Light Conversation — Choosing a Chandelier


To Shade or Not to Shade 0

Should you put clip-on shades on your chandelier or sconce?

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to add fabric shades to your fixtures.  I am addressing crystal fixtures specifically, but many of the same ideas can be applied to other types of lighting.

One of the greatest things about adding shades to crystal chandeliers is that it softens the light.  And, if the shades have white linings, the bulbs will reflect off that fabric and back into all the crystals.  It really is quite stunning.


You can see in the photos above how the chandelier itself is lit by the way the shades push the light from the bulbs down onto the chandelier arms and prisms.  

A few things to be aware of when purchasing:

1. Make sure that you are using a low wattage bulb - if using incandescent, between 15w and 40w, depending upon how big the shades are.  If the bulbs become too hot, they will discolor the shades, or even worse, they will cause a fire. Most LED bulbs don't get hot enough to be of concern.

2. Clip on shades will fit either a candelabra bulb or a regular A15 or A19 (household type).  Double check that you are purchasing the right type of shade. 

3. Look at the interior color of the shade.  We really like white interior for maximum brightness.

4. Most lighting fixtures will look best with a shade that has a bottom diameter of 4" to 6", depending upon how large the fixture is.  Most of what we sell in the showroom is 4" to 5" bottom diameter.

5. If purchasing shades for sconces, ensure that the bottom of the shade isn't too wide.  Measure the distance from the wall to the center of the socket.  Half the diameter of your shade should be smaller than the distance from the wall to the center of the socket.

If you think that the light from wall sconces is a bit excessive, shades, either traditional or contemporary styles, are a beautiful way to soften that light.  

From a decorating point of view, shades can be a way to change design perspectives of a fixture.  An elegant drum shade can make a traditional chandelier seem more modern, or a bell shade can make a straight line chandelier seem more classic.  In many cases, a shade can make a fancy chandelier just a bit less so.

Whether for practical reasons or aesthetic reasons, clip on shades can change the look of your lighting fixture.  

A couple of our favorite shade sellers:
WN Desherbinin


Shopping for your Crystal Chandelier with a Check List 0

Before shopping for a crystal chandelier, you should gather some information in order to make the best choice.

  • Budget?  You can spend just about any amount on a crystal chandelier, and the truth is, you get what you pay for.  Having said that, maybe you only need a cheaper chandelier "just for effect".  Or, if you are looking at our site and a few others, you are really looking to invest in heirloom quality. Either way, determining your budget first will help in your selection process.
  • Number of Lights?  How much light will you need?  It may be good to talk to a lighting professional for some guidance.  Keep in mind, you will want to have your chandelier on a dimmer.
  • Room Size?  You will want to measure the width and length of your room and make notes of any architecture features or furniture that make the room seem bigger or smaller.
  • Ceiling Height?  Very important!  You need to know how much room you have before a chandelier would hit your head.  
  • How will you transport?  
  • Can you assemble it if necessary, or will you need to have an electrician assemble your new purchase.  We always recommend that an electrician make your electrical connection. 
  • Where to shop?  Well,, of course!  

Should My Crystal Chandelier Be Silver or Brass? 0

One of the harder things for our customers to decide on is which metal finish to use on their crystal chandelier.  We've always offered 2 standard finishes: Shiny nickel or shiny brass.  However, with patience and a little extra payment, we can have the few metal pieces plated in other colors.  

But, back to the original question: how do you decide which?  I think of it like I would a diamond ring in a setting.  If you choose a silver colored setting (silver, platinum, white gold), the stone's brilliance is enhanced by the less obtrusive metal color.  The silver tones blend into the sparkle of the diamond.  If you choose gold, then there is a bit of a contrast between the setting and the stone, making the framework part of the show.

Similarly, a crystal in a framework of silver (chrome or nickel, shiny or not) has nothing to get in the way of the sparkle.  You see more of the pieces of crystal than you do the body of the chandelier.  A gold framework, glows through the crystal, separating it a bit visually and making it a bit warmer.

Choosing a bronze would have a similar impact as the gold - enhancing more of the framework.  Depending upon the type of chandelier, this may make a crystal chandelier look aged.  

There is no particular reason to choose one over the other, though people think of the using a gold framework if they have a large gold mirror that will be reflecting the chandelier; however, the silver will work in such a situation.

Our best advice is to go with whichever color you like the look of.


Crystal Chandeliers for Any Decor 0

Are crystal chandeliers too fancy for the average home?

If you have never considered a crystal chandelier for a room, you may think of it as a luxury, but we consider it a natural choice.  What better way to brighten a room?  Crystals and light go together like peanut butter and jelly, wood and marble, soap and water…

Imagine sunlight reflecting and refracting from the center of your room throughout the day. Bright, clean, happy light bouncing around your room.  Whether the crystals are on an iron fixture or hanging from even more crystal, the cheery warmth from a sparkly light is invigorating and inviting.  So, while they look magnificent, a crystal chandelier doesn’t have to make a room opulent. 

We hear over and over “my house doesn’t warrant a crystal chandelier”, and we respond with “why not?” Crystal chandeliers have been the preferred choice for hundreds of years and their time is not done. 

Our customers place chandeliers in every type of home – from manufactured homes to literal palaces.  Décor choices range from rustic log cabin to Colonial-American to traditional and they all look fabulous. 


crystal chandelier in rustic decor  

Chandelier Wider than Your Table? 0

Trying to decide what size chandelier to purchase? Look at this lovely room and read the store behind it.

This customer debated about which size Durham to use in her dining room.  The Small Durham, at 22" wide, was the best choice for the drop leaf table which she kept dropped the majority of the time.  The room, however, measured right at the size for a 26" wide chandelier, or the Medium Durham.

She (and admittedly, we) had a hard time deciding whether to choose the 22" or 26" wide chandelier.  The customer uncertainly decided on the 22" wide, but once she was home and revisited the room, she thought better.  She called us with the decision to change her order to the 26" Medium Durham, which you see above - without the crystal candle cups.  

In the end, it was the perfect decision. 

Using Crystal Chandeliers to Make Your Kitchen Glorious! 0

Who says crystal chandeliers are too formal for a kitchen?  Not us!  Nor our customers.

Chandelier Mabel

Above is a slightly customized Mabel in a very sophisticated, yet small, kitchen.  It looks perfect with the open shelves and Carrara marble.  

With modern exhaust fans and cooking methods, you don't have to worry so much about the amount of grime that will accumulate on a chandelier.  (Though, we say never worry about it at all!  A dirty chandelier is better than no chandelier.) 

Choosing a chandelier like the Mabel, above, makes cleaning an easier task. With a lack of crystal strands/festoons and bobeches that lift straight off the candle, this chandelier can be cleaned in an hour.

Above are our 3-R-6 chandeliers offering plenty of light for this island work space.  A little bit more off a chandelier to clean, but totally worth it! 

Check out our Houzz idea board or our Pinterest board for more crystal chandeliers looking beautiful in your kitchens.