When you think of chandeliers, you might envision an upside-down wedding cake structure of crystals and candles, or you might think of a wagon wheel with frontier-style lanterns suspended from it. Neither idea would be wrong.
A chandelier was and is a means of placing light where it is needed. In times past, candles or torches could be placed in sconces on a wall or in holders on a table. Neither solution was especially effective. But by placing the candles in a holder suspended from the ceiling, light could shine down from above, helping dispel some of the shadows that would otherwise be inevitable.
Candles and torches were eventually replaced with gas lights and then with electric lamps. Electric bulbs for all sorts of lighting fixtures are now available. Electrical lighting has made possible many different designs for ceiling lighting in general and for chandeliers in particular.
What Are Some Things I Should Know Before Purchasing a Chandelier?
One of the most important things to know before installing any ceiling light is the amount of headroom available in the planned location. The lowest portion of the lamp should be at least seven feet above the floor unless it will hang over a permanently placed fixture such as a countertop or table. This prevents tall guests or family members from bumping their heads on the lamp.
The other extremely important thing to know is what sort of structure is available to support the weight of the chandelier. This is especially cogent with large chandeliers, such as the wagon wheel designs. Such lights need to be affixed to a sturdy beam or ceiling joist, not to the fragile struts of a dropped ceiling or similar support.
Finally, unless a family member has credentials as an electrician, it’s a good idea to get your new light professionally installed. That way, you will have someone who can take care of details such as not overloading circuits or whether you want a dimmer switch or a regular one.