Right when you hear the word "chandelier," immediate images probably come to mind: the rich, the famous, big mansions, tuxedoes, and magnificent ballrooms. The reason they come to mind is because these light fixtures exude those qualities. Except they don't have to belong in a fancy castle; they can be installed right in your own home, giving any house the feeling of elegance and class.
When buying these particular light fixtures, you're also buying a status symbol. Therefore, be prepared: they are not cheap and it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of high priced competition. Though it's tempting, don't worry about keeping up with the Joneses. Don't let the reputation that they bring to your home interfere with your own personal sense of style, especially when it comes to size. The best thing you can do is to make sure that the light fixture is in proportion with the size of the room. Unfortunately, bigger is often better.
Often when homeowners install a smaller model, the room itself swallows it up, dwarfing what is supposed to be an "impressive" lighting decoration. But don't get carried away, and don't let the size dictate your purchase.
Another helpful tip: though they can come in lots of extravagant designs with many lights attached (which is more expensive, of course), chandeliers are mostly meant to be decorative. You don't have to buy the brightest model; they shouldn't be the central light fixture in the room. Instead, look to other lighting options within the room (lamps, sconces, etc.) to fill in the gaps. Plus, if it's too bright, a glare can occur, so make sure you hang the fixture at the appropriate height (30" from top of the table is a good rule of thumb), and possibly put it on a dimmer so that you have complete control over the level of light available.
There are tons of contemporary styles out there that may go well with your own unique style, but if you're unsure about what direction to go in, it may be best to stick with more traditional looks that have been time-tested. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money for something that may go out of style in the next few years. These products can come in lots of different colors that could easily look dated rather quickly. Therefore, another way to keep updating your purchase is to buy temporary and replaceable colored shades for the bulbs. Not only do they block any bright glare that may occur, they make your fixture look unique and yet still capable of keeping up with continually changing styles.
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Plus, you want to make sure it always meshes with the style of your own home's décor. However, feel free to mix and match styles a little. Though it may be a mistake to try to incorporate a modern, metallic light fixture within a room full of Victorian furniture, feel free to make your chandelier subtly contrast with your own style in order to make it pop out and become the focal point of your room.
These fixtures are intricate and often made of lots of glass, which makes them attract a lot of dust in an area that is very hard to clean: the ceiling. The best way to dust these products is to buy window cleaner or some kind of specialized spray that you can purchase at lighting stores. Next, put a sock or an old T-shirt on the end of a plunger and get out your ladder. Before ascending, make sure to cover the floor beneath with some kind of tarp or dropcloth so that you won't make a mess on your carpets or hardwood. Then dust away. If it comes with some detachable parts (baubles, pendants, etc.), then soak those pieces in some soapy water until they're clean.
One last tip: Make sure you know which bulbs it takes. Do they take standard bulbs, or will you have to buy some kind of specialty bulb, which tend to be more expensive. Either way, make sure you have a supply of them on hand so you won't have to run to the store every time you need to replace them.