How to Install a Chandelier and Dimmer Switch
By: Danny Lipford
Replacing a dated light fixture with a beautiful ceiling medallion and chandelier is a great way to improve the look of a room. Adding a dimmer switch is a perfect way to control the level of lighting when entertaining.
There are several methods of determining the proper size of a chandelier:
- Room Size: The length and width of the room added together in feet should equal the diameter of the chandelier in inches. Example: a 12′ by 12′ room should have a 24″ diameter chandelier (12 + 12 = 24″).
- Table Size: In a dining room, the diameter of a chandelier should be at least half the width of the table. Example: a 42″ wide table should have a 21″ minimum diameter chandelier (42″ ÷ 2 = 21″). Another method is to make the diameter of the chandelier no larger than the width of the table minus 12″. Example: a 42″ wide table should have a maximum 30″ diameter chandelier (42″ – 12″ = 30″).
The height of the chandelier is based on the ceiling height and location:
- Entry Hall: The lowest point of a chandelier should be a minimum of 6½’ from the floor. If possible, or with higher ceilings, hang it 7′ from the floor.
- Dining Table: The bottom of a chandelier should be at least 30″ above the dining table (59″-62″ from floor). For ceilings higher than 8′, add 3″ for each additional foot of ceiling height. Example: With a 10′ ceiling, the bottom of the chandelier should be approximately 36″ above the top of the table.
Hanging a Chandelier
- Start by determining the height of the chandelier.
- Next, cut the support chain to length, leaving the electrical wire about 6” longer.
- Turn the power to the light off at the circuit breaker box and remove the old ceiling fixture.
- Run the wires through the trim ring and ceiling medallion, then through the hollow threaded tube in the center of the ceiling box.
- Attach the wires to the house wiring using wire nuts.
- Push the medallion and trim ring up against the ceiling, screw on the lock nut, and attach the chain.
Installing a Dimmer Switch
- Select a dimmer switch that has a rated capacity high enough to handle the combined wattage of all the bulbs in the chandelier added together.
- Turn the power off to the fixture at the breaker.
- Remove the cover and existing switch.
- Attach the dimmer to the wires using wire nuts.
- Fit the wires back in the box, and screw the switch to it.
- Replace the cover and turn on the power.
For more on different types of lighting for your home, see our article
Interior Lighting: Adding a Pleasant Atmosphere.