With everyone gathering for the Holidays the dining table is taking center stage.Festive table linens, sparkling crystal and silverware, carefully prepared meals, friends and family – add to this wonderful combination the one thing that will round it all off and make everything perfect: the right lighting.
The power of lighting is amazing!
Just compare the bright, harsh lights of a fast food place with the intimate twinkle of a chandelier over a beautiful dining table.
No wonder the brightly lit places are called fast food places! Everybody looks hurried, tired, and the food looks – well, at best just bland.
Good lighting sets the mood for relaxed enjoyment. It makes us look great and feel good.
A dedicated light source like a sparkling chandelier or cluster of pendant lights over the dining table is ideal to illuminate the beautiful table setting as well as to create the atmosphere that invites lingering, visiting, and enjoying all the pleasures of the Holidays.
The right lighting will not only set the perfect mood for your dining experience but also provide ample task lighting. The trick to accommodating both is using a dimmer as well as hanging the chandelier or pendant light at the correct height over the table.In my experience most people hang their chandeliers too high, probably because they are trying to squeeze too many functions out of that one light source: mood lighting, task lighting as well as general illumination for the entire room.Big mistake! The result is a bland wishy-washy light that doesn’t really accomplish any of its many tasks.
So what is the correct height and size of a light fixture over a dining table?
As a rule of thumb the fixture should be at least 12″ narrower than the table and hang about 30″ above the table.
Instead of trying to illuminate an entire dining room with a single light source the best balance of illumination is actually achieved by using a variety of light sources. We call that “Layers of Light”.
Layers of light will create the ideal illumination that is pleasing without creating glare whereas a single chandelier that is capable of illuminating an entire room will most likely be too bright for comfort.
Try a few wall sconces, a couple of buffet lamps, a torchiere in a corner and you will immediately feel a tremendous difference in the overall atmosphere of the room.
To highlight the crystal in your china cabinet, use a halogen bulb – the bright, white light will bring out its sparkle.
The dining room of today is rarely used just for entertaining and formal dining.
Most often the dining table doubles as a work zone for homework or projects, meetings and crafts, and last, but not least as a gathering place for family and friends.
A place where everyone can unwind over a good meal and enjoy each other’s company.
With open floor plans many formal dining rooms have been replaced by dining areas that are the central hub of the home, close to the kitchen and other living areas.
The simple rules of interior lighting mentioned above will help create the right light for all activities in the heart of our home.

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