When it comes to designing a dining room, lighting is easily one of the most important interior elements. It also happens to be one of the trickiest details to get right. Which is why today, we’re sharing all of our best tips to help simplify your lighting decisions.
Whether you're looking to create a formal dining area, a cozy breakfast nook, or an inviting kitchen island, we’ve got you covered. Scroll below for everything you need to know when it comes to choosing the right size pendant or chandelier for your dining space.
Rule of Thumb for Sizing
There are two ways you can determine the best light fixture size. You can either base the diameter of your pendant or chandelier by how large the room is or how large your table is.
As a general rule of thumb, if you already have furniture selected, the best course of action is to size your light fixture to the dining room table.
Light Fixture Diameter By Room Size
To determine the approximate diameter of the chandelier or pendant, add the room's length and width in feet. In this example, 12 feet + 10 feet = 22 feet. Convert this total to inches, which means a chandelier with a diameter of around 22" would be the right size for the dining room.
Light Fixture Diameter By Dining Table Size
Generally, the light fixture's diameter should be about half to two-thirds the width of the table. Keep in mind, this rule is meant to serve as a guideline and your personal preference should play a role in determining the scale of your pendant or chandelier.
When it comes to selecting the right length for your light fixture, you will want to start by measuring the height of your ceiling. For rooms with standard 8-foot ceilings, a chandelier should hang about 30 to 36 inches above the dining table. For more tips on how high to hang your light fixture, read our guide here.
Typically, hanging your light fixture closer to the table will make your dining area feel more formal + traditional while a shorter light fixture length will lean casual + modern.
Spacing For Multiple Light Fixtures
If you have a long rectangular dining table, you might consider using two or three smaller pendants or linear chandeliers to evenly distribute light along the length of the table. The key to working with multiple light fixtures is getting the spacing just right:
- For two fixtures, leave an equal amount of space between the table ends and between each fixture.
- For three or more fixtures, evenly distribute them along the length of the table, maintaining equal spacing between each fixture.
- Generally, we recommend a minimum distance of 24" between each fixture and a maximum distance of 36". For tips on lighting a kitchen island, read our guide here.
Tips for Choosing the Best Light for Your Style
While furniture, tableware, and other home accessories play a part in setting the room's style, the lighting you select is pivotal in the overall look and feel of your dining room. Below, we loosely outline three lighting styles to help get your creative wheels turning (keep in mind, this guide should serve as a starting point and mixing and matching different eras is always encouraged): modern, mid-century modern, and traditional.
For a modern aesthetic, look for light fixtures with sleek, sculptural silhouettes. Modern lighting often features clean lines and come in neutral palettes for a statement-making focal point. We recommend the Gantry Pendant, Kepler Pendant, and Plaza Chandelier (pictured below).
Mid-Century Modern Lighting
To set a mid century modern mood, aim for globe pendants, mushroom-shaped shades, and factory-inspired lighting. We've also been loving the recent resurgence of our Luna Pendant in fun color pops. Our mid-century modern picks include: the Sidnie Pendant (pictured below), Luna Collection, and Ray Collection.
Last but not least, traditional fixtures often feature timeless designs in warm, rich tones—think natural brass chandeliers or pendants with drum-shaped shades. Our favorites in this style point are: the Union Pendant, the Agnes Pendant, and the Augustine Pendant (pictured below).
Ultimately, choosing the right size chandelier or pendant for your dining room is a balance of aesthetics, functionality, and personal preference. Before finalizing your choice, consider using a visual aid (we recommend tying a blown up balloon to a piece of string and taping it to the ceiling) to get a better sense of how it will look above your dining table.
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