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How To Choose the Right Family Room Light Fixture

It’s so important to choose the right family room light fixture because it will be so visible. Get our tips for selecting the perfect one for your home!

This post is sponsored by Wayfair. All opinions expressed are my own based on my experience with the products and the company. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog!

My husband loves coming up with projects to do around the house.

About 7 years ago, he decided our family room needed a little something extra.

The room has 10-foot ceilings, so it was the perfect space to build coffers.

He wanted them to be a little unique so he designed square medallions at each of the intersections.

When they were done, we knew it was the perfect time to replace the light the builder had installed.

It wasn’t quite a boob light because it had a cluster of leaves at the bottom and it was a semi-flush mounted fixture.

But it was small and ugly and didn’t work in the space.

The light we were replacing was about 12-inches in diameter, so when we were looking at other light fixtures, a 20-inch drum light seemed like it would be great!

But…

Pulled back image of Minka Lavery Pendant Ceiling Lighting 1494-357, Nanti Drum, 3 Light Fixture hanging in a family room with coffered ceilings and a gas fireplace and large built in entertainment unit

Even though I loved its filigree pattern, the scale just wasn’t big enough for this large space.

If you look really close, you’ll also notice that it’s a rubbed bronze finish.

But everything else in the room was wrought iron.

Close up image of Minka Lavery Pendant Ceiling Lighting 1494-357, Nanti Drum, 3 Light Fixture hanging in a family room in front of a round mirror and fireplace

It didn’t look bad.

In fact, I really like the fixture and can’t wait to hang it in my laundry room!

But it wasn’t the right ceiling light for my family room space.

When Wayfair contacted us about a living room upgrade project, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: replace the light in this room.

However this time?

I wasn’t going to make the same mistake!

How to Choose the Right Sized Light Fixture for Your Living Room

After doing some research, I learned there’s actually a formula that you can use to figure out what size your light fixture should be!

It’s a simple formula that only requires a tape measure.

First, measure the length of your room.

Then measure the width of your room.

Now add those numbers together.

And BAM!

That’s approximately how many inches wide your light fixture should be.

How easy is that?

I got out my tape measure and the length of my room is 17-feet, 8-inches.

Then it gets a little tricky.

You see, my family room has a hallway that runs behind the couch, but it’s an open floor plan, so the coffered ceiling extends over both the family room and the hallway.

I decided to measure the width of just the family room (14′ 8″) as well as the width of the family room including the hall (19′).

When you add the length and the width of just the family room, the ideal light fixture is a little over 32 inches.

And the number when you include the hall space is just over 36.5.

I decided that I would look for light fixtures in that range of 32-36 inches wide.

Clearly my 20-inch wide drum light was way too small!

Next, it was time to figure out the best height for the fixture.

This calculation is even easier!

Multiply the height of your ceilings by 3, and that’s how many inches high your fixture should be.

So my 10-foot ceilings mean my fixture should be about 30-inches tall.

Knowing these dimensions made it easy to narrow down my choices.

Check out this article to learn even more about sizing all kinds of ceiling light fixtures,

How to Choose the Right Style of Light Fixture

Now that I knew the correct size for my family room light fixture, it was time to choose a style.

There are a few main types of ceiling light fixtures.

  • Flush mount: These lights are mounted flush to the ceiling
  • Semi-flush mount: This style of light is similar to a flush mount but includes a short down rod.
  • Chandelier: There are so many styles of chandeliers! Drum shade, crystal, wagon wheel, sputnik, empire, globe, candle, geometric, lantern, etc.
  • Ceiling fans: If you need to circulate air in your space, you may want to consider a ceiling fan.

You can get more information about the different types of ceiling light fixtures in this article.

I was able to quickly rule out three of the styles: flush mount, semi-flush mount, and a ceiling fan.

None of those options gave me both the size and/or the style I wanted.

I liked the look of my old drum light, but I was concerned that a similar drum light of the size I needed would be too visually heavy.

I also wanted a matte black or wrought iron finish.

The filters on the Wayfair website were so helpful in narrowing down my choices.

You can filter based on size, finish, style, price, shape, and even more.

Find your perfect ceiling light on Wayfair too!

Narrowing Down My Favorites for My Living Room

These are the eight chandeliers that made my initial cut.

As you can see, I was definitely drawn to a particular style!

There were only three that didn’t look like a more traditional chandelier.

One had a similar shape and style to the new lanterns in my front entry.

Another had a bit of a wagon wheel style.

And one was a drum light but with an open, airy feel to it.

It was so hard to decide!

AnnMarie helped me narrow them down even more…

You can check out all of Wayfair’s gorgeous chandeliers to find the perfect one for your home here.

The Big Reveal!

After a lot of debating.

And waffling.

I realized I kept going back to two options: an empire style chandelier and the open drum style light.

Which one did I choose?

Man on a little giant ladder installing a new chandelier in a family room

Ta da!

I decided to update my family room with this gorgeous Fedele 9-light Empire style chandelier with a light and airy feel to it.

And that beautiful drum-style chandelier? Check out where it’s going

It was too pretty to pass up, but it was only 25-inches wide so it just wasn’t big enough for my living room light.

Remember: always turn off the power at the circuit breaker box before changing a light fixture!!

We hung the new fixture so that the bottom is about 7.5 feet from the floor.

Country chic style family room with leather upholstered furniture, gas fireplace with a large round mirror, drop cloth curtains, large builtin entertainment center, and Fedele 9 - Light Candle Style Empire Chandelier hanging from coffered ceiling.

I absolutely love how it looks!

It’s the perfect size for the room: large enough to make a statement, not too large to overpower the other features of the room.

The black finish works perfectly with the mirror over the fireplace that I updated last year and my fireplace surround.

Would you believe I painted that surround with chalk paint?

You definitely won’t believe what it looked like beforehand…

Fedele 9 - Light Candle Style Empire Chandelier hanging in a family room with a large built-in entertainment center decorated for fall and coffered ceilings.

Since this chandelier has such an open feel to it, you can still see the decor on all the shelves of my built-in entertainment center.

Even the stuff on the very top.

Fedele 9 - Light Candle Style Empire Chandelier hanging in a family room with coffered ceilings and a front entry hall and stairway filled with gallery walls.

I really loved the large lantern-style light, but I didn’t want all the lights to look too matchy-matchy.

Just like when I coach my clients about choosing outfits for the family photos: instead of trying to all match, my lighting all coordinates.

The black chandelier and lanterns also really complement the gallery wall frames in my front entry.

Everyone Loves a Before and After!

Finding the perfect light fixture for my living room was so easy thanks to Wayfair.

To see just how much of a difference this update made to the space, here’s a side-by-side comparison.

Side by side comparison of a country chic family room with coffered ceilings, gas fireplace, and large built-in entertainment center showing the difference a light fixture can make.

So what do you think?

Did I make the right choice?

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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Carolyn Patrinicola

Friday 17th of September 2021

Love your choice and advice for size! This is true for all spaces. We chose a larger foyer light than many do and love look! Same thing in our kitchen! Love your new hall and foyer lights too! Ceiling lights have always been big in all rooms, in the south and many older homes! Size info and distance from furniture beneath is another topic people need to know! I see so many pictures too high over sofas and tables!❤️

AnnMarie

Sunday 19th of September 2021

Anne's new light is just perfect for her family room. The style looks so pretty with their gorgeous coffered ceilings. Thanks for reading and always supporting our blog Carolyn! Have a great week! :)

Beth

Friday 17th of September 2021

The larger size looks great! I would not have noticed the different finish, but since you point it out I think the finish on the new chandelier is much more compatible.

AnnMarie

Sunday 19th of September 2021

I agree sometimes you don't notice until you get something you love even more for the space. Hope you are doing great Beth! Thanks for reading the blog and supporting us. :)