There's a lot to consider before deciding on a dining room light. From pendant placement to chandelier size, it's important to take into account your space and existing furniture before purchasing any lighting. Start by measuring the height of your furniture and the size of your dining space to ensure your new light works perfectly. See our guide to dining room lighting below to find the ideal solution for your dining space.
Pendants: For a modern lighting solution, opt for a pendant above your dining surface. In larger spaces and open-concept rooms, you'll have more options. Switch it up with a trio of three smaller pendants for a unique look, or go with one large statement pendant for a focal point.
Chandeliers: Similar to pendants, chandeliers should align with the size of your space and dining table; a good rule to follow is chandeliers should have a diameter about a half to two-thirds the length of your table. For a modern look, consider a wide chandelier fixture above a large rectangular table. With a round table, classic crystal chandeliers and drum-shade fixtures like our Willamette light look equally elegant.
Flush-Mounts: If you're working with a small space or a casual eat-in nook in your kitchen, flush mount lights are the way to go. You can choose one that rests flush against the ceiling for rooms with low ceiling height, or opt for a semi-flush light that hangs down a couple inches for a different look. Similar to chandeliers and pendants, flush mounts should align with the size of your space as well. See our key measurements below to calculate the right size for your dining area.
Linen: Fabric linen shades create an inviting glow that's perfect for dining spaces. For brighter ambient light, choose a lighter beige or white linen. For subtle, romantic light, opt for a black linen shade.
Clear glass: A clear glass shade will illuminate your entire space with bright ambient light. A glass shade pairs best with a filament bulb—we have 50+ styles to choose from.
Opal glass: Choose an opal glass shade for plenty of bright, 360-degree light with a more diffused glow than clear glass.
Metal: A metal shade focuses the light downward, making it best for subtle, low-key lighting above your table or accent lights by a sideboard.
Ceiling Light Measurements
Diameter: Follow this rule of thumb for determining the right fixture size: add up the length and width of your room or designated dining area in feet, then convert that total into inches. For example, a room that's 14x10 feet in size (14+10=24) should have a 24-inch-wide light fixture.
Length: For ceiling lighting, it's important to consider how far down you want the fixture to hang from the ceiling. The bottom of a pendant should be 30 inches from the surface of your dining table. If you're in the process of redecorating your whole space, make sure to note the height of your new table when planning out your lighting.
Wall Sconces: For elegant accent lighting, wall sconces will set an inviting tone for your dining space. Place them above a sideboard or credenza for illuminating a buffet setup, or above a dining room fireplace mantel for a traditional feel.
Table Lamps: For a smaller dining space, consider a table lamp up to 32 inches in height on a side table or nearby bar setup. It's important to keep in mind the eye level height when sitting at the dining table; the bottom of the shade should be at eye level to prevent any glare.
For a larger option, choose one of our buffet style lamps that are up to 40-inches high and ideal for a spacious dining room. A 75-watt bulb provides ample light for the space, making a pair of buffet lamps a great complement to a single ceiling fixture.
Accent Light Measurements
Sconce Height: The most important element to keep in mind for wall sconces is the typical eye level in the space. In a hallway, sconces would be about 62-70 inches from the ground for standing eye level. However, in a dining room, the majority of the time people will be sitting, so a height around 60 inches can work.
If you're adding sconces above a mantel or sideboard, a slightly higher placement may be ideal. For rooms with ceilings above 9 feet, place sconces a bit higher at 66 to 72 inches—as long as there isn't any glare or mechanics exposed from seeing the underside of the sconce too much.
Credenza Size: Take into account the size of your credenza or sideboard when deciding on lighting. You could do a set of sconces above or on either side, or a pair of buffet lamps for a classic look. Sconces should be placed at eye level (see above), and centered as a pair above the surface, inset from the edge of the piece by a few inches.
For lamps, the height should be around two-thirds the height of whatever piece it's sitting on. However, if your sideboard or hutch is on the taller side, smaller table lamps may be ideal to prevent glare when sitting at a standard dining table.
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