Stairways and staircases are often neglected when choosing interior lighting, but we’d argue they are one of the most essential areas of the home to light—and can easily be one of the most dramatic.
Two of the most critical considerations when choosing staircase lighting are the size and weight of the fixture. If it’s too large, it may upstage other aspects of your home’s design. Too small, and it may not provide enough light. Weight can also be an issue, depending on where you intend to hang the fixture.
Today, we’ll discuss choosing lighting fixtures for your stairways and guide you in determining the right size and dimensions for your space.
Determining the Height of Staircase Chandeliers
If you have high ceilings in your staircase foyer, it’s an excellent place to hang a chandelier. The higher your clearance, the greater the length you can choose.
Designers use this basic calculation to determine the ideal length for a staircase lighting fixture:
The ceiling height in feet x 2.5 - 3 inches = your fixture’s ideal length (in inches).
- 12-foot ceiling: 12 x 2.5 = 30”; 12 x 3 = 36”
- 20-foot ceiling: 20 x 2.5 = 50”; 20 x 3 = 60”
Some other points to think about regarding height and clearance, based on suggestions by interior designers:
- If your staircase rises two floors, the fixture should not hang below the second floor.
- The bottom of the fixture should clear any table or object beneath it by at least 30”.
Calculating the Diameter of Staircase Chandeliers
Getting the diameter right for your staircase fixture is equally as important as its height. It will make the foyer and stairwell look small if it’s too big for the space. If the fixture is too small, it may not light up the area adequately or be aesthetically balanced.
There are two ways you can measure to obtain the diameter calculation.
Method 1: Measure the length of the stairway, the width of the foyer, and the ceiling height (in feet). Add all these numbers together to arrive at your diameter in inches.
For example: 15’ stairway + 12’ foyer + 18’ ceilings = 45” diameter.
Method 2: Measure the length and width of the stairway in feet. Add the numbers together to arrive at your diameter in inches.
Example: 15’ stairway + 10’ width = 25” diameter.
Determine Your Ceiling’s Load Capacity
The last step before choosing a fixture is to check your ceiling’s load capacity. You might need to consult with a contractor to learn this, but it’s vital to do so before you buy. Standard ceiling electrical boxes are generally rated for 35-50 pounds and unsuitable for heavy fixtures.
Depending on the fixture you choose vs. the load capacity, you may need to replace the box with something that can handle the weight.
Choosing a Staircase Chandelier
A staircase chandelier can be both practical and stylish. Just because it’s functional doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful! Your stairway fixture can be a focal point, or it can be quite subtle and understated. Choose a fixture that blends well with your décor, and don’t be shy about making a statement.
Now that you have some basic parameters, you can move on to the fun stuff—choosing a light fixture for your stairway. The following stairway fixtures average 20-47” in diameter and 79-157” in length and are compatible with dimmer switches.
Sage is a dramatic crystal staircase chandelier that can be customized for size and number of lights.
Jasper is sleek and modern, with crystal and metallic gold in a timeless design. Comes in 10, 15, 20, and 25 light size variations with adjustable lengths.
Finn is a striking statement piece, transforming your foyer into a modern art gallery with up to nine geometric suspended lights.
Freya is similar to Finn, featuring a modern geometric design in gold tones. Each light is customizable for length and position for a truly unique installation.
Cosmo’s cascading lights reflect and refract, creating a fascinating effect on the stairway. Choose 10, 15, 20, or 25 light variations.
Kasper translates directly from Finnish as “rain.” Kasper comes in options with up to 36 cascading light wands with elegant gold accents.
Skyla is one of our most striking stairway chandeliers. Choose from five to 20 illuminated rings for a stunning display.
Helia instantly turns your stairway into a sculpture gallery; its post-modern design is unlike any fixture you’ve experienced and can be purchased with six to 36 lights.
Stairway chandeliers are the perfect way to add elegance and sophistication to your home. Choosing the right height and diameter is key to achieving a showroom look. Don’t hesitate to reach out to speak to us if you have questions about choosing the right sized fixture for your home.