Much like the kitchen, the dining room is a space where family and friends get together to eat, entertain, chat and share special memories. A room with so many applications needs flexible lighting that can be both functional and ambient, depending on a given use of the space. The ambiance of the space is largely determined by the colour and light in the room.
THE TABLE The table tends to be the main focal point in the dining room so make sure your light source is positioned so that it shines onto the middle of the table.
The type of table also helps to determine what kind of light to use in the space. An elongated fitting works above a long or rectangular table as it spreads light across the length of the table, while a circular fitting works to shine a circular rim of light onto a round or square table.
If you do a lot of entertaining around the table, suspend the light fitting so that it hangs just above eye level when seated. This lighting trick is often used in restaurants as it makes it easier to see the other people around the table and creates a more social setting.
RISE AND FALL LIGHTS Rise and fall lights work well in a dining room, particularly if the dining table doubles as a desk or workspace. It's a versatile option that can be dressed up or down to meet the need of the space at a given time.
DIMMABLE DOWNLIGHTERS As with almost every other room in the home, dimmable downlighters work beautifully in a dining room. For the best effect, position them around the perimetre of the ceiling, spaced 1.5 to 2 metres apart, to control the amount of light in the space. With downlighters, it’s easy to go from having a brightly lit space to something more soft and subtle to create atmosphere.
Spacing is key when it comes to downlighters. Spacing them equidistant apart will create pockets of shadows so it’s best to space them in between each other. For example, have four lights in one row, three lights in the next and four lights in the last row again.
SOLID METAL PENDANT A solid metal pendant light doesn't diffuse the light through it, and so the ceiling remains dark. This creates a very modern look and is ideal if cosy and intimate is what you're after in the space. Just keep in mind that these fittings do tend to make the room look smaller. Uplighters can counter this darkness, except if the room is very large as they would then detract from the cosy look and feel you might be after.
PENDANT WITH GLASS DIFFUSER Pendant lights with glass diffusers are ideal for small rooms, but they’re not the best option if the table has to be the focal point in the space. The glass diffuser causes the light to diffuse through the glass onto the ceiling, detracting from the table as the focal point.
CHANDELIER If it's a statement light you're after then a chandelier will light the way! They’re often used in dining rooms as an aesthetic focal point, rather than the table. Chandeliers tend to create a great spread of light, which may be undesirable if it's an intimate look and feel that you're after in the space. Solve this problem by adding a dimmer switch to control the light levels.
SIDE TABLES Like tables, cabinets and sideboards can be used as a focal point in a dining room. It's best to do this subtly by positioning wall lights on either side of the cabinet or sideboard to elevate its status so that it becomes the obvious feature in the room. If the cabinet has glass doors consider installing downlights inside to illuminate any beautiful crockery, ornaments, and glasses stored inside.
ART The dining room is often the ideal space for displaying art. As elsewhere in the home, art becomes a sensory focal point when properly illuminated. Whether it's a sculpture, a painting or a striking ornament make sure the object is illuminated and not the space around it. This works to create an eclipse of light around the picture, which in turn makes the object a point of interest in the space.