the new fixture will work with the proportions of its surroundings. If you select lighting based on style alone, you risk it looking out of place with the rest of the space. Whether you’re installing a new pendant, wall sconce, flushmount, or simply placing a table lamp or floor lamp, we’ve got you covered. Read on for all the tips you need to choose the right size and scale of lighting in any room.
Size and Height of the Room
One of the first things to consider when selecting lighting fixtures for a space is the size and height of the room. For larger rooms with high ceilings, be sure to fill the space with larger lighting fixtures. And if you’re lucky enough to have a vaulted ceiling? They typically allow for larger and more dramatic hanging fixtures to really show off the unique scale of the space.
Always Consider Eye Level
Another important consideration around lighting scale is your eye level. When sitting on a sofa or chair, or even sitting up reading in bed, you want the light from a nearby floor or table lamp to hit at the right height. To achieve this, the bottom of the lamp shade should hit at or just below eye level to avoid an irritable glare. Before shopping, sit on the sofa, chair, or bed you’d like to place the lamp next to, and measure the distance from the floor or table to your eye level to ensure you find the right fit.
Lamps and Side Tables
Consider the size and scale of your table before deciding on the style of lighting to pair it with. A small side table has limited surface space, so try a floor lamp to conserve space on the table for drinks, decor, and books. For larger side tables, you can use a table lamp and still have enough room for these items. As a general guideline, choose a lamp that is no taller than 1.5 times of the table, and a lampshade diameter that is no larger than the table’s surface.
Brian’s Tip: Floor lamps are great behind sofas where you don’t have room for end tables, or if you have very small tables.
Lighting Over a Dining Table
For ceiling pendants and chandeliers over a formal dining table, kitchen island, or breakfast nook, always take the length of the table into consideration. A longer table can support a larger, linear chandelier or multiple fixtures. While a small table will likely work best with one smaller chandelier or pendant. Choose fixtures that are two thirds to three quarters of the width or diameter of the table, and be sure to keep roughly half a foot of clearance from the fixture to the edge of the table to avoid any bumped heads. Centre the chandelier or pendant over the table or island. If you’re using multiple fixtures, space the lights evenly above the surface.
For more tips on lighting and scale, watch Brian Gluckstein on Cityline below:
Photography by Kim Jeffery (1, 3), A Plus Creative (2)