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How to Choose Dining Room Lighting in 5 Steps

April 30, 2014

How to Choose Dining Room Lighting in 5 Steps

Having a dining room is a real treat. It allows intimate dining and provides a lot of opportunity for stylish design. One thing that especially adds personality is lighting. Dining room lighting can make or break a room, so it’s important to get it right. That’s why we’ve set up a 5 step plan for you. If you don’t quite know how to choose dining room lighting, just follow these 5 points and you’ll find it a lot easier.


1. Figure out a lighting plan:

Choosing dining room lighting isn’t as straight-forward as just getting some nice pendants. Firstly, you need to think about where to place what lights and what specific task they have. Naturally, dining room lights above the table are there to light that particular object. The total wattage of these should be between 200 and 400 watts. That will provide enough light to see what you’re eating, plus create a nice ambience. However, things don’t stop there, especially if you have a larger dining room. Are the lights above your table powerful enough to double as general lighting? Have you thought about using more subtle accent lights to create mood effects? Map out what you want with at least a basic lighting plan. You can read more about how to create one here.


2. Decide what atmosphere you want to go for:

Just like any other room in your house, a dining room reaches its full potential if it has a clear purpose and atmosphere. Would you like the place where you dine to be calm, lively, relaxed, bohemian or comfortable? Dining room lighting can really help in emphasising this. You can choose to go for one of these elements or mix them up. If you go for the latter, do make sure everything is balanced out nicely. All colour walls and furniture would make just one white pendant look very out of place, for example.


3. Choose a style which fits:

The style of your new lighting should complement your preferred atmosphere and style. If you’re adding new dining room lights to an existing room, we advise you to match it as well as possible. (Even for eclectic interiors this is a must.) If you choose something from a completely different style, you’re in danger of ruining the atmosphere you’re trying to emphasise. This is not to say you can’t have a little contrast – the black and green pendants in the image below really add a point of interest in the generally white area. However, these  
warehouse style pendant lights stay perfectly in sync with the industrial style of the floor, chairs and accessories.


4. Place your dining room lighting at the right height:

Moving on from style and planning, a more practical but equally important point is to place your lighting at the right height. As you will have thought about in your lighting plan, a good room has multiple layers to make it interesting.  Typically, task lighting in the form of pendants are usually hung about 30" to 36" above the surface of the table. If you want to use pendant lighting as general lighting, hang them a bit higher. As for accent lighting, the key is to vary in height and please, not too bright. For example, use tripod lamps to brighten up dull corners and recessed lighting to highlight artwork. This will make sure your dining room is an interesting room to sit in rather than just a place to eat.


5. Choose the right size for your light:

Another practical one, but important if you want to maintain a balanced look. The most important thing here is, again, your dining room lights. A good rule of thumb is to pick a pendant light that is about half of the width of your table. With accent lighting you can experiment a bit more, but make sure they’re in check with the furniture around them. For example, don’t hang a tiny pendant next to a giant display cabinet. It would look disproportionate. General lighting usually can be a bit bigger, but again, keep in mind how it would look compared to the other furniture and lighting in the room.


We hope you learnt how to choose dining room lighting well with these five steps. When you’ve chosen the perfect one, please drop us a line about it in the comments. We love hearing people’s experiences!


 (Image 1 via shelterness, image 2 via homedsgn, image 3 & 5 via digsdigs, image 4 via sfgirlbybay, image 6 via interiorholic)

Blog Tags: At Home,

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