Guidebook: Dining Room Lighting

Traditionally, a dining room is a place to enjoy meals – whether used strictly for formal meals or for everyday dinners. But for many, the dining room has become a multi-purpose room. It may double as a craft area, a work space, or an activity area for kids.

No matter what you use it for, the right lighting is key. To maximize the ambience and functionality of your dining room, we’ve gathered together everything you need for perfect lighting:

Chandeliers

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A chandelier over the dining room table is the most common choice for dining room lighting. If your chandelier is the only lighting source in your dining room, you’ll want a fixture with at least 4 light bulbs to ensure generous illumination.

The size of your chandelier can vary according to your table size and whether you’d like your lighting to make a statement, or seamlessly blend in to complement another focal point in the room. For a round dining table, look for a fixture anywhere from one-third to two-thirds the size of your dining room table. So for a 60” diameter table, look for a chandelier between 20-40 inches wide. For an oval or rectangular table, you can choose a chandelier anywhere between one-half and three-quarters the width of your table. Just keep in mind that you want a fixture that is at least twelve inches smaller than your table’s width to prevent any head bumps.

When hanging your chandelier, keep your fixture between 30 to 34 inches above the table. This ensures a cozy and inviting atmosphere while making sure the chandelier won’t block anyone’s views.

Pendants

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For an nontraditional twist on dining room lighting, try replacing your chandelier with one or more pendants. For a smaller or round table, you could hang one oversized pendant in the center of the table. If you have a rectangular or oblong table, you could hang multiple pendants down the center of the table.

When determining proper measurements for the size of the pendants, stick to the same guidelines as recommended above for chandeliers.

Wall Lighting

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Wall sconces provide an excellent secondary lighting option in a dining room. Choose a sconce with a single or double light and with exposed bulbs or covered shades, depending on the style of your dining room and chandelier.

When hanging a sconce, make sure it’s installed between 65-70 inches from the floor. If you want to put sconces on either side of a painting or mirror, make sure to leave about 2 inches between the wall hanging and the edge of the lighting fixture.

Lighting Tips

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As with all rooms, your dining room will provide more versatility and a more inviting ambience if you create layers of light. If your dining room layout doesn’t allow for wall lighting, table or floor lamps can create a similar effect.

Also, a dimmer can be a helpful addition to all dining room lighting. Dimmers give you the flexibility to adjust the brightness of the light according to your needs. This is especially handy if your dining room doubles as a workspace or craft area.

For more information on selecting the perfect light bulbs for your dining room, read our guide to understanding color temperature.

Read more:

How to Choose the Right Chandelier for Your Dining Room

Guidebook: Bathroom Lighting

Lighting Education

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