Common Design Schemes for Dining Room Lighting

Not sure how to attack your lighting needs in the dining room? Relax. Designers have come up with four common templates for creating the perfect atmosphere in this important room. You can, of course, modify any of these four designs, but they have all been tested and found to be excellent choices for your dining room lighting needs.

The four schemes are as follows:

Warmer Lamps with Side Accents



Picture 1: First lighting scheme – layout

If you decide to go with hanging lamps in your dining room, you have a couple of options for your layout. The first option is to have the appropriate number of warmer lamps (two for six seats, three for eight seats, three large for ten or more seats) keeping the spotlight on the table. This is a popular notion because the table is truly the central attraction, and maintaining food warmth is a great side benefit to lamps that are hung at a practical height that does not blind your guests.

With that not-too-bright spotlight effect on your table in two or three circles, you add down lights from your ceiling or pendant lamps in each corner to provide the warm ambiance that any cozy dining room needs. The down lights are usually attached to the ceiling surface and provide a nice contrast to your warmer lamps. The pendant lamps, like the lamps over the table, need to match the décor of the dining room and the vibe of your entire house, of course. If you have a striking painting on the wall, add a wall light that beams down on it as well, making sure that your artwork does not fade into obscurity during the hours that diners remain at the table.

This design accomplishes all that many homeowners seek in the dining room – it keeps the focus on the table and provides ambient light that warmly invites guests into the room for the big event.


Picutre 2: First lighting scheme – intensity on surface

Warmer Lamps with Recessed Lights and Floor Lamps


Picture 3: Second lighting scheme – layout

Another option for people who prefer warmer lamps is to install several warm recessed lights in the ceiling, joined by a couple of floor lamps to brighten the corners, producing an ideal flexibility of atmosphere control. The recessed lights will create a glow that can be enhanced by skillfully placed floor lamps in areas that might need a touch more illumination. Dimmer switches can help you to adjust all of these lights according to the mood that you want to set, from festive family celebration to romantic meal.


Picture 4: Second lighting scheme – Intensity on surface

Chandelier with Side Wall Ceiling Lights



Picture 5: Third lighting scheme – layout

For those who want to install a bit classier light in the dining room and forego warmer lamps for a striking chandelier, two popular layouts have gained a lot of favor in recent years. The first is mounting slot or cove lights on at least two sections of the ceiling to contrast with the chandelier. This option is great for dining rooms that have artwork or other items that could rest in relative darkness without a little help from accent lights. This option also tends toward a more modern, chic look that combines a classic chandelier with a current asymmetrical feel. Rather than allow the corners where the slot or cove lights are not located stay dark, you can always add a floor lamp to give illumination there when needed.

The slot or cove lights peer down on the walls, a very hot trend in lighting these days, making your dining room extremely visually striking and producing multiple effects on your guests, who will not know whether to be most impressed by your eye-catching chandelier or the dramatic wallpaper that you have highlighted with the slot lights. Other walls with artwork can have a painting light or floor lamp to give them a bit of “time in the sun” as well.


Picture 6: Third lighting scheme – intensity on surface

Chandelier with Table-Centered Ceiling Lights


Picture 7: Fourth lighting scheme – layout

For those decorators who want an even more current look and have multiple attractions on the dining room walls, another option is to start with a chandelier and reinforce it with ceiling slot or cove lights that not only cover every wall in the room but are installed in a rectangle directly above the table. This is a super option for people who have picked a gorgeous chandelier but have discovered that it does not put out quite enough light onto the table. With the installation of slot or cove lights directly over the table, the problem is solved.

To amplify the modern mood in the dining room, a number of narrow-beam recessed ceiling down lights can be put into place to act as wall washers in two or more corners. The combination of such recessed lights with ceiling slot lights yields a multi-visual effect that could hardly be more spectacular. The recessed lights present the room as warm and inviting while the slot lights, building off the recessed lights’ power, serve to make everything on the walls easily appreciated, from paintings to wallpaper.


Picture 8: Fourth lighting scheme – intensity on surface

These four design schemes can be altered according to your individual taste and lighting needs. They have been conceived by top designers and provide an excellent template to plan your dining room’s lighting. Both warmer lamps and chandeliers need help to make your dining room the special place that you want it to be.

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