The dining room should be more than just a place to sit at mealtime. It should be a comfortable spot for visiting with friends, playing board games with family, or a cozy spot for the kids to sit and work on their schoolwork. One key component to creating an inviting dining room for work and play is with the lighting you place in the room. However, choosing a lighting design for the dining room will require more than just hanging a new light fixture. Here we will discuss dining room lighting considerations and answer common questions regarding lighting design.
Quick note -- The chandelier is the most commonly used type of light fixture in the dining room. They are available in a variety of finishes, sizes, and styles. Thus, from this point on we will be discussing lighting considerations in terms of chandelier fixtures.
Many people will use the chandelier above the table as the focal point of the room. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's important that you don't go overboard in doing so. Choosing a dining room light fixture that is too large or too small is a common mistake. Placing a pricey crystal chandelier in a causal room is another. To use lighting to decorate a dining room and make the room a comfortable place to be, keep these dining room lighting consideration in mind.
Fixture size -- To avoid using a fixture that is too large or too small for the table, the American Lighting Association (ALA) recommends the following rule of thumb when using a chandelier:
"Choose a chandelier that is 6" narrower than the smallest width of the dining table. If your table is 48" x 72", then the recommended width of the fixture is approximately 36". "
Installation height -- It's difficult to enjoy a meal when overhead lighting is glaring in your face. Moreover, when the fixture hangs so low guests bump their heads on it, it creates a real dilemma. To keep everyone comfortable, use the guidelines recommended by the ALA for installation height:
"The chandelier should hang approximately 30" above the tabletop in an 8' ceiling. For each additional foot of ceiling height, add one inch. In a 10' ceiling, the chandelier should hang approximately 32" above the table."
How much light do you need?
When there is an abundance of natural light, chances are an additional lighting source won't be required during the day. At night, there may be times when direct light is required for tasks such as homework, game play, and so on. On the other hand, there are times when the harsh glare of overhead lighting is undesirable. A quick solution to this problem is to select dining room lighting equipped with a downlight. This allows the lighting to be concentrated to a small accent light located at the bottom of the chandelier, with the remaining light shut off. Another option is to equip the fixture with a light dimmer that allows you to control the intensity of the light from bright to dim with the flip of a switch.
What type of fixture should you use?
The dining room lighting you choose to use will literally set the tone for the entire room. Luckily, there are many different styles to choose from. From decorative stained glass fixtures, to modern chandeliers with sleek lines, to rustic fixtures with wood accents, there's something out there that will perfectly match your existing décor. Choose a dining room lighting fixture that accents what you already have, and take care not to mix-match finishes throughout the house.
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