Chandeliers are a stylish light fixture that can, often, outshine a room; consequently, designers are strategically integrating them into the décor.
“Choosing the right light fixture can add drama and excitement or soothing quiet serenity to any space, and there are many different kinds and styles,” says Donna Moss of Donna Moss Interior Design in Hamden. “I love chandeliers. I think of them as jewelry for a room. Chandelier immediately create character in a space.”
First you must decide what you want the chandelier to do, according to Moss: “Form follows function. You may actually want a chandelier to be overpowering, but all lighting should be on a dimmer, so you’re in control, not the fixture. You must ask yourself, ‘does the room live up to the chandelier?’ and vice versa.”
To find the right fixture, Moss advises homeowners to look at well-designed spaces, such as at hotels or on house tours. “The thing about home fashion is anything that’s hot gets cold. The hot look for the past few years has been industrial — exposed wiring, exposed filament bulbs, with mostly dark finishes,” she says. “Gold is making a big comeback with the resurrection of mid-century and retro design. I’m fond of mixing metals. Knowing how to do it tastefully has always been a signature of the finest designers.”
Chandeliers are a practical way to add artistic beauty to a room, points out Jennifer Coleman, owner of JKC Designs in Ridgefield. “This is a functional light for illumination as well as a major design element. Depending on the style selected, it can add a formal elegance to a space, it can be a fun, cheerful accent, or it may be the final element that rounds out the design and makes the space inviting and cozy,” she says. “It’s all about the right size and scale. It can be the complete focal point or it can be secondary and an accent light. The chandelier doesn’t always have to be the center of attention.”
Placement and style of a chandelier prevent it from dominating a room. “Typically, I place them in the center of the room. I love a gorgeous chandelier over a coffee table in a formal living room, but I’ve used some sculptural light fixtures that also act as art and conversation pieces,” Coleman says. “Over a tub in a large master bath is also another interesting spot to use a chandelier for impact.” Also, Coleman places them in entryways: “It’s a great place to make a statement and set the tone for the rest of the interior. They also look beautiful in master bedrooms.”
Recently, Coleman installed two small chandeliers flanking a desk in a library, and she’s seeing a trend in double chandeliers over a dining table. “Lighting throughout should complement each other but doesn’t necessarily need to match exactly,” she says, noting that oversized lighting is trending. “Gold is back in a big way. Woven and natural materials are also very popular right now.” Coleman offers design ideas for different décor: “For a modern sleek look, use lots of glass and polished chrome or a nickel metal finish. You can never go wrong with a brass and crystal fixture, but for an updated twist the brass should be brushed and feel more refined, like a nice piece of jewelry.”
For a living room in a Darien home, Connie Cooper, owner of Westport-based Connie Cooper Designs, selected a gilded iron pendant chandelier that added a modern design element to contrast with the room’s traditional coffered ceilings and paneled walls. “It’s an amazing space. We carefully installed the fixture at a height that didn’t obstruct the view of Long Island Sound,” recounts Cooper, who won a HOBI award for Best Interior Design in 2016 for this home.
Cooper notes a chandelier should not clutter up a room. For a bedroom, for example, she chose a pendant chandelier made of Capiz shells to bring a seaside feel to the room in a subtle way. “It provides texture, and the contemporary style adds a surprise element to the otherwise traditional furnishings,” she says.
Designers are having fun with various styles. “There are a lot of interesting, more sculptural, chandeliers using glass and combinations of materials that look great in a modern setting. A more traditional style room could feature a chandelier with lampshades, for instances,” Cooper says. “Gold tones are trending and replacing some of the chrome looks from the past. It’s more common now to use mixed metals in a room so you can combine a variety of finishes.”
Lampshades are used in both modern and traditional fixtures. “Pendant styles with large shades are also very popular,” Cooper notes, “but it’s interesting to put a more modern fixture in a traditional room and a classic style in a modern space.”
The custom-made, hand-blown Murano chandelier that homeowner Margaret Kathleen DiTullio purchased in Italy during 2000 is grandiose, yet beautifully complements the room’s large wood dining table, draperies, and upholstered chairs. “While the size of the chandelier is large, it scales beautifully with the furniture pieces in the room and the adjacent rooms as it’s an open floor plan,” says DiTullio. The fixture comprises green and cream-colored glass with accents of gold and blue. “The room was painted white with cream trim but after the chandelier was installed, we changed it to pearlized light green that was applied with a sponge to give it more depth,” she recalls. “The light from the chandelier reflects off the walls giving the room an added dimension.”
The colors really come through including some blue hues that aren’t apparent when it’s off. “It’s on a dimmer so it provides bright light when needed and low light for ambience at night,” she says. “It truly feels like a piece of art.”