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Dining room lights: types, ideas and the best lights available

Choosing the right dining room lights can be difficult. Many people use their dining room not only for eating and hosting but for other tasks such as kids’ homework, meaning versatile lighting is key.

In this guide we’ll look at the best types of LED lights, ideas and tips for choosing, as well as some of the best bulbs and fixtures available.

In this guide:

Types of dining room lights

In this section, we cover common types of lights you’ll find in the dining room, including:

Recessed lights

Recessed lights (also known as downlights) are a metal light housing that is installed above the ceiling line. This hides most of the light fixture, except for a thin trim and part of the inner light.

Pros and cons of recessed lights

Pros:

  • Neat—fixtures are hidden, so they don’t draw attention
  • Good for low ceilings—other types of lighting can take up precious room overhead and simply get in the way
  • Timeless—while attention-grabbing styles can easily fall out of fashion, subtle recessed lighting will remain quietly current

Cons:

  • Small lighting area—recessed lighting is directional, meaning it can’t cast a wide area of light
  • Require more lights—narrow reach means you need more lights to illuminate a room

Find out more about downlights/recessed lighting in our guide: How to specify, select and purchase the correct LED downlights for your home or business.

Pendant lights

Pendant lights provide a very stylish mode of lighting. Commonly suspended from the ceiling—often above the dining room table—they act as an attractive yet affordable centrepiece for the room.

They come in a range of colours, materials and styles, meaning they are adaptable to any type of dining room.

Pros and cons of pendant lights

Pros:

  • Adjustable height—while not recommended for very low ceilings, pendant lights are generally suitable for any room
  • Variety of styles—the range of pendant fixtures and shades means they suit many styles of décor, from traditional to modern
  • Reasonably priced—pendant lighting is affordable while remaining stylish

Cons:

  • Not suitable for low ceilings—pendant lights can easily obstruct people if hung too low
  • Not intended for full illumination—you can’t rely on pendant lighting to light an entire room

For more information about dining room pendant lighting, visit our guide: Dining room pendant lights: styles, colours and ideas.

Chandelier lights

Chandeliers can add traditional elegance to any dining room. Famous for featuring in many grand houses and homes, they were originally used to hold candles. Chandeliers have become rarer in modern times, but they can still be used to create a sense of opulence.

Pros and cons of chandelier lights

Pros:

  • Timeless elegance—chandeliers are instantly recognisable and beautiful to look at
  • Versatile—come in many different materials, such as blown glass, metal and gold
  • Affordable—wide price bracket means you can purchase a chandelier on almost any budget

Cons:

  • Installation—hanging a chandelier can be complicated, so only qualified electricians should do it
  • Maintenance—chandeliers are fragile and so can be awkward to maintain

Wall lights

Wall-mounted light fixtures directly illuminate a specific area. Some point downward while others face up (known as sconce lights). Because they are directional, wall lights don’t provide a lot of illumination. This makes them perfect secondary lights for creating a relaxing atmosphere in your dining room.

Pros and cons of wall lights

Pros:

  • Ambience—soft glow of wall lights is perfect for dinner atmospheres
  • Affordable—a low-cost way to create ambient lighting in your dining room
  • Variety—wall lights come in many shapes and sizes

Cons:

  • Can be expensive to fit—installing wiring between walls can quickly increase cost
  • Can create dark spots—directional lighting means not all areas are illuminated equally
  • Lose wall space—if you’re planning to hang paintings or other objects on the wall, you’ll have to take the wall lights into account

Dining room lighting ideas

In this section, we take a brief look at some dining room ideas. For more ideas, visit our guide: Expert lighting ideas for the dining room.

Layered lighting

Layered lighting uses different sources of light to create a layered effect. It can be adapted to suit many moods.

Recessed LED spotlights and track lights in the ceiling provide ambient lighting, while a central pendant fitting focuses attention on the table.

You can create a bright, fresh atmosphere for daily tasks and meals. Then, for a more formal dining experience, you can dim the overhead lights but direct bright lighting towards the table.

Use downlights, table lights, wall lights and lamps to achieve a layered lighting effect.

layered lighting

Natural and LED light combined

Using natural light alongside LED bulbs is one of the most cost-effective ways to illuminate your dining room.

A well-placed mirror can reflect sunlight towards the dining table in the daytime. It can also augment the light that pendant or table lamps are providing.

Recessed LED spotlights enhance the natural lighting for work and study, while the overhead pendant light provides focused light on the table.

natural lighting

Dining room lighting tips

Use this section to come up with small ideas that can make a big difference. You could try experimenting with combining certain tips to give your dining room a unique look.

1. Base your lighting around your dining table

You may notice that restaurants generally cast more light on the tables than the walking areas in between. This is to ensure that the attention is on the food and the guests.

You can easily create a similar atmosphere in your dining room by installing hanging lights such as pendants or chandeliers.

2. Match styles but mix scale

Making sure all your lights match in style will create a unified look. However, this doesn’t mean you have to keep them the same size. Mixed-scale pendants can be unique and work particularly well in large rooms.

You can use large lights over the dining table to create atmosphere, and smaller ones for task lighting.

3. Use a dimmer to change the atmosphere

Most dining rooms serve a number of purposes—eating, hosting, writing, working—which each require their own type of lighting. If you plan to use the room for more than just dining, invest in a dimmer switch. You can brighten the light for tasks such as writing but then dim it down for dinnertime.

4. Be confident

A dining room is an excellent place to install statement lights. There are plenty of styles to choose from, from chandeliers to pendants to lamps. You can select different shades, fixtures and bulbs.

Pendants are great centrepieces, which you should make bold and dramatic for maximum impact.

5. Choose the right number of pendants for your dining table

You don’t want your dining room to appear over-illuminated or over-furnished. The general rule should be:

  • Long tables—several pendants in odd numbers (3–5 in a row)
  • Small or round tables—one large pendant as a dining table light

Best LED dining room lights

In this section, we look at some of the best LED lights for your dining room. You can view the full range of LED lights by clicking here.

Best dining room pendant fittings

Osram LEDVANCE 1906 Large Bubble E27 Pendant

  • Vintage appearance
  • Can be combined with an LED filament
  • Smoke grey diffuses light, reducing glare
  • Large size perfect for smaller, round tables
  • Price: £39.60

Click here to visit product page


Osram LEDVANCE 1906 Steel Angle Pendant Pipe Fitting

  • Modern industrial design
  • 6 E27 screw lampholders
  • Can be used with dimmable bulbs
  • Price: £62.40

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Best dining room recessed downlights

SOLO All In One Downlight

  • 3 colour temperatures in one—3000k, 4000k, 6000k
  • Can change colour temperature on light fixture
  • 5-year warranty
  • IP rating: 65
  • Lifetime: 50,000 hours
  • Price: £17.87

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Philips 6w LED Coreline Recessed spot

  • 30,000–50,000 hour lifespan
  • Dimmable
  • 3-year warranty
  • 4000k—cool white colour temperature
  • Price: £20.83

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Best dining area ceiling lights

PowerMaster 3 Bar Spotlight Spiral

  • Highly durable
  • Brushed steel style
  • Three focal points of illumination
  • Light fixtures can be adjusted
  • Works with dimmable bulbs
  • Price: £16.60

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PowerMaster Indoor 3 Spot Bar Ceiling Light

  • Adjustable light fixtures
  • Chrome colour for a modern style
  • Multiple illumination points
  • Works with dimmable bulbs
  • Price: £17.88

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