For many, lighting is an afterthought in interior design. This happens when lighting is thought of only in practical, functional terms rather than something that enhances or completes the room’s aesthetics. Light fixtures are the jewelry of the space, and when done right, are the element that transforms an interior design from good to great.
A room can have many layers of lighting, but when discussing light fixture size, we’re talking about the ceiling light fixtures that create overhead statement pieces. Getting this element right in just about any room depends on three critical factors: scale, clearance, and spacing. Once you have that information, you’ll find plenty of modern ceiling light ideas you’ll love.
Scale: Diameter and Height
Begin by measuring the room’s height, length, and width. Keep these measurements handy.
To find the diameter of the light that is best for any room:
- Length x width
- Add the two amounts together
- Convert from feet to inches
- The result is the diameter of the light for that room
For instance, if a room is 10′ by 10′, 10+10 = 20, so the light should have a diameter of 20″.
To find the right height of the light best for any room:
- Height of the room
- Multiply by 2.5″ to 3″ per foot
- Change the value to inches
- The result is the ideal height the light for that room
For instance, if a ceiling is 8′ x 2.5′ to 3″ = 20-24 feet, so the light should be 20-24″.
For this hypothetical room, the light should be 20 inches wide and 20-24 inches tall.
Clearance: How High or How Low
How high to hang the light fixture – the clearance – depends on where the light is used. In living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms of open foyers, where people are likely to be walking under them, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Make sure there are seven feet between the floor and the bottom of the light
- For low ceilings, consider a flush mount
- In hallways and open foyers, install pendants or chandeliers at least six inches higher than the door.
Note for bathrooms:
If hung above the bathtub, make sure there are eight feet between the top of the tub and the bottom of the light. That can be difficult in small bathrooms. Consider a small pendant or chandelier or hang the light three feet away from the tub, but make sure there are seven feet of clearance.
Spacing: Where to Hang Lighting Fixtures
The spacing of ceiling lighting is also important, especially over dining room tables and kitchen islands. When choosing light fixtures to hang over the dining room table, take the size and shape of the table into consideration. When hanging pendant lighting over a kitchen island, make sure to keep the same amount of space around each pendant.
When it comes to design, lighting should play up or highlight by contrast the other elements of a room, such as finishes, color, shape, and style. Below are some ideas for modern lighting to spark your creativity.
The Right Lighting for Entryways
The entryway or foyer welcomes family and friends, giving them a taste of what to expect when they enter a home. Lighting that is stylish and functional is key to creating the right vibe in this area.
ED Ellen DeGeneres Jane Chandelier by Generation Lighting
This room features a soaring high ceiling, accentuated by the ED Ellen DeGeneres Jane Chandelier. The retro-inspired lighting draws the eye upward, creating even more drama and drawing attention up. The midnight black shade and burnished brass finish complement the clean design and muted color palette.
Fulton 22 Inch Cage Pendant by Hinkley Lighting
In this entryway filled with charming details, the Fulton 22 Inch Cage Pendant adds just the right touch. The open, airy shape reflects the light, bright design with subtle beachy vibes. The minimalist beauty of the lighting demonstrates that less is more with vintage industrial style.
The Right Lighting for Living Rooms
Living room ceiling lights serve two purposes: illumination and design. Choose lighting for this important room that is practical and expresses personality can make the home feel warm and inviting.
Blossom 36 Inch 20 Light LED Chandelier by Hammerton Studio
Who said a swanky chandelier was only for the dining room? The Blossom 36 Inch 20 Light LED Chandelier brings a ton of glam to any room, the living room included. The undulant blossoms of hand-blown glass reflect an organic aesthetic that radiates casual sophistication.
Pearson 60 Inch 20 Light Chandelier by Capital Lighting Fixture Company
For living rooms on the larger side, the light should be of appropriate scale. The eye-catching Pearson 60 Inch 20 Light Chandelier feels perfectly balanced in this living room. It illuminates open concept areas with its simple design and timeless beauty.
The Right Lighting for Kitchens
Whether the kitchen is large or small, good overhead lighting is critical for this multi-purpose area. This ambient lighting adds to the natural light that kitchens receive. An increasingly popular choice, pendant lights came into their own in the kitchen, and it’s easy to see why.
Mark D. Sikes Sphere No.2 Large Pendant by Hudson Valley Lighting
In what is becoming a classic configuration, three Mark D. Sikes Sphere No.2 Large Pendants bring practical functionality and subtle beauty to this kitchen. The timeless style completes the look of this space in a fun, modern way.
Glendale 20 Inch Cage Pendant by Hudson Valley Lighting
Featuring a traditional Sputnik-style lantern and open cage design, this pair of Glendale 20 Inch Cage Pendants evoke the look of an oversized fixture but don’t take up as much visual real estate. They offer the dramatic scale that makes a high-end statement but with a lighter look and feel.
The Right Lighting for Dining Rooms
Lighting for a dining room is often guided by the size and shape of the dining room table, but it doesn’t have to be. Scale and design can be deciding factors. While not the only light in this room, it is often the most noticed and makes the most significant impact.
Julie Neill Talia 33 Inch 8 Light Chandelier by Visual Comfort and Co.
In the room above, the chandelier is a decorative element that adds scale and interest. In a space that needs something eye-catching, Julie Neill Talia 33 Inch 8 Light Chandelier meets the challenge.
Calypso 30 Inch 6 Light Chandelier by Crystorama
The chandelier can reinforce a room’s design style or depart from it, depending on the look being created. In this room, the Calypso 30 Inch 6 Light Chandelier dresses up what would have been a more casual style and strays slighting from the clean lines of the furniture to bring in a hint of sparkle.
The Right Lighting for Bedrooms
Master bedroom chandeliers add a sophisticated element to the decor. They amp up the style while offering ambient lighting throughout the room.
Griffith 40 Inch 6 Light Chandelier by Arteriors Home
When looking for stunning bedroom lighting in a minimalist design, the Griffith 40 Inch 6 Light Chandelier is an ideal option. Its delicate nature is balanced with a severe bronze finish and elegant antique brass frame. The bronze plates face upward, providing diffused lighting and a warm, even glow. The features combine to make a statement without overpowering the design.
The Right Lighting for Bathrooms
Proper bathroom lighting can turn this mainly functional space into a spa-like sanctuary. This is a room that benefits from a bit of sparkle and romance.
Tilda 5 Light Mini Chandelier by Arteriors Home
Offering softly glowing illumination, the Tilda 5 Light Mini Chandelier is a great choice to give a bathroom spa vibes. Its gentle glow turns this private room into a luxurious sanctuary. Hang up the do not disturb sign and relax.