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How do I Choose the Best Vintage Chandelier?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

A vintage chandelier can introduce a touch of elegance, whimsy, or eclecticism to a room. As vintage fixtures are widely available, however, choosing the best one for you can be a daunting task. To select the right vintage chandelier, begin by studying the room in which it will hang to determine what size fixture would best suit it. Then, decide what style of chandelier you would like, taking into consideration the architectural details of your home. Finally, narrow down your choices by setting a maximum price point before you begin shopping.

Begin your vintage chandelier quest by studying the room in which the fixture will be installed to establish a preferred size. Keep in mind that a large fixture can overpower a small room, while a sizable room can dwarf a small fixture. As a general rule, therefore, the size of your chandelier should be directly proportional to the scale of your room. Be sure to factor in the room’s height, as a long chandelier hung in a low-ceilinged room can lead to bumped heads. If you are planning to mount your chandelier directly over a dining table, however, you may be able to use a relatively low-hanging fixture.

Woman posing
Woman posing

After establishing a preferred size for your vintage chandelier, decide what style would best suit both the room in which it will hang and your home as a whole. Consider the architectural style of your home as well as the furnishings of the room in which you want to install the fixture. Then, choose a chandelier style which complements those elements. For instance, a fixture with intricate scrollwork, frosted glass shades, and a brass finish may look best in a Victorian-style home, while a piece heavily adorned with crystal pendants may suit a room decorated in Paris flea market style. If you are unsure of your home’s period, try browsing interior design books and websites to gain a better understanding of design styles.

Once you have decided on a size and style for your vintage chandelier, you should further narrow your choices by setting a maximum price point. The cost of vintage fixtures varies extensively, and price can depend on many factors, including the piece’s age, its condition, and the materials it is made from. If you find you cannot afford a working chandelier in your preferred style, consider buying a non-working piece and bringing it to a lighting shop for reconditioning. Alternatively, it is often possible to save money by buying a good-quality reproduction piece which closely resembles your desired vintage chandelier.

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