The dining room in your home is a unique space, in that it may only get used as a formal dining spot a few times each year. The rest of the time, it’s a place where the kids do their homework or you sit down to pay bills (if you don’t have a dedicated home office). However, if you want to reclaim your dining room and make it a beautiful space where you can entertain friends and family on a regular basis, then it’s best to start with a new lighting design!
At Southern Lights, we can help you find the perfect dining room lighting, no matter how big or small your space. With everything from chandeliers and wall sconces to lighting controls, we can provide you with the fixtures and accessories you need to create the dining space you’ve always wanted. Visit our showroom today to get started, or look through our online catalog for inspiration!
The ambient, or general, lighting in a dining room usually comes from a chandelier hanging above the table. This large fixture is responsible for providing illumination for the entire room, and it should be sized appropriately so that there’s plenty of light around the entire space. We’ll talk later about finding the right chandelier, but first, it’s important to consider how tall the dining room ceiling is and if it’s vaulted, and whether or not you want a chandelier as an ambient light source.
Island lights can also be good choices for dining room lighting, as they are often rectangular and can match the linear structure of your dining table. If you have a round or oval dining table, then consider a globe pendant or similar fixture to go above the table.
The chandelier, pendant, or island light has taken care of your ambient lighting, but what about the accent lighting? Wall sconces are a common choice, as they bring lighting to the middle of the room and can make the space feel more intimate. The sconces should match the ambient fixture as much as possible, but it’s important not to feel limited because of that. If you find sconces that you absolutely love, see if they have any designs or finishes that complement your overhead fixture.
Lamps are also an option when it comes to dining room accent lighting. A floor lamp in the corner can cast light upwards, or you can go with a small table or desk lamp on your hutch or china cabinet. Whichever you choose, make sure the cords are hidden and don’t pose a tripping hazard as people enter or exit the room. The right accent lighting should blend seamlessly into the space, making it more inviting.
Task lighting isn’t commonly found in the dining room, since the ambient and accent fixtures provide plenty of illumination for eating, drinking, and conversation. If you use the room for paperwork, or the kids use it for homework, you will likely find that the overhead light is sufficient to help avoid eye strain and fatigue.
However, this isn’t to say you can’t have task fixtures in the dining room. If the room is large enough, you may have a sideboard or buffet where you serve food and drinks. Placing a small lamp on the surface will help people see as they fill their plates or go for another cocktail.
Style is at the top of many a homeowner’s mind as they start redesigning their dining room. You want a space that fits your personality and also appeals to guests when they come over for dinner. Lighting styles run the gamut from simple to extravagant, and our experienced team can help you find the appropriate look and feel for your home.
When searching for a new dining room chandelier, there are two things to keep in mind — the dimensions of the room and how big your dining table is. A chandelier that’s too large for the room can make everything else seem small by comparison, plus it will likely provide too much light for the space. A fixture that’s too small will have the opposite problem — it can feel dwarfed by the table and other furniture, and it won’t provide enough ambient illumination.
Start by measuring the length and width of your dining room. Once you have those dimensions, we can take them and help you determine what size of chandelier will be best for your home. We’ll also keep style in mind, since different styles will fit differently within the room, with fixture elements such as stems and crystals extending out and down into the space. You don’t want your chandelier to almost touch the walls of your dining room!
Floor lamps are another lighting option to consider placing near the sitting area. Not only do they add to the aesthetic of the family room, but they also function as task lighting for reading, writing, and other focused activities. You should also consider directional track lighting or LED strip cove lighting to highlight family photos, portraits, and other artwork in the room.
Once you’ve chosen your new chandelier, you’ll have to consider the best way to install it. You might simply be replacing your old overhead light, which means you have the wiring and support in place for the new fixture. However, depending on the weight of the chandelier, you may need to reinforce the support in your ceiling so that there’s no risk of the light coming loose and falling. If the chandelier has a chain or rope element, you’ll also have to figure out how to support that so the fixture hangs at the appropriate height.
For ceilings that are 8 feet in height, you’ll want the chandelier to hang approximately 60 to 64 inches from the floor. Since most dining tables are 30 inches tall, this means the bottom of the chandelier will be 30 to 34 inches above the table surface. This will help avoid any obstructions as people sit down for dinner and talk with the person across from them. If your ceiling is higher than 8 feet, then raise the chandelier 3 inches for every foot of height. This means that if your ceiling is 10 feet high, the bottom of the chandelier should be at least 36 inches above the table.
If you have a long, narrow dining table, make sure the chandelier is hung high enough to avoid anyone bumping into it as they sit down at the table. This can also be taken care of by sizing the fixture appropriately, as we talked about above. A small, linear chandelier or island light that runs the length of the table can be an ideal choice in situations where you have a long, narrow table.
After you’ve chosen all of your new lights, you can’t wait to get them installed so you can start enjoying them every time you sit down for dinner. However, a new lighting design isn’t complete without the proper controls, and we can help you find the appropriate dimmer switches, smart controls, and more.
For dimmer switches, it can be beneficial to install one for the chandelier and one for the wall sconces. That way, you can set the lighting where you want it for each fixture or set of fixtures, creating the perfect mood for an intimate dinner party or having enough light for a full-fledged family gathering.
With smart lighting controls, you can have presets that determine which lights are on, how much illumination they’re providing, and so on. Let’s say you want a “candlelight dinner” preset for those nights when it’s just you and your spouse at home — you can create a setting that lowers the lights and provides the perfect ambience. Our team can help you find the right lighting control options so that your dining room fixtures work perfectly every single time.
You may not have grand plans for your dining room, but you do want to update it with new lighting that you can use and enjoy for years to come. At Southern Lights, we understand that every homeowner has different needs, a different budget, and a different timeline for adding new lights. By working with our showroom, you can find everything you need to get started on your new lighting design, and we’ll be here to provide expert assistance every step of the way.
One of the easiest ways to find new lights, as well as inspiration for what you want to do with your dining room, is to browse our online catalog. You can look through chandeliers, sconces, and more, taking notes on which fixtures appeal to you. You can also purchase fixtures directly from our catalog and have them shipped to your home. If you have questions about a light or want to know when it will be back in stock, feel free to contact us right away.
If you want to speak in person with a member of our staff, or you want to see new dining room lights for yourself, come to our 25,000 square-foot showroom at your convenience. During regular business hours, you can stop by and see what we have in stock, as well as talk with a lighting expert who can help you determine which chandelier is best, what to do for accent lighting, and how to have your lights installed sooner rather than later. Above all, we want you to have an outstanding showroom experience.
Update your dining room lighting design today by shopping with Southern Lights. We’re proud to be Minnesota’s premier lighting showroom, and we’ve helped countless people over the years discover amazing solutions. We stay up-to-date on the latest lighting trends and technology, and always strive to provide exceptional service every time someone walks through the door, calls us on the phone, or contacts us online.
We look forward to helping you create the dining room you’ve always wanted!