The kitchen is often described as “the heart of the home.” However, the same can also be said for dining rooms. Why? Because dining rooms are inherent gathering places for a home’s residents and guests and lighting is a major factor in making sure these gatherings are as inviting as possible.
Here’s a closer look at why dining room lighting matters, along with which types of lighting are ideal for these spaces.
Lighting for Functionality and Ambiance
Whether you’re planning an intimate anniversary dinner for two or a festive graduation brunch for 12, your dining room will play a central role in determining the atmosphere of the event. In addition to the furniture, color scheme, tableware, decorations, and food, lighting directly influences the ambiance of your dining room.
Of course, lighting is about more than style. It also allows diners to see the food (and each other) while they’re eating. Furthermore, modern dining rooms are often used as multipurpose spaces in which residents do everything from pay bills to play board games, so lighting must also accommodate these tasks.
The takeaway? In addition to setting the mood, the functionality should also be taken into account in lighting design, which requires equally varying degrees and types of light.
The Importance of Overhead Lighting
The most important dining room lighting fixture is the one over the table. Overhead lighting serves three main functions – illuminating the dining space, establishing visual appeal, and demarcating the dining area in open concept spaces.
Depending on your individual aesthetic, you have many options when it comes to choosing an overhead lighting style. For example, in more traditional homes, an elegant chandelier may add dazzling drama, while track, drum, lantern, pendant, and multi-pendant lighting may be suitable for more contemporary dining rooms.
The layout and size of your space also affect which lighting options are ideal. For example, in rooms with lower ceilings, flush and semi-flush fixtures can make a bold statement without overpowering the space. And if your dining room isn’t wired for overhead lighting, try incorporating arc floor lamps instead.
Whichever type of overhead light you choose, don’t underestimate the value of a dimmer switch. A dimmer allows you to easily alter the look – and feel – of the room depending on the occasion.
It’s also essential to factor in the size of the table while shopping for ambient lighting for your dining room. Designer Russell Groves told Architectural Digest that while there doesn’t have to be a direct geometrical correlation, there should be “some proportional consideration.” For example, an overly large chandelier may overpower a small table, while a petite fixture will look silly over a massive one.
Beyond the Table
The dining room is not immune from the basic principle of lighting design; layered lighting produces the best, and most versatile, results. Accent lighting in the form of wall sconces and downlights may not provide the same degree of illumination as overhead lights, but this isn’t usually their purpose. Rather, they have the power to supplement the glow provided by overhead lighting while drawing attention to other areas of the room, such as artwork or a special architectural feature.
Lastly comes task lighting in the form of table and floor lamps, which can be used to light a buffet or sideboard, or to add light to a darker spot in the room.
One last tip when choosing dining room lighting? Creating warm, welcoming light is not just about the fixture, but also about the bulbs you use. The wrong wattage can generate heat, cause a harsh glare, and detract from the visual richness of the space. HGTV suggests that a dining room’s total lighting should fall within the 3,000 to 6,000 lumens range
Your dining room is the perfect place to spend time with family and friends and enjoy great food. With the right lighting, you can enhance the style and ambiance of your space to create the ideal backdrop for entertaining.
Lauren Russell, Website Director for FLCSelect.com, Head of Internet Sales.
Fashion Light Center specializes in high end, decorative residential interior and exterior lighting and ceiling fans.