For interior spaces, like the kitchen, that are rooted in functionality, lighting is a great way to infuse drama, personality, and style. But in order to cover both form and function, you'll need to design a comprehensive lighting plan that includes a combination of overhead ambient lighting (in the form of recessed cans), task lighting (such as wall sconces) to illuminate prep areas, and decorative fixtures (like picture or cabinet lighting) to really drive home your kitchen's aesthetic. But what if you don't have recessed ceiling lights? Or, you just don't like the look of multiple holes in the ceiling? In that case, let us suggest a fixture with a bit more flair — enter the chandelier.
A chandelier is a ceiling-mounted light fixture, oftentimes seen with multiple arms and light bulbs. And while they might conjure up images of Victorian dining rooms showcasing light fixtures with plenty of crystal and decorative flourishes, or rustic living rooms with wrought iron, wagon wheel candelabras, there is actually a myriad of sizes, styles, and finishes to choose from. But before you set your heart on any one fixture, in particular, there are a few things that you should consider.
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The installation, for starters, isn't difficult in a pre-wired kitchen. However, even if you are comfortable working with live wires, you might want to consider hiring a professional electrician. And while they are there, ask your electrician to make your chandelier dimmable. But bringing in a pro to do the job will cost roughly $100 - $200. Of course, if you need to hardwire your space, that will be more costly and could add up to a couple of thousand dollars (not including the cost of the lighting fixtures). Another factor to keep in mind is cleaning. You'll want to clean your chandelier periodically which can be a time-intensive endeavor depending on how elaborate the design is. And last, but not least, you'll want to think about your ceiling height and cabinet door swings to ensure that you select a fixture that is the appropriate size for your space. If you are working with a low ceiling height, perhaps kitchen lighting such as a semi-flush mount, flush mount, or pendant light would be better.
Ready to add a little glam to your culinary headquarters? Scroll on for 10 ways to rock a chandelier in your kitchen.
1. Soften an industrial setup.
Use lighting to create juxtaposition, as Jessica Helgerson did in this sophisticated kitchen. The culinary design pairs quintessential industrial notes — exposed brick, cement walls, and dark grout — with flat-panel cabinetry, an abundance of greenery, and a multi-tiered circular chandelier over the dining table, that softens the overall look and feel without overwhelming it. The end result? A timeless cook space that seamlessly blends various elements.
Get the look: Robert Abbey Bling Large Chandelier, $2,597
2. Create contrast.
Ground an all-white kitchen from above, and create contrast, with an oil-rubbed bronze light fixture. The neutral backdrop in this stunning cook space — Calacatta marble countertops, reclaimed wood kitchen island back panel flaunting a chevron pattern, and white cabinets — is the perfect way to showcase a multi-arm, sputnik-inspired island chandelier that makes a subtle statement without distracting from the overall design.
Get the look: Sputnik Chandelier Opal Glass 12-Lights in Black, $382.74
3. Go for a feminine touch.
Once relegated to ballrooms and dining halls, crystal chandeliers are popping up more and more in culinary spaces, adding a welcome dose of elegance. For example, this English country cook space, from kitchen designers deVOL, takes a sophisticated turn with the unexpected addition of an ornate light fixture. The emerald green backsplash tile, pink walls, and dark-hued cabinetry fill the space with character and give the setup a modern twist, while the wood and terra cotta accessories add warmth and texture.
Get the look: Visual Comfort Thomas O'Brien Yves Chandelier, $3,199
4. Keep it minimal.
Small kitchens don't require small chandeliers. In fact, a linear light fixture can do wonders at making a small-scale kitchen design feel larger by drawing the eye outward. Case in point: Arent & Pyke utilized an expansive 10-bulb chandelier with a black finish over the island to punctuate sage green cabinets, a marble backsplash, and a copper range hood in this timeless design.
Get the look: Apparatus Studio Trapeze 10 Pendant With Porcelain Bowls, $9,000
5. Opt for something (a bit) playful.
If you have a modern cook space, take notes from interior designer Katie Martinez and select a kitchen chandelier that enhances the minimal aesthetic without distracting from it. This curated space has a masculine vibe thanks to blackened steel-front cabinets but keeps itself from being too serious thanks to orange fiberglass chairs and a playful multi-bulb, angular chandelier. Wood floors and an exposed beam ceiling add plenty of warmth and texture.
Get the look: RBW Witt 3 Chandelier, $4,705
6. Use lighting as a focal point.
Add depth to a tonal, modern farmhouse kitchen and create a focal point in an airy room with an oversize chandelier like the one seen in this space by Kate Marker. A wood-clad ceiling, appliance fronts, and flooring make for a cohesive look that allows the six-light chandelier flaunting traditional lampshades to take center stage while emphasizing the expansive island beneath.
Get the look: Visual Comfort Thomas O'Brien Piaf Grande Chandelier, $1,299
7. Create symmetry.
Sure, expansive kitchens can accommodate all of your culinary must-haves, but they also run the risk of feeling impersonal and cavernous. If there's ample room, create symmetry (always pleasing to the eye), and add drama by doubling down with two modern chandeliers. The ladies behind Studio Life/Style balance dual islands with matching light fixtures, adding loads of interest and elegance to the monochrome space.
8. Layer various light sources.
This modern kitchen by Studio McGee proves that you can layer light fixtures without making your space feel cluttered. Here, a trifecta of light sources including oil-rubbed bronze sconces, an abundance of recessed lighting, and a midcentury-inspired, frosted globe-style chandelier work together to create the perfect ambiance for every occasion. Shiplap walls, wood accents, and black doors add depth and texture.
Get the look: McGee & Co. Bistro Four Arm Chandelier, $3,200
9. Mix metal finishes.
No need to stay in one lane when it comes to metal finishes in the kitchen. This subdued cook space uses black accents — such as dark wood stools, blackened hardware, and metal windows — to accentuate the pale wood tones, while a brass and clear glass globe-style chandelier amps up the glam factor without infringing on visual real estate.
10. Tone down the contrast.
Temper a bold color palette and keep patterns in check with a slim profile kitchen chandelier. This high-energy cook space from Studio Life/Style makes the most of graphic tile, cobalt blue-lacquered cabinets, and mixed metal finishes. Needless to say, a less-is-more black chandelier that provides ample light without being over-the-top is a welcome choice.
Get the look: Apparatus Studio Twig 5, $5,800