decorating with chandeliers by Tracy Porter

Decorating with Chandeliers

I tried to embed the video but…there was no code. And I know the post is long but so worth the read if you are even considering doing anything with chandeliers…they aren’t just for the rich and famous.

I don’t know why but since I started my blog I have totally become obsessed with all the different styles and uses for chandeliers.


Chandeliers can brighten your home and add a little glitter. And dining rooms and entrance ways aren’t the only places they’re being used these days, according to home furnishings design expert Tracy Porter.


On The Early Show Thursday, Porter told co-anchor Hannah Storm that chandeliers can make every part of your house look better, even the bathroom.

People may not give much thought to lighting when decorating, but it can make a huge difference in the ambiance and décor of a home, Porter says. Changing lighting is one of the easiest ways to adjust a home’s look and feel. And nothing does it as dramatically as chandeliers.


Porter points out that you can make a dramatic statement by hanging them in unexpected places as you incorporate the beautiful, functional pieces in your decorating scheme.

A wonderful thing about chandeliers, Porter notes, is that they’re so versatile, coming in many different sizes, looks and finishes.


A lot of people may think they’re not chandelier people, she says, but today you can find one in any kind of style, so there really is something for everyone. Whether you love French Country or things that are more modern, there’s surely a chandelier in the size and finish that will fit the bill for you.


Porter considers them a great way to add flair to a room, adding, “I actually look at chandeliers as jewelry for a room.”

Most ceilings are plain and white so nothing else interferes with your chandelier; it’s your eye candy, she says.

If you’re considering a chandelier, Porter observes, first you have to think about the style you like. What’s your sensibility and what are you drawn to? Because, even if you think your taste is very simple, you still may like a chandelier with crystals hanging off of it.

Chandeliers can make small spaces more interesting and enchanting. And just having a small space doesn’t mean you absolutely must hang a small chandelier. You can put a decent-sized chandelier in a small space, because it adds interest. Or, you can use more than one chandelier; perhaps think about hanging a row of three, petite chandeliers, which spreads the light out. Or you can hang one larger chandelier between two petite ones. (Couldn’t find a photo of this description but I love the idea.)

There are no rules, as long as you love it! The most important thing is that loving what you’re choosing. Don’t be bound by rules; if a piece makes you wild, then get it! It should be an emotional decision. (I love this statement, because it is awesome when a client will let you think outside the box.)

Any kitchen can handle a chandelier. It doesn’t matter if you have a galley kitchen or a gigantic room; there’s a way to make it work in any of those spaces.


Not what you were expecting..huh…but this is so cute and different.

For instance, in a galley kitchen (because a lot of people have apartments), you can find a more petite chandelier that will fit. Or, many chandeliers today come in oval shapes, which may fit a small space better. You can even get chandeliers now that have pot hooks on them so, not only is it an amazing piece of lighting that adds incredible beauty, it’s also practical.


Chandeliers can go in any bathroom, from a tiny powder room or your master bath, Porter says. They really work anywhere. Porter has two in her master bath, one over the tub and one over the sink.

Wouldn’t this be beautiful over a (RED) claw foot tub….oh yea…didn’t look to see what the price was on this one…didn’t want to know. I will be going back to Hans van Bentem Rock and Royal..oh my gosh..

If you’re thinking about having a chandelier in a bathroom, bear in mind that you don’t have to use it in the traditional way, with one large chandelier hanging in the middle of the room. Think outside the box. You could use two chandeliers over a vanity or one of medium size.

Some people don’t like the idea of a chandelier over the bathtub, but I think it’s romantic. If you like the idea but don’t want it directly over the tub, you could always put it at one end of the tub. I think it’s pretty to have a mirror up high and a chandelier reflected in it, because light bounces off it, and is beautiful.

060620131658290Well!!!! isn’t that just neat.  I really wanted a photo of a romantic bath but opted for this one because it was so cool.

Porter calls bathrooms and chandeliers “a natural for me.”

Also, a bathroom is a great place to start with something small, just to get your feet wet. You can try something there before starting in a bigger room, which can be intimidating.


The question of how high to hang a chandelier can be very challenging for some people, because everyone has a different thought.

If you’re putting one in the bathroom, you obviously don’t want to run into it, so you want it high. But Porter says she doesn’t like them stuck on the ceiling. She likes them “dropped down a little, bearing in mind that some people are very tall.”

A great chandelier but oh my talk about a  ceiling it is fabulous….done by David Wiseman

Porter says most people hang chandeliers too high over dining room tables and she thinks they “should be hung as low as possible, while still being able to see people around the table.”

Many people figure out the lowest point of the chandelier and then hang it 30 inches up, but Porter recommends doing it differently: Sit at your table and have someone hold a ball or something at the height you’re considering (it would be great to have someone actually holding the chandelier up so you can see the true effect, but most chandeliers are too heavy to do that), then decide if it’s too low and intrusive.

Porter says she likes to feel as if it’s part of the intimate setting. You want the lighting to feel as if it’s part of the ambiance, not like it’s flying away. Porter also likes hanging chandeliers even lower for buffets. Even though it’s a functional piece of lighting, if it’s hung low, it can also be used as an accessory and centerpiece (like the picture of the vintage chandelier hanging low over the side table).

More Tips

  • No matter what, you absolutely must put your chandelier on a dimmer.
  • Think about the style you’re interested in, regardless of where you’re putting it. Is your goal in your dining room to add a layer of flair or just, “I need a lighting fixture and I don’t want it to take over the room”? When it comes to chandeliers, there are simple ones you don’t really notice, and then there are those at which you look up and think, “Wow!”
  • another Davide Wiseman creation
  • Think about your budget. The wonderful thing with chandeliers is that, frequently, you can find the one you love in the right size and price range for you. Not everyone may have the room or budget for the nine-light version, so if you love that one, you can get it in a three-light version, which may be a better fit for you.
  • Be open minded. When you start your search, remember that you don’t necessarily have to buy one big chandelier; consider using two smaller ones or even two or three petit ones, rather than one large.
  • A wonderful thing about lighting is to think about it as layers. If you have one light, it creates harsh light, but if you layer the light, it makes everyone feel and look better. Try to think of a range of lighting, because it’s more comfortable and makes people feel better. Don’t just think that now that you have a chandelier you’re done. Start somewhere and slowly add layers of light with sconces and lamps.

    Unusual Uses

    Most people buy and use chandeliers for the traditional reason, but some people have old chandeliers from family members that may be beautiful and interesting, but that doesn’t work anymore.

  • This is another opportunity to think outside the box (like the picture of the chandelier hanging from a tree for a picnic).
    and another one
    wall-branch-chandelier_1237216009221If you’re having a fun party — maybe al fresco — think about how you can make it a little more special or unusual. Take an old chandelier that’s not wired and instead of wiring it, put candle cups in there.

    You can even use it outside: Tie a piece of rope to the top and hang it from a tree. It’s a wonderful conversation starter, in addition to being a whimsical and playful way to think about lighting. This is also a fun idea if you’re having a party in a tent.

  • ~ by Chatty Renee on March 16, 2009.

    One Response to “decorating with chandeliers by Tracy Porter”

    1. Chandeliers have always been my passion enjoyed your blog very much. see premiere luminaire I found some really nice chandeliersand not too expensive.

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