CHANDELIER INSTALLATION: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
There’s no doubt a large light fitting can add drama to a room, but there are several things you need to know about having a chandelier installed.
The biggest considerations in practical terms are size and weight, according to Melbourne-based electrician, Andrew Bell of Bell Electrical Contractors
“You want to make sure the light doesn’t make the room feel small, so check the ceiling is high enough for the chandelier you choose, and the room is big enough,” Mr Bell says.
“That way the light fitting does what you want it to, rather than making the space seem too crowded. You also want a light that suits the era or style of the house – it can look a bit odd if you choose an ultra-modern light for a period home, or the other way round.”
Mr Bell suggests someone who wants to have a chandelier installed talks to their electrician first to get some ideas about the right type of fitting and find out more information about what is involved.
“Ask the electrician how they plan to install the light. You don’t want your electrician using a small ladder and potentially falling and hurting themselves or damaging your house.”
According to Mr Bell, if you’re looking at a dramatic, heavy fitting, you will need several electricians on the job and they will need to use some form of a platform or manlift to get the job done.
“Your sparky may also need to install some type of bracing in the ceiling if the light is heavy, or call in some help from a carpenter and/or engineer to help make it safe and secure,” he says.
“Bracing is reasonably straightforward in a single-storey dwelling where access to the roof is fairly simple, however if you are installing the light on the bottom level of a two-storey house, it may not be possible to brace without damaging the plaster because there is limited access to the ceiling.”
Once you know if it is possible to install a chandelier and whether there are any weight restrictions, Mr Bell suggests you measure the room where you want the light installed, and take a photo, and take both to the lighting store.
That way, the sales team should be able to visualise what you want and what the room will allow for. You should also let them know if you want to be able to dim the light.
The size of your room will determine what size chandelier will be best suited to it. You want the proportions right: not a large room with a tiny chandelier and vice versa. So, for example, if your room measures 304cm x 426cm, the width of the fixture should be around 73cm.
If the ceiling is very high, you could install a multi-tiered fitting to cascade down through the space – providing, of course, that the chandelier still complements the room and its décor rather than overpowering it.
If your chandelier of choice features crystals, choose to use clear globes rather than frosted to ensure maximum coloured light refraction through the crystal. Clear globes also create the effect that the chandelier is lit by candles.
With a chandelier that is to be suspended over a table, choose one that is smaller in width than the width of the table, and hung high enough to ensure no-one bumps their head when they get up from eating dinner.
Measure your table and buy a chandelier that is about one-third to one-half of the width of the table – and make sure the chandelier is positioned exactly mid-centre.
If it has exposed globes, make sure they are low wattage so guests won’t feel overheated or find it too bright to relax – or consider including a dimmer in the installation, to change the mood and save energy
Remember, while a chandelier provides a dramatic focal point, it shouldn’t be the only light source for the room. You should discuss this with your electrician. He may suggest some accent lights either side of the chandelier or over key pieces of furniture to help provide enough light.
It’s important to remember that a chandelier must be installed by a licensed electrician and Mr Bell suggests you ask for a certificate of electrical safety.
Your electrician may not be the only professional you hire to deal with your chandelier. Ask your lighting supplier for suggestions on how to keep the chandelier clean or you may also need to consider calling in someone with experience in doing such a job.