How To's

How to Choose the Right Chandelier for Your Dining Room

When it comes to choosing a chandelier for a dining room, you will find that there are a few more unique considerations than when choosing lighting fixtures for other areas of your home.

Because the dining room is one of your main gathering areas, it’s important for the chandelier or other central lighting fixture to be the right size. It can overwhelm the space by being too large or not add any design impact by being too small. Light direction (where illumination is aimed) and flexible light output are also important. You also want something that’s scaled to the size of the dining table.

Overall Design Aesthetic

The first thing to consider, of course, is your personal taste. What kind of overall look are you trying to achieve? Transitional, contemporary, modern—or something else? Do you want the traditional bowl-shaped chandelier or something more outside the norm, like a linear suspension light fixture or multiple fixtures arranged in a group? The dining room presents a prime opportunity to make a personal design statement—don’t shirk away from it!

This modern loft with airy, high ceilings begs for an installation of large, art-like lighting. The Twilight 20 Chandelier by LBL Lighting makes the perfect grand statement over the dining table with its 20 frosted glass teardrops suspended by sweeping, slim stainless steel arms.

Layer Light

Avoid a chandelier that’s under lit or one that creates a large amount of uncomfortable glare. Think hard about the room’s function and how people will interact at the dining room table during different times of the day or night. It’s likely you’ll need to add some other layers of light, such as wall sconces (ambient), recessed downlights (ambient/task) or cove lighting (accent).

As an example of layering light in a dining room, the light and style of the Annie 6 Light Chandelier and 3 Light Wall sconce by Feiss balance each other in this Modern Farmhouse-styled dining room.

Size and Height

Although there are some exceptions with all the varying light fixture choices out there, generally the chandelier over the dining table should be 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table itself. But don’t stop there. If you have an oblong table, a linear suspension light or island light might be a better fit in order to give equal light to everyone seated. A round table may benefit more from a bowl or round shape.

As for the height above the dining table, most of the time it should be 32-36 inches. This range has proved ideal for illuminating a table surface without blocking diners’ view of each other or shining in their eyes.

No, it’s not a chandelier. But the oversized Powell Street contemporary pendant light by Tech Lighting is the right size and the right design choice as it plays off of this round table. Note the recessed downlights used to distribute illumination throughout the room.

Flexible Light Output

In order for your dining area to serve multiple purposes—such as children doing an art project or to host a romantic dinner—definitely get a chandelier that can be dimmed. For LED, keep in mind that not all these lighting fixtures dim—and some may flicker when the lights are lowered. So be extremely diligent; make sure you get the right dimmer. Good lighting manufacturers and retailers can suggest the right model and brand.

One More Thing: Deconstructed Chandeliers

As lighting has become a more integral part of home design, lighting designers are going above and beyond to create dramatic and dynamic fixtures, and that holds true for the dining room as well.

If you want a conversation-starter, think outside the box with something like a deconstructed chandelier (one that breaks away from traditional, round chandelier forms) or hanging multiple pendants above your dining table. You’ll find lighting, especially of this type, is an amazing avenue to express your artistic self.

Seven Urban Renewal pendant lights by Feiss are hung from a multiport canopy, then their cords are draped at varying heights over the oblong table for a custom look.

With these basics in mind, you will find that choosing the right chandelier for your dining room is not that difficult, after all. If you need a little more guidance, however, be sure to call the dining room lighting (and dimmer) experts at 866 428 9289.

Team Y

Team Y

Team Y is a dedicated group of design devotees. We love everything that has to do with modern design, from products like lighting, furniture and decor all the way to interior design, architecture and city planning. What inspired the design? How does it work? What does it mean? We want to know. And once we know, we are constantly inspired to share what we've discovered with others who love design as well. That's Y.

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