Most of us follow a convention when hanging lights. It's natural for us to place fixtures over kitchen islands, dining tables, and perhaps even in entry halls. It's becoming less and less common to see chandeliers in living rooms, and the popularity of open living/dining/kitchen spaces has accelerated the demise of living room chandeliers with the focus firmly on above the dining table. Yet designer chandeliers as stunning decorations shouldn't be confined to a limited room, it's time to get back to feeling the charm of chandeliers.
Try a different style
Chandeliers are a great opportunity to introduce a new style into your room. A modern installation in a traditional space (and vice versa) adds an unexpected twist. Choose a large, visually important option to create a focal point. Decorative lighting can stand alone in a room and doesn't have to blend in with other design elements.
Keep it light
Large chandeliers above seating areas can feel heavy and ominous. Consider your materials and finishes before you buy. Reflective metals, glass and clear synthetic resins will add style and illumination without adding weight. Fixtures with small clusters of LED bulbs add sophistication and playfulness overhead.
Matching coffee table
The natural place to mount the hanging fixture is above the coffee table, just as it is above the dining table. This position allows you to hang the lamp lower and see more of the decorative details up close. Also, make sure you can see your guests across the room and not hit your head when reaching for a drink. For style inspiration, refer to your furniture and textiles.
If your seating arrangement does not have a central focal point, or if you frequently rearrange your furniture, place a decorative lamp in the center of the room. The fixture will act as an anchor point in the space and an extension of the architecture. Keep in mind that you may walk under it, so place it close to the ceiling. Try to match it with your color scheme or pattern.
Try hanging a chandelier in a less central location for an unexpected decor. Small chandeliers on console tables create unique vignettes and add mood lighting. Do you have a game table or auxiliary seating area? Consider using eye-catching lighting fixtures rather than a central seating area to highlight those tangential spaces.
A pair or more
For larger living spaces, a pair or even a group of multiple pendants can add to the overall style. Space them out evenly and hang them near the ceiling. Linear pendants cover a lot of area and help direct light to the far corners of the room.
Beware of bumping heads
Be sure to consider ceiling height. You don't need high ceilings to hang personalized lighting, but choosing the right fixture is critical. Low ceilings are better suited to lights that hang close to the ceiling and work better than chandeliers with wide heights or linear lighting fixtures that extend to the ceiling. But round chandeliers or lantern-shaped pendants hung too close to the ceiling can be awkward.
Fixtures in tall, vaulted spaces do not need to be tall and narrow, as the high ceilings will support visually heavier chandeliers. Often, round lights feel good when there is a lot of air around them; look for chandeliers with similar width and height dimensions.
Mix and Match
If your living space is open to your dining and kitchen areas, avoid trying to match fixed lighting from the same collection. Modern homes should be filled with coordinated lighting, not matched lighting. But developing the right combination can be tricky. Choose one element (finish, overall shape, line or shade type) and run it through each light in the space to unify the design. Then enjoy choosing variations on the decorative theme.
It's tempting to focus all your design work on one big chandelier. A bold piece usually makes it seem like it should be the center of attention in the room. However, chandeliers can add function and style without drawing attention to themselves. If you already have a statement sofa or ornate mantelpiece, then understated, elegant lighting will complement rather than compete. You may want to consider chandeliers that are streamlined, classic, minimalist and clear.