How to Light Your Dining Room

Frontgate | How to Light Your Dining Room

Often considered the heart of the home, the dining room is a place for gathering and entertaining. It’s a place where we connect with the ones we love over good food and good conversation. While we often think of the table as the star of the dining room, the lighting is a close second. The light fixture you choose for your dining room has a much more important job than simply lighting the room – it serves as a personal design statement, reinforcing the room’s aesthetic.

Overhead Lighting

Dining tables and the light fixtures that hang above them should be complementary; together they should tell a design story. There are several different types of overhead fixtures available.

Like jewelry for your dining room, these stunning fixtures will steal the spotlight. Shining down from overhead, chandeliers are the classic choice for dining room lighting. Make sure that the chandelier you choose aligns with the size of your table so the scale of your room isn’t off kilter. The next section explains how and what to measure.

Pendants are a modern way to take your dining room to new heights. They can be hung individually or in a group of two or three, which offers an opportunity to play with size and scale. So, whether you are aiming for a grand or understated approach, pendants are the perfect dining room fixture.

Flush Mount
If a subtler, more casual approach is what you prefer, a flush mount above your table might be the right move. Flush mounts offer a softer glow than chandeliers and pendants, so if a well-lit room is what you’re after, additional lighting may be needed. If you want to take your flush mount fixture up a couple notches, opt for a semi flush, which drops down just enough to add some glamour.

Frontgate | How to Light Your Dining Room

Ceiling Light Measurements

Before hanging a ceiling light you’ll want to make sure it’s just right. Here are some key measurements to note.

The height of your ceiling fixture can make all the difference in a dining room’s design. If you hang your light too high, your table and light will look like separate entities; too low and guests won’t be able to see each other. If you have traditional 8-foot ceilings, it is recommended that the bottom of the light fixture hang about 30–36 inches above the table’s surface. For every additional foot of height your ceiling has, mount your chandelier 3 inches higher.

With so many sizes of pendants and chandeliers, it can be daunting to know what will fit your needs. To avoid your light fixture being too small or too large, follow this simple formula.

Measure (in feet) the length and width of your room, and then add those numbers together. Convert that number to inches and you will have the ideal diameter of your light fixture.

Example: If your dining room is 10′ x 12′, 10 + 12 = 22, so a 22-inch-wide light fixture will be perfect.

However, if you already have a table selected, the diameter of your chandelier should be about one-half to three-quarters the width of your table.

Frontgate | How to Light Your Dining Room

Lighting Around the Room

Sconces are the perfect way to balance out a buffet or bar. Place one on either side for a symmetrical glow. Sconces can even be used above mirrors or wall art to cast light down on them. Use sconces to bring in a new design element or to complement the aesthetic of other lighting fixtures in the room.

Table Lamps
Table lamps can be placed on buffets, sideboards or bars as accent lighting. While they’re not likely to light up the entire dining room, they are a great option for highlighting areas not captured by overhead lighting. Plus, they help create cozy ambience, which is highly sought after when dining in the evening.

Floor Lamps
Most think every dining table needs lighting overhead; however, a floor lamp is a fantastic alternative. A floor lamp with an arc can help mimic the cast of light given by a ceiling fixture. And they don’t just need to be near the table. Placing them around the room can help illuminate corners that feel dim or neglected.

Explore our selection of lighting to help you transform your dining room, or contact our Design Services to help bring your vision to life. And for a more comprehensive lighting guide, head to our Lighting 101 blog.

March 8, 2023