When we say "contemporary" style, you may immediately picture a super-sleek and polished interior. While that can be true, this design aesthetic really comes down to whatever era you're currently living in: for the 1970s, it was shag carpet. For the '80s, walls of glass brick. And so on.
Contemporary aesthetics can actually incorporate several different time periods while still looking fresh, cool, and oh-so-right-now. This approach can look especially au courant in a dining room, specifically when it comes down to the lighting.
From weaving in subtle modern-day accents here and there to full-out trendy designs, here are nine contemporary dining room lighting ideas guaranteed to make you and your dinner guests swoon.
1. Echo the textures and colors within your space.
With so many materials and silhouettes available today, you're likely to find an ideal contemporary light fixture that emulates the look and feel of your space. Pull from the hues and textures in your dining room like Molly of Almost Makes Perfect did in her cozy-meets-modern nook.
Get the look: Tech Lighting Karam Pendant Light, starting at $564
2. Punch up a transitional space.
In a transitional dining room — one that's not quite traditional, not quite modern — a contemporary touch can take the visuals up a notch. Consider a dining room lighting idea that displays traditional materials in an unexpected way. This space belonging to Cassandra of Coco Kelley cleverly showcases a pendant light with a traditional brass finish and a not-so-traditional star shape.
Get the look: Arteriors Home Rex Pendant, $780
3. Don’t be too serious.
Contemporary design always seems to have a lightness about it — it's OK to have a little fun and not take it too seriously. A picture-perfect example of this lightheartedness is the pretty in pink, boho space styled by Kelly of Studio DIY. It's the epitome of fun and playful, and it's full of energy.
Get the look: Anthropologie Fela Tasseled Chandelier, $248
4. Opt for an eclectic look.
As we mentioned earlier, contemporary style can weave several different eras together, and we fully support this approach. For instance, even though this dining room crafted by Sarah of Room for Tuesday could be called classic or neutral, a midcentury-inspired light fixture serves as a surprising touch, resulting in a look that's altogether contemporary.
Get the look: McGee & Co. Katie Globe Pendant, $385
5. Pair whimsy with intricate patterns and fanciful hues.
When searching for a contemporary dining room lighting idea, there are a few details you can look for: geometric shapes, larger-than-life dimensions, eye-catching colors, and unique materials. This fixture, belonging to Catherine and Bryan of Beginning in the Middle, is a flawless example of this. It showcases shimmering glass shades, gold hues, and a subtle striped texture, all of which work together to make an artful impact.
6. Think big and bold.
Contemporary dining room lighting ideas aren't known for being shy, so you shouldn't be either. Consider a fixture that stretches out over the table like Ashley of Bigger Than the Three of Us did in her home. The result is nothing short of striking.
Get the look: Stilnovo The Nicklas LBC017 Chandelier, starting at $641
7. Match a moody palette.
Contemporary dining room lighting ideas can even help solidify the overall color palette. Choose a metal finish that complements the rest of the space like Lindi and Russel of Love Create Celebrate did. The black finish of their mobile-style chandelier mimics the dark shades seen throughout the rest of the room.
Get the look: West Elm Mobile Chandelier, $399
8. Make the fixture the star of the show.
Let's say you've decided to fully commit to contemporary style in your dining room — there's not a hint of the past, and everything looks as if it's been transported from the future. In this case, pick a light fixture with major star quality, like the jaw-dropper seen in this space designed by Cortney Bishop Design.
Get the look: Apparatus Cloud, starting at $5,350
9. Go a bit Jetsons-like.
We think that The Jetsons were definitely onto something when it comes to decor. Take a page from their book and hang a space-age chandelier. We are loving the futuristic, midcentury vibe of the light fixture seen in this dining room belonging to Sarah from Making Joy & Pretty Things.
Get the look: West Elm Champignon 6-Light Chandelier, $599
Where to Shop for Contemporary Dining Room Lighting:
After seeing all of this inspiration, you probably have visions of contemporary dining room lighting ideas dancing in your head. But where do you shop for such fixtures? Give one of these sites a try:
For reasonably-priced fixtures that don't slack on style, make a stop at the AllModern website. Sure, you'll find traditional and midcentury pieces here, but you'll also find geometric styles that have LED lights, drum shades, and sputnik silhouettes that you've never seen before.
CB2 might be at the pinnacle of today's contemporary lighting. Their fixtures are incredibly inventive, especially when it comes to their selection of materials and finishes. Tectonic metal? Marble? Alabaster? Yup, it's all here.
Lighting, although practical, can absolutely be works of art in their own right. If this sounds like your personal mantra, head on over to Lightology, a leading destination for fixtures that look as if they should be hanging in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.