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How To Choose The Right Stairwell Chandeliers

Have you visited large, stately manor houses? These elaborately designed properties have beautifully landscaped gardens, long hallways, great ballrooms, fountains, and other such design elements.

luxurious-Stairwell-with-chandelierOne of the most common and visually striking features of these properties is the grand staircase. Just think of how many films, or period dramas, make use of the grand entrance at the top of a stairwell. The young debutante, waiting anxiously to descend to her first ball, or where the host of the ball intends to descend from, with everyone looking up anticipating their arrival.

In addition to stately homes, grand staircases can be found in many other places, like the main foyer on a cruise ship, large office spaces, and many more.

Now, while they seem to be vastly different, some are private homes, others are public areas, they do share one thing, they have the ability to bring the wow factor. And that means both the stairwell, and its decorations and lighting, have to be well designed.

When designers create a grand stairwell, they want to create a story. They carefully pick the right carpets, floor accessories, wall accessories, and lighting to ensure the environment is just right.

Lighting is the most important element of the design because it sets the atmosphere and ensures the stairwell is visible in all its glory. Designers use a combination of focus and decorative lighting to illuminate the space, and the most common feature is a chandelier. Here we discuss how to find the best stairwell chandelier for your grand staircase.

How To Choose The Right Stairwell Chandelier

Choosing a chandelier for a grand stairwell can be challenging because you need to maintain a balance in design. The chandelier must enhance the aesthetic of the space without overwhelming it. The tips mentioned below can help you choose the right one:

1. Determine The Purpose Of The Chandelier

These light fixtures come in a wide range of styles and shapes. Each design serves a purpose and will add a special touch to your stairwell. This makes it important to determine the purpose of the fixture before you shop for it. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you want a grand centre-piece that catches the eye and leaves your guests in awe of its beauty? Do you want the chandelier to dominate the space and steal the show? If that is the case, you will need a large, grand chandelier that is specifically designed to draw attention.
  • Does your stairwell need something subtle? Something to fill the empty space under the high ceiling but not dominate the room? In that case, choose a smaller chandelier that fits in well with the overall decor of the area.
  • Does the chandelier need to be the primary light-source in the stairwell? If yes, you will need a fixture with a more focused design and larger bulbs for that.
  • Is the lighting meant to accentuate any decorations, like art? Think of how many classic homes have portraits of the old owners on the walls, very often on the stairwell. Do you need those portraits to be lit?

Understanding what you want from the chandelier will simplify your search significantly. It can also give you an idea of where to start looking and what kind of designs you might prefer.

2. Figure Out The Aesthetic

Chandeliers can be urban, contemporary, rustic, classical, transitional, etc in their styling. They have different design themes that can fit in or clash with your stairwell’s architecture. It is important to maintain the flow of design and ensure every element of the space blends in well.

The best way to determine your style is to take a look around your home. Figure out what kind of architectural and design theme you have and think about what will fit in well. Consider the styles mentioned below:

  • Urban Or Industrial – This kind of style is very minimalist and raw in an industrialised way. For example, a metal chandelier with geometric shapes and visible nuts or bolts might have a very industrialised feel to it.
  • Contemporary or Modern – This style is quite polished and elegant. It is also minimalist, but sophisticated. Chandeliers in this style category often have a chrome or satin nickel finish, which fits in with the modern theme.
  • Rustic – Rustic chandeliers are ideal for cottage-style homes and smaller manors. They may have a distressed finish and are often made from metals like brass, iron, or copper. It is rare for grand stairwells to have rustic chandeliers because these installations are more suitable for tamer spaces.
  • Classical – This style is ornate and intricate, similar to the manor houses of ancient times. Chandeliers in this category have a classic bejewelled and tiered design. This is the type of style that comes to your mind when you think of the word ‘chandelier.’ These fixtures are often made from glass or crystals, and can be a little challenging to maintain.

These are just some of the style options available to you, but it is a good idea to consider them all carefully. Once you have a theme in mind that appeals to you, it will be easier to find a fitting chandelier for your stairwell.

3. Lighting Focus

While a chandelier is a decorative fixture, its primary purpose is to illuminate the room and create an alluring atmosphere. Different fixtures spread light differently. Some chandeliers produce more focused light while others create a softer glow. It is important to determine what kind of focus your stairwell needs.

For example, if you want the chandelier to highlight the entire staircase architecture, you will need tiered lights with bulbs starting at the top of the chandelier leading to the bottom of it. These fixtures are large and run along the height of the staircase.

If you want the light to focus on the foyer or on the space where the staircase ends, you will need a traditional chandelier with bulbs that are all on the same level.

4. Finding The Right Colour And Material

modern-cruise-ship-stairwell-with-chandelierIt can be difficult to sort through different chandelier colours and materials, but there’s an easy way to choose something that will fit your staircase well. Consider the colour of your banister and railings during your search. Installing a chandelier that matches the colour or material of the banister will help maintain cohesiveness in design.

For example, if you have a light coloured wooden banister, you can install a chandelier with rose-gold, gold, or copper finishes. Wood isn’t a commonly used chandelier material but it is easy to find a fixture that matches the colour of wood. If your banister is made of wrought iron, you can get a chandelier made from the same material.  This will help create a balance between the staircase structure and the chandelier without much effort.

You won’t go wrong if you follow this route, regardless of the style you choose.

5. The Shape of the Stairwell

Not all grand stairwells are straight. Some may have corners in them, or are curved, like the one in the picture at the top. The ones with corners in them are often 90 degree corners that occur on a small landing, before you continue ascending/descending again.

In this case, the actual corners can often be a bit gloomy if there is only one central chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It can be an idea to have one large piece in the centre, but then several wall mounted, smaller chandeliers that will light those corners and highlight any art hanging on those walls.

So there you have it, 5 key things to keep in mind when choosing the right chandelier will ensure your stairwell looks impactful and impressive.  If you balance out these five elements, and get them right, you are certain to impress with both the stairwell itself, and any decorations etc that are on it.