Dining Room Lighting Ideas - Hints, tips & Inspiration for 2021!

in Inspiration


The dining room is a space that has changed drastically over the last 30 years. Up until the 90s, it was a long-established staple in the family home. Even castles had great halls! After a swift change in cooking and eating habits, with eating out and ordering in ruling the roost, the dining room was underappreciated thorugh the noughties. Now, in 2021, the time has come for the dining room to rise up again as a versatile, frequented space, the new heart of the home! 


Open plan kitchen/dining area

Image 1: A beautiful modern open-plan kitchen and dining room. Image source: tam_i_tu https://www.instagram.com/tam_i_tu/

A dedicated eating space is crucial in any home, from studio apartments to stately houses. A clean, welcoming space, the dining room should be a comfortable place to enjoy the food you’ve worked so hard on preparing. Any quick ‘throw-it-all-in’ dish can be instantly improved by a pleasant space to eat it in. But how to light your dining room in style? 

Whether you have a specific dining room or a general dining space, dining room lights can make or break the atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to get perfect shots of your homemade desserts for the ‘gram or show off those perfectly roasted potatoes at Sunday dinner, lighting is crucial! These ideas to light your dining room will help you create a beautiful eating space to enjoy with friends and family. 

Cosy dining room low ceiling lighting

Image 2: A cosy cottage-style dining room. Image source: no14hectorshouse https://www.instagram.com/no14hectorshouse/

What is the best lighting for a dining room? 

The versatility of the modern dining room means lighting can be a challenge. While the classic option may be a chandelier hung over the dining table, there are many other ways a dining room can be beautifully lit up. There’s no short supply of dining room lighting ideas, but it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right kind of light for its intended purpose. There are five different types of lighting available;

  1. Spotlights
  2. Ceiling lights
  3. Wall lights
  4. Table lamps
  5. Floor lamps

What type of lighting is best for the dining room?

Dining rooms and dining spaces benefit from a mix of lighting types. Statement ceiling lights with understated wall lights create a dramatic atmosphere. Discreet spotlights with table and floor lamps create a warm ambience. 

Dining table with glass pendant light

Image 3: A bohemian take on the classic dining room set up. Note the unique pendant lights and rustic homely touches. Image source: thenordicbohemian https://www.instagram.com/thenordicbohemian/

A common favourite, somewhat similar to the classic chandelier, is pendant lights over the dining table. This creates a focal point of the food on the table and highlights the love and effort that goes into cooking. Avoid harsh bright light at this low level, as it can create an unwelcoming, sterile quality. Instead, aim for a soft warm glow to create that cosy, home-cooked meal feeling. 

What lights should I use in a dining room?

Choosing the right type of dining room light can be tricky. This table illustrates the pros and cons of each type of light;

Type of light




  • Versatile
  • Subtle
  • Can be used to create zones 
  • Highlight features and details
  • Multiple spotlights are needed to create the desired effect
  • No ‘design’ quality, exist to highlight other features

Ceiling lights

  • A wide variety of styles available
  • Can be a feature in their own right
  • Versatile and commonly used
  • Need to be in keeping with the aesthetic of the room
  • A central light may leave corners and nooks unlit

Wall lights

  • Create ambience and atmosphere
  • Many styles of light suited to many styles of dining room
  • Highlights features and details
  • No direct impact on lighting of dining table 
  • Can be decorative rather than functional

Table lamps

  • Huge variety of designs available
  • Specifically suited to dining tables
  • Increase visibility at times of low-light (dawn/dusk)
  • Take up valuable real estate on the dining table
  • Only provide small amounts of light

Floor lamps

  • Many designs to suit many styles of room
  • Can be focused on specific areas 
  • Provide atmosphere and ambience
  • Take up a large amount of floor space 
  • Sometimes more decorative than functional 

For the best results, mix and match the types of light. This creates an interesting and engaging visual effect which improves the atmosphere and ambience of a space. 

Blue dining room white chairs red pendant light

Image 4: A modern dining room using colours to make a statement. The light shade perfectly matches with the painted roses. Image source: beyondtheblankcanvas https://www.instagram.com/beyondtheblankcanvas/

How to light your dining room in style? 

Due to its mixed-use, dining room style has to be just as versatile as the room itself. There are 3 common dining room layouts. These are;

  1. The formal/traditional dining room
  2. The ‘just passing’ dining room
  3. The multi-functional dining room

The formal/traditional dining room is defined by a large central table and a classic dining room set up, perhaps featuring bookshelves, drinks tables and wall art. Not that this space isn’t dual purpose, but its primary cause is to be a dining room and other activities such as studying or reading happen to take place in there too. 

The ‘just-passing’ dining room is common in older buildings and has two doorways leading in and out, making it a room that is passed through on the way to other parts of the house. Again, it can be a multi-use room but due to it’s positioning it needs to be styled correctly to feel welcoming and homely.

The multi-functional dining room is the modern take on dining space. Often included as part of open-plan kitchens, or as part of the living room space, the multi-functional dining room is a cleverly placed table and chairs that is ready to be used for whatever purpose necessary and provides a communal space for all the household to eat at. 

How to choose lights for a dining room? 

Formal/traditional dining room

Classic wall lights never go out of style, especially when placed either side of a sideboard, bookshelf, or tea tray. Combined with a large chandelier over the table, it’s a timeless look.

‘Just passing’ dining room

Create a welcoming and inviting space by keeping the table and chairs well lit and out of the way of the path through the house. Table lamps and floor lamps work particularly well in these spaces.

Multi-functional dining room

Establish a dining ‘zone’ through the use of a statement pendant light over the table, but keep the style and colours consistent with the rest of the room, be it kitchen or living room. 

Your dining room is unique to you and your personality. The table above is an outline to get you started, but don’t be afraid to do some mix-and-matching. Studies show that we spend up to 122.9 hours every year sat at our dinner table, so make sure it’s right for you. When planning your lighting, don’t forget the three key elements;

  1. The layout of the room
  2. The aesthetic/style of the room
  3. How the room will be used
traditional dining room with chandelier

Image 5: A traditional dining room using wall lights and a statement chandelier. Image source: joneskeenacompany https://www.instagram.com/joneskeenacompany

How bright should it be in the dining room?

Usually, the dining table requires about 30 lumens per square foot. This is enough light to be able to admire the food without being forced to examine it under blaring lights. 

While other rooms in the house require bright lighting, the dining room has space for more atmosphere and mood. Dimmer switches can be very useful in the dining room; brighter for carving and serving, dimmer for evening desserts and drinks after the meal. 

Light is measured in lumens, a unit of measurement that shows how much light you are getting from a bulb (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/lumens-and-lighting-facts).

Inspiration for lighting your dining room

Now that the technical information is dealt with, you can get to the fun part! Choosing the lighting for your dining room helps bring the whole room together and is best dealt with at the design stage. With a clear idea of how much light you need and the layout, you can explore lighting ideas for your dining room. 

Shabby chik white dining room

Image 6: A shabby chic look utilising various types of lighting. Image source: mytexashouse https://www.instagram.com/mytexashouse/

The dining room featured in Image 6 is a beautiful example of a rustic, shabby chic look. With touches of classic and modern and plenty of natural light, a chandelier combined with decorative candles creates a homely feel. 

Just passing dining room with long pendant light and table

Image 7: A ‘just passing’ dining room, zoned using pendant lights and floor lamps, looks like a great place to eat a meal with friends or family. Image source: heyheyhaus https://www.instagram.com/heyheyhaus/

By using the industrial style pendant light, with a subtle modern floor lamp in the corner to create ambience, the ‘just passing’ dining room in Image 7 is chic, simple, and modern. Easy to replicate in your own style, this is a great combination of the best lights for the dining room. 

Modern small kitchen/dining space

Image 8: An example of a modern multi-functional dining space where lack of space is no object! Image source: scandi_uk https://www.instagram.com/scandi_uk/

The ultimate modern multi-functional dining space in Image 8 shows lack of space doesn’t have to mean lack of functionality. By combining kitchen lighting ideas with dining room lighting ideas, a harmony can be balanced between the two. 

There are lots of dining room lights available on the market... so here's some inspiration!

With all of this dining room lighting inspiration for style, layout, and lighting positioning, it’s just as important to carefully consider the lights themselves. Here are some examples of tasteful, beautiful ideas to light your dining room; 

Wofi valencia

Image 9: Show off your home-cooked meals with the Wofi Valencia modern pendant light.

The modern take on the classic pendant in Image 9 provides a soft, warm glow, perfect for giving your home-cooked delights the showing-off they deserve. 

Wofi safira wall light

Image 10: This contemporary Wofi Safira wall light will bring a modern touch to any traditional dining room.

The wall lights in Image 10 are a great example of a way to integrate modernity with tradition. Placed either side of a drinks table or above a stately seat, this wall light will bring simple modernism to any dining room. 

Wofi Mia bubble table lamp

Image 11: A fun take on the table lamp concept, the Wofi Mia Bubble-Style Wall Lamp adds style and flair to any modern dining space.

This Bubble-style lamp would work brilliantly in a quirky or eclectic design scheme, as well as bringing some fun to the table in a modern or retro style dining room. 


No matter how your dining room is laid out and styled, there are plenty of lighting options on the market to bring your dream space to life. Although it may seem complex to start, lighting your dining room in style couldn’t be easier. Don’t forget, keep it personal and let your personality shine through!

If you'd like to find our how to light your entire home in style, why not take a look at our Ultimate guide to buying home lighting?