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3 simple rules for perfect dining room lighting

06.2021

The importance of perfect lighting above your dining table

The dining table plays a special role in any home, regardless of whether it is situated in the kitchen, open plan layout or separate room. It is where we share the precious ritual of sitting down to eat with family members on a day-to-day basis and the venue for convivial meals with guests.

Whatever the occasion, to optimise the experience, the right lighting is crucial because it needs to fulfil different functions such as creating a welcoming or romantic atmosphere, depending on the situation, while ensuring you have adequate visibility to carve meat, serve and see what is on your plate. And of course, the light fitting itself can be an important decorative element.

So, to help you choose the perfect lighting solution for the dining table, we’ve put together a simple guide with 3 key rules to keep in mind.

If you are looking for the perfect solution to illuminate your dining table or room, here are the 3 rules you need to know

Similar shapes

The shape of the lighting solution you choose for the dining zone is a crucial consideration. Symmetry and balance are the two words to remember here, meaning you should look for a shape similar to that of the table so that the light and table complement each other and create a harmonious effect.

So, if you have a round dining table, you should opt for a circular light or lamp whereas if your table is rectangular, you can think about more elaborate shapes, such as long and narrow or a series of pendant lamps positioned above.

And, it may seem obvious, but any ceiling light needs to be smaller than the table so as to optimise the sense of spaciousness.

Do the numbers

While the table is the focal point when it comes to lighting the dining room or zone, you also need to think about how to create a balance throughout the entire space.

The first thing to do is calculate the distance between the light and the table so that you can decide on the best type of light fitting. You want the light to illuminate the table but without blinding your fellow diners, so to avoid this the rule of thumb is to ensure it is at least 60 cm from the top. This way, the table will be lit evenly but without the light becoming invasive.

If you have a particularly large dining table, a lamp shade may not cast sufficient light so you should choose a multi-bulb solution. In this case, we recommend that you opt for an odd number to create a more visually homogenous effect. If you are positioning them in a line following the length of the table, place them at regular intervals, dividing the table length by the number of fittings.

Find the perfect lighting mix

To strike that perfect balance so that you enjoy a pleasant meal in the right atmosphere, able to see what you are eating without feeling as though you are in an operating theatre, you need to decide between cool and warm lighting. In a dining context, we would generally recommend the latter as it casts a glow that is both effective and welcoming.

However, if you really want to ensure the perfect level of light for any occasion and distribute it perfectly, the optimal solution is to go for dimmable lights or for a combination of wall, ceiling and recessed lighting, together with floor or table lamps. This will allow you to adjust the glow and atmosphere depending on the mood you want to create, with three different sources:

  • Ambient lighting
  • Functional lighting
  • Mood or atmospheric lighting

Let’s take a look at an example of each of these.

Ambient lighting

As in any room, the dining room needs an overall light that provides general illumination so that the entire space is well-lit. This will usually be in the form of a fixture installed in the ceiling, with a delicate, diffused glow.

Pendant or hanging lights are an excellent option here as the light can permeate the entire space, while also adding a striking element to the overall décor if you decide to go for something distinctive. Our Farfalla fits the bill perfectly here, not only combining design credentials and functionality, but also offering flexibility and a chance to let your creative flair loose, as you can configure as many as you wish so that they flutter above the table.

Less of a talking point, but an effective and discreet solution, are recessed lights, which are installed flush in the ceiling and often include a dimmer function.

Functional lighting

In addition to ambient or general lighting, some sort of functional light is a must in any space with a dining table. By functional lighting, we mean that it is focused on the key activity that takes place in any room, in this case primarily eating or perhaps playing board games or similar.

This requires a direct and reasonably strong light, so if the ceiling is high enough, a popular trend in recent years is to install a series of lights, either at equal or varying heights, depending on the look you want to achieve. Our Silo is a perfect example as you can decide on the number of pieces you hang, from a cluster of three to a configuration of 26 for a true showstopper. Or, if you prefer a more linear look or have a rectangular table, you can space out single lamps along the length of the tabletop.

If you have a low ceiling, adjustable spotlights are an ideal solution as they can be installed above the length of the table and, should you decide to move it, they can be redirected so that the table is always perfectly lit.

Atmospheric lighting

Who doesn’t love a bit of mood lighting? This is definitely an aspect that you shouldn’t neglect as it can completely transform a meal experience. Here the idea is to choose a soft glow that casts a warm, welcoming light that doesn’t overpower the environment (or guests). We would suggest something like our Urano, either in its floor or table lamp version. Carved from a single block of gorgeous Bianco Carrara marble, its luminous spherical form adds a touch of magic even when it is not switched on.

For an even more romantic atmosphere, you could opt for that eternal favourite and choose candlelight, either with a series of candles on their own or in combination with the Urano in a corner. Our Bugia is an elegant contemporary interpretation of a traditional candleholder, and is sure to create the perfect mood whether you’re setting the scene for a romantic dinner à deux or a fun evening with close friends.

As we have seen, there is an art to lighting a dining room or zone, just as with other important spaces such as the bathroom or bedroom.

To create an environment that is welcoming and convivial and conducive to enjoying great meals with friends and family, the right lighting is crucial, but the good news is that, as you have seen, it is actually very easy to achieve if you follow our simple guidelines.

If you have any questions about lighting or other aspects regarding how to create gorgeous interiors, please get in touch and one of our design experts will be delighted to help.