what size light fixture for room

What Size Light Fixture To Use for a Room?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

A room’s lighting dramatically impacts how a space looks and feels and how people respond to it. Lighting is an integral part of any room’s design. Many variables impact a lighting design. It’s often helpful to consult a professional lighting designer to craft a fit-to-purpose lighting experience so you can be confident in what size light fixture to use for each room. This is a guide to give you the general rules to get started.

While not every room is the same, general rules of thumb work for a standard rectangular room. If your room isn’t standard, some key takeaways still apply. Before deciding on a lighting fixture size, it is important to consider your space’s dimensions.

How Does Room Height Impact Your Lighting Fixture Choice?

The room’s height often impacts the shape and size of the light fixtures that work in a room.

A higher ceiling typically allows for an elongated shape as it takes up more vertical space and would simply get in the way in a shorter room. In addition, a low-hanging light fixture can lower the light to bring focus to the lower walls and floors.

Wider round ornate chandeliers are typically found in rooms with heights below the standard.  

Should your room have a low ceiling (less than 8 ft), consider a flush mount or semi-flush mount light fixture to leave sufficient clearance. This way, the fixture won’t interfere with the line of sight or cause accidents for people walking under the fixture. 

Size

A general rule for height is that chandeliers and pendants should be between 2.5 to 3 times the room’s height in feet converted to inches. A 10 ft room should have a 25 to 30-inch light fixture. It’s important to remember these are general guidelines. It’s always best if you visit the showroom to see what your light fixture looks like in person. Specific designs might look larger or smaller based on the materials and shapes used. Aesthetics are also an important factor. A traditional large ornate chandelier might feel much larger than a modern, sleek design. 

It’s important to consider the clearance below the light fixture. The light fixture should have enough clearance so a tall human can walk under it without hitting their head. Typically, there should be a minimum of about 7 ft between the floor and the light fixture. 

In situations where a door is near the fixture, there should be about a 6-inch vertical clearance between the top of the door and the bottom of the light fixture.

Sconces

Sconces are light fixtures that are worth mentioning. Typically, they are set up against a wall. These light fixtures allow for horizontal light in situations where a chandelier being that low would be hazardous. This can help give the room the right feel.

Sconces are a designer’s dream. They often aren’t the primary light source for a room but accent it. This allows designers to use sconces to project patterns nearby without interfering with the main lighting. Generally, a sconce used to project patterns should be in a dim area to maximize the artistic effect. 

Sconces may also draw attention to objects beside them. For example, a downlight in your kitchen may highlight the cooking space, while an uplight may highlight the beautiful architecture.

Because sconces are primarily used as accent lighting or statement art pieces, so they can be placed almost anywhere. A few general guiding principles still apply for regular use.

Mounting Height

Sconces mounted inside a room should be hanging about 3/4ths of the room’s height. Common spaces like hallways and bathrooms should tend towards the upper end of that range, and bedroom scones should trend towards the lower end. 

Sconces typically protrude from the wall; therefore, you need to ensure that they don’t interfere with walking paths and cause a hazard. 

If the sconce is mounted above 8 ft, aesthetic choice limits its width. However, scones below 8 ft need to be less than 4 inches thick to make them ‘ADA Compliant.’

Contact Lighting Professionals

Light fixtures can brighten your home but can also make or break a room. When you choose Porter Lighting, we’ll guide you through our lighting process to ensure every room in your home has the right size fixture. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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