How To's

How to Choose the Right Modern Chandelier for Your Dining Room

Unlike your high usage rooms, your dining room carries a certain amount of import. It’s the place set aside for the most important gatherings. And when it comes to choosing a modern dining room chandelier, there are a handful of things to take into consideration–things like overall design aesthetic, size and height, light output, and more.

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!

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).

Size and Height

Although there are some exceptions with all the varying light fixture choices out there, generally the chandelier over the modern 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.

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.

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.

With these basics in mind, you will find that choosing the right chandelier for your dining room is not that difficult, after all. And, if you need some more inspiration, take a look at our chandelier lighting ideas.


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