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Determining Placement of Light Fixtures

By Pingston Electric, LLC, Jun 1 2016 05:21PM

When it comes to determining the installation height for hanging a light fixture, there are several factors to consider and no real sure-fire equation to follow. In the end there are always a multitude of exceptions, and breaking a few rules now and then will lead to a more interesting, personalized space.

Room Dimensions

To get a rough idea as to the size of the fixture you need, measure the longest and widest point of the room in feet, rounding up to the nearest foot. Then add these two numbers together, and convert the final sum to inches. This is the rough diameter or width of the light fixture that will work for your space. For example, a room that is 10 feet wide by 12 feet long, equals 22 feet. Convert this to inches and look for a fixture that is around 22 inches in diameter.

Dining Room

The height you hang your fixture will have a huge impact on how it looks in proportion to the rest of the room. Install hanging lights over a table so that the bottom of the fixture is 32 inches from the top of the table. In rooms with very low ceilings you can go as low as 30 inches.


A chandelier in the foyer is a great way to light up an entryway, and you'll want at least 80-84" from the bottom of the chandelier to the floor. Keep in mind that the higher the fixture is hung, the smaller it will look, so don't be afraid to go bigger in this case.


The hallway is often ignored as a design space, and it is such a great place for a light fixture or two. Hang them close to the ceiling unless your ceiling is high enough (9 or more feet). If you do have a low ceiling, go for a fixture with a low profile in height and a larger diameter. The wider the hallway the wider the fixture can be. For example start with a 12-14" diameter fixture for a 5' hallway, and add 2" to your fixture for every additional 12" of hallway width.


Standard electrical boxes have a maximum load rating of 50 pounds. Most full size chandeliers are to heavy to hang from a standard box. Therefore, if your new fixture weighs more than 50 pounds, you must install an appropriate support system.

When choosing a dimmer switch to operate you light fixture, make sure the dimmer wattage rating is greater that the wattage rating of your fixture. For example, a 16 light chandelier that can hold 60 watt bulbs would require a 1,000 watt dimmer switch.

Please call us if you are unsure about the weight limits of your existing fixture box, electrical load of a switch or need help in hanging a light fixture. We are here for you!

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