Whether you are an avid entertainer or prefer quiet dinners with family, the dining room holds a special place in the home. It’s a space that offers both the excitement of entertaining, yet the intimacy of close conversation. It’s a space that often affords us the ability to put the world aside and connect over good food and conversation. Finding lighting to compliment this special space, can often be a daunting task. A light fixture is a particularly significant design element in the dining room as it not only provides light while you dine, but also has a powerful impact on the mood and ambiance of the overall space. Read on to discover our top tips for choosing the perfect dining room light fixture.
There is a lot to consider before deciding on lighting for your dining room. From pendant placement to chandelier size, it’s important to take into account your space and existing furniture. Be sure you have these measurements on hand before purchasing to ensure your new light works perfectly within your space.
Pro Tip: Follow this general rule of thumb for determining the right fixture size;
Add up the length and width of your room or designated dining area in feet, then convert that total into inches. It’s also recommended that the dimensions of the fixture should be approximately one-third of the width of the dining table. For example, a five-foot round dining table (60 inches) should have a diameter of about 20 inches; a rectangular or oval-shaped table could have a wider or elongated chandelier.
Choose the location of your main fixture wisely. A chandelier or other low-hanging fixtures should be centered over the dining table, not centered in the middle of the room. For example, if you have other furniture in the room, your table may not be exactly in the center of the space – and that’s okay. The light fixture will create a focal point centered on specific pieces of furniture, like your dining set. So be sure you have the location of your table in mind before installing your light.
Chandeliers: Chandeliers are the most obvious choice for any dining space, styles range from classic and elegant to rustic and modern. These fixtures should align with the size of your space and dining table. (Remember, a good rule to follow is that a chandelier should have a diameter of about one half to two-thirds the length of your table.)
Pendants: For a more modern lighting solution, opt for a pendant above your dining set. You can choose one large statement pendant, or switch it up with a mix of 2-3 pendants above the dining surface.
Flush-Mounts: If you’re working with a particularly small space or a casual eat-in nook in your kitchen, you should consider flush mount lighting. You can choose one that rests flush against the ceiling for rooms with low ceiling height, or opt for a semi-flush light that hangs down a couple inches for a different look. Similar to chandeliers and pendants, flush mounts should align with the size of your space.
When installing your fixtures, remember the general rule is to hang a chandelier or pendant approximately 30-36 inches over a dining table with an 8 foot ceiling height. If your ceiling is higher than 8 feet, mount the chandelier an additional 3 inches higher. As these are just general guidelines to get you started, be sure to play around with this in your space to make sure it feels right. You don’t want the chandelier blocking your view or hitting a centerpiece, but you also don’t want it set so high the light doesn’t illuminate the table properly.
The dining room is a special place in the home where we can adjust the mood based on the occasion. The room decor obviously plays a role in creating ambiance, but the amount of brightness given off by your fixtures is a key component in achieving the desired ambiance.
Pro tip for creating the desired ambiance – putting the light fixture on a dimmer switch is a great way to accommodate different levels of lighting throughout the day and based on occasion. The total wattage of all the bulbs in a fixture (a single fixture often requires multiple bulbs) should be between 200 and 400 watts
While large pendants and chandeliers are often the focal point of a dining room, it’s important to remember they may not be the only light you need. As with any great lighting design, adding layers of light can help maximize the space. For instance, wall sconces are an elegant way to add ambient lighting. These work beautifully above a sideboard or credenza for illuminating a buffet setup. Recessed lights can add extra brightness, especially in dark corners and lamps are an easy way to add depth and task lighting. Just remember to keep the bottom of your lamp shades at eye level to prevent any glare.
For more helpful tips on finding the perfect lighting plan for your dining space, or finding the right statement piece for your room, stop by our showroom to speak with one of our seasoned design specialists.