The dining room has evolved over the years to keep up with our changing lifestyles and the way we utilise the space in our homes. What was once a room used primarily for formal meals, now also functions as a place to gather for board game nights or to do homework after school. Furthermore, the dining room as we know it is no longer restricted to a four-walled room of the home. Modern homes often feature open plan living where the dining room, kitchen and living room all flow into one another.
To keep up with the multifunctionality of this room, well-considered lighting is essential. You ultimately want your fixtures to provide adequate lighting but they should also impact the mood of the space, regardless of whether they’re switched on or off.
Keep the following tips in mind when choosing new fixtures to illuminate this space in your home.
CONSIDER IT AN INVESTMENT Swapping out old fixtures for new can be time-consuming, expensive, and may require the use of an electrician. With this in mind, changing your light fixtures is not something you want to be doing every few months when you get tired of looking at the fixture you installed not so long ago. It may be tempting to select a dining room fixture that is “in” right now, but ask yourself if you will really like it in a few months time when a new fad is introduced. If you’re spending money on a large fixture for above your table it’s wise to go for something that is either a) classic and simple or b) a bold design that you’ve loved for a long time.
CENTRE IT OVER THE TABLE The middle of the room is not necessarily the best place to suspend a hanging fixture. If you’re going for a chandelier or pendant light you want it to be placed over the centre of your dining room table, wherever that may be in the room. Select a spot for your table first and then install the lighting.
PERFECT THE PROPORTIONS Scale is so important when choosing a fixture for above your dining room table, especially when it comes to length. A general rule of thumb is that your fixture should be about one third the length of your table. You can also have a row of multiple smaller fixtures if one single fixture is not your style.
GET THE HEIGHT RIGHT Hang your fixture too high and your table won’t be bathed in enough light. Hang it too low and it will block people’s line of sight when they stand up from the table or may even hit the centrepiece such as a tall vase of flowers. Play around with the height of your fixture until you get it just right. If you can, turn the fixture on when it’s being hung so that you can see exactly what height offers the best balance of light and space.
USE MULTIPLE FIXTURES Supplement your overhead lighting with additional fixtures. Sometimes a single fixture over the table does not offer sufficient illumination for the entire room and this can create dark corners. Lamps and wall sconces add style to the room and provide that extra bit of layered lighting.
DON’T FORGET DIMMERS Dimmer switches are recommended for almost all rooms of the home, but nowhere are they more appropriate than in the dining room. They enable you to turn the brightness up for task-oriented activities and down low to create a cosy atmosphere at mealtimes. Also consider the total wattage of the fixture. All bulbs in a single fixture should add up to between 200 and 400 watts.