Choosing the right lighting is incredibly important to giving your home a look and feel that’s all your own. With so many lighting fixtures out there – literally thousands of designer sizes, styles, and types of lights – the lighting fixtures you choose are a chance to showcase your unique personality and style. Nowhere is this more true than with foyer lighting. Whether you have a large entryway or a small one, a foyer chandelier is the very first thing your guests will see when they arrive, and can help set the tone for the rest of your home, as well as making the space make seem more inviting. So what should you look for?
Well, that depends largely on your own personal style. For some homes, something modest like this Quincy 3-Light Pendant light might be all you need to add a little light and some simple elegance. Adding even a very simple foyer chandelier or pendant light makes the space seem finished, and immediately signals to guests (and potential buyers!) that your home is well and thoughtfully cared for.
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Of course, a larger, grander space requires an equally bold foyer chandelier. On the exact opposite end of the spectrum you’ll find grand, ballroom style crystal chandeliers like this Cascadia Chandelier from Elk Lighting. While you’ll need a big house, a big foyer, and preferably a big grand staircase (and maybe even that baby grand piano) to pull it off, if your home is done in a sophisticated, luxurious style, this is a great way to set the stage.
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With those two extremes in mind, you really can find a good foyer lighting fixture to customize any space, no matter how big or small, or how classical, modern, or eclectic your style. Take this tiered Cambridge Chandelier as an example – it’s designed with thick, weather-worn, studded iron bands and candle-style lights to look like it’s come straight out of a medieval banquet hall. But even if your home doesn’t look like a sound stage for Game of Thrones, this is a fun piece with a ton of personality that’s sure to please everyone that crosses your threshold. When it comes to style, the sky’s the limit, but there are a few practical considerations, too.
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Height is a major consideration when it comes to foyer lighting, for a couple of reasons and in multiple ways. There are two heights you have to consider: the height of your ceiling and the height of your chandelier. If you have very high ceilings, you’re going to want a taller chandelier, like thisĀ Lawrenceville 15 Light Chandelier. Chandeliers should never be less than 7 feet off the ground, usually about seven and a half, though it can be higher. 7’6″ is a pretty good starting place for a single-story foyer with a high ceiling, measuring from the floor to the lowest hanging point of a foyer chandelier.
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If you have a two-story foyer, especially one with a staircase and a visible landing, you never want the bottom of your chandelier to hang below the level of the second story floor. Depending on the layout of your foyer and your stairs, though, it might make sense to have two foyer lighting fixtures, one centered in front of the door, and a matching one centered over your stairs, like this Dimensions Pendant from Landmark Lighting.
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The higher your ceilings, the taller your foyer chandelier should be as well. While almost all foyer chandeliers come with chains that can be adjusted for optimized placement, a too-small (or too large) fixture can stand out badly. For a very tall space, look for longer chandeliers or ones with multiple tiers, roughly 2.5″-3″ of chandelier height for every foot of ceiling height. For instance, this tall, slim, 36″ high Galicia Chandelier is well suited for a 12-14 foot ceiling.
The same goes for low ceilings, too. If you don’t have high ceilings, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful foyer lighting fixture, they just have to be shorter – often flush mounted or semi-flush mounted. This Elizabethan Flush Mount foyer chandelier isn’t so much a “chandelier,” but has all the beautiful crystals you want to beautify your space, plus all the lighting you’ll need without crowding your entryway with an oversized light.
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A foyer lighting fixture that’s too skinny will look microscopic in a large entryway, while a fat foyer chandelier can dominate or even crowd the space. To be sure you’re getting a foyer chandelier with the right waist to fit your space, measure the length and width of your foyer, then add the two numbers. That number, in inches, should be the width of your chandelier. For instance, this Schoolhouse Pendant, at a slim 20 inches at its widest point, would work best in a smaller foyer, say 10×10 or 12×8.
Once you’ve gotten the size, shape, style, height, width, girth, and everything else figured out, it can be easy to stop there and just pick your favorite foyer chandelier that fits your space requirements. But to really up the ante and get a look that will make your home look genuinely homey, look around your house at your fixtures – door knobs, drawer pulls, and stair rails in the immediate vicinity, or even nearby faucets or other lighting fixtures. Matching the finish on your foyer lighting fixture, whether it’s a Spanish bronze like this Frederick Pendant, brass, chrome, or nickel, with the other finishes throughout your home can help unify the space and help your decor flow from room to room. Matching fixtures from the same collection, like this Frederick Flush Mount, make this extra easy to accomplish.
Simply put, if you have a large window over your door, you’ve got to position your chandelier so it shows through the window and is perfectly centered and framed by it from your walkway. A foyer chandelier should always be hung in the center of your room, but getting it lined up with the window as well can take a little team effort. The result is worth the effort. This Tindale Lantern is fairly simple, but if positioned properly (as it is in the image above), it can create the impression that your home is full of warm, glowing light when approached from the outside at night.
Just being able to see the foyer lighting fixture from the outside is a good sign, too – even if, again, it’s something relatively simple like this Chesapeake Lantern, it shows thought of design and care for your home that will give a great positive first impression. Plus, if the window gets a lot of light during the day, the natural sunlight can even help showcase your foyer lighting, picking out the crystals of a crystal chandelier or simply casting pretty shadows or rainbow prisms through the glass.
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I almost hate to say it, but this is one case where the lighting really isn’t the most important job of the lighting fixture. A foyer chandelier is made to set the stage for your home, to add a touch of class and a nice, finished flair, so don’t back down from one you love even if you’re worried it won’t provide enough light for your space. You should aim for 200-400 watts (or length of your room x width of your room x 1.5 = total wattage for a more precise number), but if you’ve fallen in love with a fixture that’s less than that, see if it’s part of a collection that includes matching sconces you can add on to make up for the missing task lighting. This Gloucester Chandelier, for example, comes with beautiful matching candle style Gloucester Sconces that can enhance the appearance of your foyer while providing needed light. Just place them 6-8 feet apart around the room, even continuing into other parts of your home to help create a unified style.
What are you looking for in your foyer lighting? Tell me a little about your space and your style, and I might be able to help you find “the one”!