How Important is Dining Room Lighting?

How Important is Dining Room Lighting?

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Is there any evidence that the wrong dining room lighting fixture can ruin your dinner? If you live in my household, the clear answer is, yes! What?!

To my fellow foodies out there hopefully, you can feel my pain. I have been blessed and cursed with being married to an electrical lighting snob. Don’t get me wrong, he is my world, but I have been banned from eating at a few restaurants, why?  And I quote, “A food establishment should understand proper lighting; we as a family will not be dining at their tables until they use lighting correctly.” 

Since marriage is all about compromise occasionally, we will grab take out from the awful lite restaurants and enjoy their food in our own candlelit outside dining table.

An Architect's Perspective on Lighting

To my surprise during a visit at a designers private showing; an architect ranted on her number one customer complaint, lighting. Residential and commercial projects alike were drawn to lighting that would not flatter her designs.

In fact, she is a lighting specialist and had photos as proof that a minor change of choosing the right fixtures could have evaluated the completed projects to magazine-worthy images.

Her portfolio was impressive, and she made a convincing argument that her clients ruined her free publicitythe nerve!

Of course, dining room lighting was at the top of her list. Dining rooms are a place for family gatherings, fantastic food, card games, and the list goes on and on. So let’s learn a few things from these professionals.

Dining Room Lighting

Dining room lighting is probably the most critical lighting inside a home, and it’s easy to understand why. People should view their dining room lighting fixture above their table as the focal point of the room.

In other words, the design of your fixture could totally throw off your décor. If it sounds a little intimating, its because it is.  Lastly, most people get it wrong! 

Dining room lighting
Incorrect Style
dining room lighting height
Wrong Height
dining room lighting too small
Too Small

Why? They purchase their lighting fixture without first receiving guidance to help them choose the right size, shape, and style. Next, they hang their dining room lighting fixture at the wrong height. Even if the right fixture were purchased, it would not illuminate the room to its fullest potential.

First, you need to understand your current lighting situation and what is still lacking.

Lighting Fixtures Provide a Task

To properly light your dining room, you need to plan according to the needs of the room. For example, if your room lacks natural light, you may need to consider adding additional lighting to brighten the entire space. Maybe add task lighting, above artwork, or place a pair of table lamps on your buffet. These would be better choices than merely purchasing the wrong fixture to light the entire room.

Creating Your Ambiance 

We need to prioritize what is your main objective. Of course, your goal should be to find a fixture that fits into your décor. 

However, you need to consider the amount of lighting you are seeking from the dining room fixture itself. In other words, there is a big difference between an installation which can provide a well-lit space to one which is intimate and romantic.

Understanding your needs will narrow down your dining room fixture search. Keep in mind that the light bulbs required for each fixture can make a difference as well. The wattage and color can assist in creating the right mood.

photo lighting

Consider The Table Size and Shape

So, let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Do not purchase a small fixture if you have a large table. A small fixture will look entirely lacking (aka dumb), while an oversized design will overpower your table and rudely block your view. Keep in mind it is helpful to view your space from different angles.

The rule of thumb for the correct diameter is approximately one-half to two-thirds the width of the table.

Pendant lighting

Round and Square Tables

Round and square tables usually work best with a pendant or single chandelier. However, if you choose to be more daring, a few precautions should be taken into consideration to make your design choice fit in.

Oval or Rectangular Tables

Your goal should be to create balance and an excellent choice to accomplish that would be to go with a linear pendant or paired fixtures.These would ensure to provide ample lighting for the entire table.

Long lighting fixture

Dining Room Lighting Styles

Before you go splurging on a fancy crystal chandelier it’s important to STOP and consider your overall décor style. Even if your home is made up of hand me downs or you’re just beginning to furnish it you should begin by keeping the end goal in mind.

Home Décor can be likened to a giant complex puzzle. Instead of trying to force pieces where they don’t belong, try to picture the “puzzle or in this case, the space” as a completed project.

A dining room chandelier is the focal point and helps create the picture or “look” of your finish space. Besides these days, there are so many different lighting styles to choose from, finding a chandelier that complements your room will not be an impossible task.

I’ve rounded up some trending styles below to provide you with some guidance.  As you can see from my choices, you can change the look of your room dramatically.  Personally, I recommend Hayneedle due to their extensive lighting inventory and free return policy.  They cater to those that would like to stay within budget as well as those who seek a luxury product.  

Boehmian dining room lighting
Bohemian
farmhouse dining room lighting
Farmhouse
Drum lighting
Traditional
Modern dining room lighting
Modern
Industrial dining room lighting
Industrial
Glam dining room lighting
Glam

Dining Room Lighting Fixture Height Above Table

Now, let’s talk height, which is a pet peeve of mine…. 

I wish I could provide you with standard hanging height for all lighting fixtures but unfortunately it’s impossible. In researching this article I did come across various websites specifying some guidelines; however, I disagree with their logic.

The following are my suggestions:

  • The installation should be hung to avoid staring directly underneath or above the light bulbs if it contains a shade or drum.
  • Similar to artwork the main body of the fixture should be at a comfortable eye-level.
  • The bottom of the fixture should not block your view across the table when sitting.

In Conclusion

Your dining room plays a role in your home and needs to function and work for entertaining socially. This is where you will host guests, serve delicious meals and hopefully enjoy lots of laughter.

 Don’t let the wrong dining room fixture cast down harsh light on your faces or make your meals not look as appealing. 

By applying a few of these lighting industry principles, you can really make an impact on your overall décor. Let’s not ruin your chance to make the right statement with the focal point in your room. If you’re still in need of some décor advice, you may find it helpful to review my post on Best Home Improvements To Raise Your Home Value or Ways To Decorate A Large Living Room Wall.

For more home styling tips and tricks drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company.

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