Where we choose to display a grandfather clock requires careful thought to maximize its visual impact while supporting its unique needs. This comprehensive room-by-room guide examines both the aesthetic appeal and functional considerations of placing grandfather clocks in various home settings.
Read on to discover creative grandfather clock repurposing ideas, solutions for minimizing disruptive chimes, the effects of temperature fluctuations on accuracy, and critical advice for protecting antique clocks from moisture damage.
You’ll also find an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of locating these statement timepieces in entryways, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
Whether you already own a grandfather clock or are still looking for the perfect spot, this article explores the ins and outs of positioning these gorgeous clocks to enhance your décor and daily life.
Tips for placing a grandfather clock
- Consider climate control needs – Grandfather clocks are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity which can affect timekeeping accuracy and damage the wood. Position the clock away from frequently opened doors, ensure adequate ventilation, use moisture protection treatments, etc.
- Mind the chimes – The clocks’ chimes, while part of their charm, may be disruptive in some rooms like bedrooms. Utilize any silent/night mode features or manually stop the pendulum.
- Evaluate potential damage risks – Avoid placing the clock in high-traffic zones where people may bump into it. Choose sturdy models for tight spaces. Keep away from cooking areas to prevent splatters, heat, and grease exposure.
- Use creatively as storage – Repurpose the cabinet as storage for kitchen items or bathroom essentials by removing clockworkers. Adds unique flair.
- Ensure accessibility – Pick a spot where the clock remains visible and within reach for regular winding, maintenance, and repairs. Don’t block access.
- Consider visual impact – Place where the clock can shine as a focal point. Entryway placement shows off the clock to the greatest effect as guests enter.
The entryway is a top choice for many grandfather clock owners. This public space allows the clock to shine as the focal point without competition from other furniture. Grandfather clocks often have a commanding presence that fills the entryway beautifully on their own.
Positioning the clock by the front door also enables guests to admire it as soon as they step inside. The entryway placement shows off the clock to maximum effect.
In addition, the openness of the entryway allows the clock’s chimes to resonate through the home. Those who enjoy the Westminster chimes will appreciate how well they carry when the clock sits by the front door.
However, the entryway can pose some functional challenges for grandfather clocks. This high-traffic area tends to experience significant temperature and humidity fluctuations as the door opens and closes. These environmental changes can affect the clock’s timekeeping accuracy.
During winter, cold drafts may cause the pendulum to swing more slowly and lose time. In summer, heat and humidity will speed up the pendulum, making the clock run fast. Expect the clock to lose or gain up to one minute per week depending on the season.
If your entryway has a high volume of coming and going, also consider the potential for damage. Guests may inadvertently bump into the longcase while walking past it in a cramped space. Choose a clock with a sturdy cabinet to withstand occasional knocks.
The living room is another excellent contender for grandfather clock placement. This formal space provides an ideal backdrop for displaying the stately antique style of most grandfather clocks.
For homeowners who want the clock to blend in with the rest of the decor, the living room offers flexibility. The clock can act as a bridge between the style of the living room and an adjoining space, such as a family room. For example, an oak case clock can coordinate with traditional furnishings while its distressed painted finish ties into a cottage-style family area.
If the grandfather clock has sentimental value but no longer works properly, the living room is an ideal place to repurpose it. Keep the stationary clock as a decorative furniture piece that contributes to the room’s cohesive look.
The main downside to putting a clock in the living room is potential sound disruption during gatherings. Chimes striking on the quarter-hour may distract conversation. Select a clock with a silent option or plan to stop the pendulum before hosting larger groups.
Incorporating a grandfather clock in the dining room introduces a dramatic vertical element. The eye is drawn upward, making the space feel more open and grand. This illusion of added height is especially helpful for dining rooms crowded with furniture and groups of people.
The dining room clock can also double as a conversation piece that adds character to the room. Mealtimes feel more enriched and relaxed with a handsome timepiece keeping company in the background.
However, grandfather clocks and dining spaces are not always an ideal match. The most significant constraint is proximity to kitchen heat, grease, and humidity. Anything that can potentially splash onto the clock—or the savory aromas of cooking food—should be avoided. Situate the dining room clock as far from the kitchen as possible.
Another consideration is the dining room’s frequent use and crowded quarters during meals. Guests seated around the table may bump into or brush against the clock, risking damage. And a longcase positioned too closely behind chairs can make seating uncomfortable and awkward.
At first glance, the kitchen may seem like an unusual place for a grandfather clock. But repurposing the clock’s cabinet as storage can be a smart solution for compact kitchens.
Remove the clock workings and turn the hollow case into a specialized niche for infrequently used items. The versatile storage might hold large platters, bulky small appliances like mixers, or wine bottles.
The clock’s tall rectangular cabinet is ideal for storing awkwardly shaped objects that are difficult to place in standard kitchen cabinets. And displaying your beautiful clock keeps it out in the open where you can enjoy looking at it.
But grandfather clock designs don’t inherently mesh well with most kitchen decors. To make the look cohesive, select a clock case that coordinates with your cabinets. For example, an antique painted dial paired with a refinished cabinet can fit nicely into a cottage or farmhouse kitchen.
As in the dining room, the kitchen’s humidity and heat require placing the clock a prudent distance from cooking surfaces. Avoid spots where the clock is likely to get grease splatters on it from the stove.
Installing a grandfather clock in the bathroom is an unconventional choice but can definitely work. The idea offers a surprising decorative twist to enliven a small or windowless bathroom needing pizzazz.
An antique-style clock makes a great focal point, especially when positioned by a bathtub. The peaceful ticking provides pleasant ambiance during long soaks.
For bathrooms with tight storage, removing the clock innards converts the case into a handy towel holder or cabinet for bath essentials. Concealing these items keeps the room looking uncluttered.
Moisture resistance is the biggest functional concern when putting a clock in a bathroom. Due to high humidity, any wood furniture requires diligent protection and maintenance in this environment. Apply a marine-grade varnish to the case to minimize swelling and warping. Check frequently for signs of damage from moisture.
Consider whether a water-resistant modern clock is a wiser long-term choice than using an antique. And never install the clock directly in the path of a shower or where dripping water could penetrate the case. Proper ventilation and moisture control are imperative.
Some homeowners enjoy the romance of a grandfather clock tucked into a corner of the master bedroom or guest room. The stately antique style can complement a traditional bedroom beautifully. And the clock’s gentle ticking and chimes promote a soothing, restful environment for sleep.
However, the chiming sequences can also prove disruptive when you’re trying to rest. Most modern grandfather clocks have a night silence option to turn off chimes between specified hours. If your antique clock lacks this feature, you may want to stop the pendulum manually overnight.
For light sleepers, the ticking and chiming may be too distracting no matter what. The bedroom is not recommended for clocks that cannot be silenced as needed.
As with bathrooms, bedrooms should have proper climate control for housing an antique wood clock. Exposure to excess humidity risks damage to the cabinet. Ensure adequate ventilation and moisture reduction.
Achieving Tick-Tock Bliss: Optimal Grandfather Clock Positioning
- Pay attention to wall construction if recessing a grandfather clock into a niche – the wall depth needs to accommodate the clock’s full depth.
- When moving a grandfather clock between floors, transport it upright rather than laying flat to avoid tangling chains/cables. Remove weights/pendulums first.
- Older antique clocks may require specialized antique clock repairmen, which may be difficult to find in rural areas. Consider this for maintenance.
- Newer clocks often have more readily available replacement parts and better serviceability than antique clocks.
- Clocks with access panels on the sides can be difficult to service if recessed into a niche.
- For kitchen installation, select a clock case that coordinates well with your existing cabinetry for a cohesive look.
- In a bathroom, a water-resistant modern clock may be a wiser choice than an antique for moisture resistance. In a bedroom, ensure the clock can be silenced overnight either through a shut-off feature or by manually stopping the pendulum.
Selecting the ideal room for your grandfather clock requires balancing aesthetics, functionality, and personal lifestyle. Clocks that will be used more as decorative statements have greater placement flexibility than those relied on for accurate timekeeping.
Take into account traffic flow, noise, and interior design harmony to choose a location suited to both your clock and household habits. Position your handsome heirloom timepiece where you can best enjoy its beauty, sound, and legacy over generations to come.