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A Step by Step Guide to Dining Room Lighting

A Step By Step Guide To Dining Room Lighting

When decorating a space, you have to keep the room’s primary function in mind and choose elements accordingly. For your dining room, you would need a sturdy and durable table with some comfortable chairs. The dining set alone takes up over half the space – what’s that one element (or multiple) that you can incorporate based on your style and aesthetic? The lighting fixture.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner or it’s just a weeknight with your family, the lighting over your dining table sets the mood. There are several factors to consider before deciding on a particular element. From room dimensions to fixture measurements and existing features to a personal aesthetic. Homeowners have to be thorough when installing lighting elements.

Here’s a step by step guide to installing and choosing dining room lighting most suited to your space.

Step 1: Existing Features

Warm and Cozy Living Room

Credits: Renonation, Space Atelier

You could either be looking to incorporate a lighting element with existing decor or looking to completely revamp your dining room. In either case, certain existing features have to be taken into consideration before installing a lighting fixture.

Let’s go over the details in either case:

Case 1: Incorporating a lighting element with existing decor:

Proportions, proportions, and proportions!

You might have always wanted a chandelier in your dining space and have your heart set out on a large crystal piece. However, designers recommend scaling elements to proportions when incorporating a new element with existing features. 

This isn’t necessarily to deter you from having a chandelier, rather consider sizing so that it does not overwhelm the space. A larger than life lighting element in a humble dining room catches attention alright – but not for the reasons you would think. It’s more obstructive than it is decorative. Central lighting fixtures have to be such that they maintain visual balance.

Tip: Scale the fixture to roughly three-quarters of the width of the table. Too big and it’ll look overwhelming, too little and it’ll look underwhelming. Once you have the sizing down, maintain its height roughly 30 inches above the top of your dining room in a standard room or three inches above for higher ceilings.

Case 2: Completely revamping your dining room:

If you’re starting with a clean slate – as in taking out everything in your dining room and redecorating, you would have to go a step ahead and measure your dining room dimensions.

Tip: Add up the length and width of your dining space in feet and then convert them into inches. This measurement is the width of your central lighting element.

For example; if your room measures at about 12×14 feet, you add them up to get 26 and consider it as 26 inches which would be the width of your lighting feature. As far as how down you want your feature to hang, the same rule applied for 30 inches above the top of your dining table. 

Step 2: Determining Shape

Layered Living Room Lighting

Credits: Renopedia, FineLine

Concurrent with balancing proportions, you would also have to balance shapes before setting your heart on a central lighting feature. Over at Light Atelier, we have a range of shapes for chandeliers, pendant lights, and all sorts of lighting features that complement your dining room features.

Try to imagine a circular table with a linear suspension over it, doesn’t sound quite right does it? Now imagine a rectangular table with a circular chandelier? It’s a game of mixing stripes with polka dots. You have to consider the shape of your fixture and how it would look next to the shape of the dining table.

Step 3: Choosing the Right Chandelier or Pendant Light

Vintage Chandelier Light

Get This Look: Adair Vintage Metal Candlestick Chandelier Light

If you’re looking to create the ideal dining room experience, you’d undoubtedly have to have a central lighting element. Accent lights are to go complimentary with it. With central elements, you have either one of two options: chandeliers or pendant lights. 

A multi-light chandelier creates an even light distribution over the dining room table. It sets the mood and tone for the people sitting below it. Chandeliers are supposed to align with the size of your dining space and not overwhelm it. Classic crystal chandeliers pair well with oval or circular dining tables and wider fixtures go well with rectangular tables.

Tip: The diameter of a chandelier should be a half or two-thirds of the length of the table and installed 30 inches from the top of the table. 

Pendants are more diverse lighting options. They come in a range of styles from mono-pendants to mini-pendants and multi-rail pendants. They can opt for modern dining rooms and open-concept spaces.

Step 4: Adding Accent Lighting

Gorgeous Globe Light

Shop This Product: Onslowe Tasteful Globe Glass Table Lamp

Accent lights are complementary features that add to your central lighting feature. They create a glow at the edges of the room for a cozier feel. Nevertheless, in some cases, they might serve more than the role of an adjunct in a room.

Common options for accent lighting are wall scones and table lamps. The former is elegant lighting solutions with a range of options to choose from. Wall sconces can be installed over mantels, sideboards, or fireplaces to set an inviting tone.

Table lamps are diverse lighting solutions that go well in any corner of the room. They can be placed at the corners of the room or on tabletops for drinks and dessert. A general rule is that while your guests are sitting at the table, their eye level should be at the bottom of the shade to prevent any glare or strain.

Tip: Accent lights such as wall scones should be installed about 60 inches from the ground to prevent glare. This height is the minimum height to keep eye level at the bottom of the shade while sitting at the table. For table lamps, this height should be two-thirds the height of where it’s placed. 

Step 5: Dimmers

Pendant Light with Dimmer

Credits: Renopedia, The Interior Lab

A dimmer is an electrical feature that alters the intensity of light. There might be times when you want the light to be brighter such as when giving a toast and then there are times when you want it to be dimmer such as while having dessert. 

In either case, all lighting is better on a dimmer. It allows you to control how you want the light to layer in the room from central features to accent lights.

Tip: Keep the chandeliers at a dimmer intensity and supplement with accent lights.


From having friends over to a weeknight with your family, your dining room sets the mood for any sort of gathering and as such requires the perfect lighting to go along with it. After following this step by step guide, you’ll have a dining room fit to host the royal family.