Make Your Dinner Party Memorable with These Dining Room Lighting Tips

Make Your Dinner Party Memorable with These Dining Room Lighting Tips

Lighting is integral to any dinner party; it helps set the mood and create a positive atmosphere. If you use harsh lighting people will leave your party earlier than you want and they’ll be less inclined to return.
It’s important to plan and think about your lighting needs days or weeks before your party. Here is what to look for in dining room lighting so you can throw a stellar dinner party at your San Diego home.


Shape and Size

Shape and size play a large role in your dining room table and lighting fixture. Keep in mind you want everything to be keyed to one design style as well.


If your lighting fixture is above your dining room table, make sure it’s smaller than your table. At the same time, make sure it isn’t too small. If it’s too large it will take over the room, and if it’s too small it won’t offer enough light and it will look out of place.

Measure the dimensions of your dining room or the table to determine the size of the fixture.

You want it 3/4 the width or diameter of your table. For the dining room, measure the length and width of the room in feet. Add those two numbers and use a fixture that has a diameter that totals that number, but in inches instead of feet.


You don’t want to pair a long linear lighting fixture with a round or square table. It would set off the balance of the room.

You’ll want to opt for more central lighting fixtures (e.g. smaller chandeliers). You can also use pendant lighting that is spread out at different lengths.

When using either oblong or rectangular tables, most styles of light fixtures will work. You can use chandeliers or linear style fixtures (e.g. pendant lights). If you want a contrast of shapes, opt for rounded fixtures (one large one or a couple of smaller ones).

Dining Room Style

You want to find a fixture that compliments the entire space. Think about the shapes you have around your space and the design of the room. What colors are you using and what textures?

You want everything to be harmonious.

You can get metal (e.g. gold and bronze), crystal, wooden, and jute fixtures, to name a few. A fixture that is made from more natural materials will help warm up the space. Certain types of fixtures (e.g. gold and crystal chandeliers) can add a classier feel to the space.

Know the type of event (the theme) you’re throwing. This will help you better decide on the layout and design of your dining room.


Make sure the lighting source doesn’t obstruct the view of what’s in the space, as well as the people in it. You don’t want the lighting source to take over the room.

You spent so much time preparing the room, you want people to enjoy what’s in the space and be able to see everything.

At the same time, if your fixture is too low, or there are too many lights on the table, it may make it harder to see everyone. Make sure the lighting isn’t the focal point, but something that helps accent the space.

Indirect Lighting

You don’t generally want direct or brighter lighting when you’re throwing a dinner party. It can create a glare and make it hard to see if it’s too bright. Keep in mind you don’t want the lighting to be too dim either, as it’ll make people sleepy instead.

Moreover, with brighter overhead lighting it can be unflattering on your guests. If you only have bright overhead lighting you may want to get lamps or dimmer lightbulbs. Direct lighting is better if you’re trying to work and want to focus.

If you have a lot of darker or lighter colors in the room, it will impact how much light you’ll want. Darker colors absorb more light, so you’ll want brighter and/or more lighting in the room. Lighter colors reflect light, so you’ll want dimmer lighting.

Indirect overhead lighting helps throw the light around the room. It prevents lighting from beaming directly down onto your guests. It also helps illuminate the room without being too bright or harsh.

Softer/warmer lighting helps create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

More Than One Light Source

Depending on what type of lighting fixture you have, you may want more than one light source. Having more than one light source can help spread the light out and create a better atmosphere in the room.

Make sure whatever lighting you use around the room isn’t bright. You don’t want it overpowering the room. You only want to create gentle light.

Candles or shaded lighting (e.g. table lamps and wall lights), is perfect in your dining area. If you’re concerned about a fire breaking out, you can use tea lights instead of actual candles.

If you’re not going to use a lighting fixture, place candles on the table and use shaded lighting around the room. Shaded lighting can add more color to the room and play a role in the design of your space.

If you use candles, try to stay away from scented candles. Some of your guests may not like the scents and/or they could be too overpowering. Moreover, someone might be allergic to certain scents.

Instead, let the smell of the food take over the space.


If possible, you’ll want some way to be able to control the brightness in the room. You may have various events in your dining room that need different levels of brightness. Dimmers can be controlled by wall switches, remotes, your smartphone or smartwatch.

Know what types of lights you are dimming. Halogen and incandescent bulbs dim differently compared to LEDs.

Not all LEDs dim, so check which bulbs are capable of dimming. Halogens and incandescent lights become warmer as they dim. LEDs do they exact opposite, they become cooler.

Moreover, the watts or lumens in your bulbs will impact the level of brightness in your space. If you can’t dim your bulbs, you’ll want a lower wattage bulb.

What Type of Dining Room Lighting Do You Need?

Now that you know more about dining room lighting, it’s time to pick your lighting medium. There are so many lighting options nowadays, it’s important to find what’s right for you.

When it’s time to spruce up your lighting, get in touch with us for a free consultation.

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