Dining Room Lighting Ideas: From Popular Styles to Where to Shop

Modern dining room lighting idea with woven pendant
credit: Peter Schweitzer

When it comes to your dining room, lighting plays a key role in setting a scene that feels just right. Whether you're contemplating a complete change to your current setup or simply want to add some ambiance to your dining space, there are several points to consider. Luckily, if you've been searching for inspiring dining room lighting ideas, our guide will get you thinking like a design pro. Or, more importantly, get you thinking about what's right for you and your home specifically.

First, let's start with the basics ...

Overview of Dining Room Lighting

When lighting your dining room, you'll first want to consider things like how you want to illuminate your table, the vibe of the room, artwork you want to display, and, of course, your budget. Also, think about the various types of lighting ideas, like overhead options (think recessed, pendants, chandeliers), wall sconces, and decorative lighting, as well as the style of lighting you'd like, such as modern, farmhouse, midcentury, or industrial.

Dining room dining room lighting idea with art on wall
credit: Stephen Paul

In terms of mood, you'll want to create a vibe that feels most comfortable in your home. Perhaps a warm, cozy bohemian atmosphere is what you're aiming for; perhaps a formal, more traditional setting speaks to you; or perhaps a bright, midcentury-inspired dining room is best. Whatever you choose, just remember that the best trick is to layer your lights, instead of relying upon one source. Mix ambient lighting from ceiling fixtures, such as a chandelier or pendant light, with accent lighting for your artwork, wall sconces for a touch of drama, and a floor lamp (if you have the space) for added decor.

Also, many dining rooms feature track and recessed lighting. These are typically installed around the perimeter of a room and can offer ambient lighting necessary for eating. By keeping this type of illumination around the perimeter, it'll help avoid harsh shadows. If you decide to add track lighting or recessed lighting, be sure to ask your electrician to install a dimmer switch so you can easily set the mood. Also, think about what type of lightbulb you'll need, keeping in mind that high-wattage halogen bulbs can become quite hot and make rooms feel warmer. Go for long-lasting LEDs instead, which are not as harsh and will save you money in the long run.

Finally, consider your budget when contemplating these dining room lighting ideas. Electricians cost an average of $65 to $85 per hour and will need to do things like install chandeliers, pendant lights, track lighting, recessed lighting, and wall sconces. To DIY your project, consider this clever brass sconce hack where no electricity is involved.

Popular Dining Room Lighting Styles

Next, you'll have to choose a style that fits your decor sensibility. Some options include the following:

Midcentury

dining room lighting idea with George Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant Lamp in Dining Room
credit: Stephen Paul

If you're obsessed with midcentury, you're not alone; it's one of the trendiest lighting styles out there right now. To bring this look into your dining room, opt for a multiple-light Sputnik chandelier or a Saucer Bubble Pendant by George Nelson.

Modern or Contemporary

Consumers often use the terms "modern" and "contemporary" interchangeably, but they are, in fact, different. When it comes to lighting styles, for a more modern look, choose lighting that is streamlined, efficient, natural, and includes neutral colors. Contemporary refers to styles that are specifically on trend today, so go for minimalist chandeliers or futuristic designs that incorporate bold finishes like polished chrome and black.

Rustic

dining room lighting idea with wood table and metal hanging pendant lamp
credit: Stephen Paul

If you're into wood and iron, or the farmhouse look, then consider rustic dining room lighting. Find a nice metal or wrought-iron overhead pendant or a rectangular wood chandelier.

Boho

Modern dining room lighting idea with woven IKEA pendant
credit: Paul Anderson

Are you the type of person who incorporates greenery throughout your home? Perhaps you love palm tree wallpaper, a touch of macrame, or even a desert-chic kind of vibe? Then get boho-inspired lighting made with natural materials such as a rattan pendant lamp or go for the ever-popular IKEA fixture literally everyone seems to love. (If you're the DIY type, this boho tassel chandelier will totally light up your room in all the right ways.)

Traditional

dining room lighting idea with chandelier over table
credit: Sanford Creative

To bring more of a traditional or formal look into your dining room, consider a chandelier (such as this space that we adore from The Harper) or try a beautiful drum pendant light featuring a gray or white shade.

Industrial

If industrial is a look you happen to love, then you're in luck with a large variety of lighting options that will support your decor sensibility. Think: raw, simple, functional. And, with industrial lighting you can either buy, or easily DIY.

Types of Dining Room Lighting

Now you're at the step where you can start to imagine the different types of lighting you could install. Consider these options.

modern rustic boho Modern dining room lighting idea
credit: Stephen Paul

Hanging Light

In terms of dining room lighting ideas, you can't go wrong with overhead fixtures, like a pendant light or chandelier. Just make sure that it aligns with your dining room table instead of the room itself. The light you hang above your table needs to be at least 12 inches smaller than your table in every direction. Also, it needs to hang around 30 inches above your table. Keep in mind that a pendant light looks better over a rectangular table, while a chandelier works well with a round table. LED bulb wattage should range from 2400K – 2700K if you have lighter colored walls, or 3000K for darker colored walls, in order to give off a cozy feel.

Flush-mount

Flush-mount lighting may be the answer if you don't want to install recessed or track lighting, or your room is not large enough to accommodate a hanging fixture. You can find flush-mount lighting in a range of styles, from boho to rustic to farmhouse to elegant. These lights are usually dome-shaped and mounted flush to the ceiling.

Semi-flush Mount

A semi-flush mount is another alternative to a pendant or chandelier. The base of the light hangs just below your ceiling. It is more decorative in nature and also comes in many styles, just like flush-mount fixtures.

Wall Sconce

When you have a wall sconce, which is attached to the wall, typically the light will shine upward. It'll require an electrician to come out and install an electrical box in order for it to work. There are a variety of wall sconces to choose from, including flush-mounted wall washers, lantern wall sconces, candle sconces, picture lights, and sign lights. These work especially well when emphasizing hallways or a certain feature of the room, like artwork.

Floor Lamps

If you want to layer your lighting — and you happen to have the space — consider adding a floor lamp to your dining room. Place a floor lamp in an area that is dark and where you and your guests won't trip over it.

Where to Shop for Dining Room Lighting

Whether you're in the market to buy or just considering dining room lighting ideas, check out these places to find the perfect fixtures for your dining room.

dining room lighting idea with pendant and green walls
credit: Codi Ann Backman

Lamps Plus is your go-to place for lighting. It has thousands of ceiling lights, lamps, wall sconces, and chandeliers to choose from, and some products also come with free shipping. What could be better?

If you're into a modern lighting look, then check out AllModern, which has pendant lighting, chandeliers, floor lamps, flush-mount fixtures, and much more for your chic and trendy dining room.

Wayfair is amazing. Not only does the online retailer have thousands of lighting options, but also frequent sales. Here, you are sure to find the modern or classic look that you've been searching for.

Joss & Main features oh-so-stylish lighting, from pendants to chandeliers, wall sconces, lamps, and more. The options are very affordable and you can find any style you crave.


Kylie Ora Lobell

Kylie Ora Lobell

Kylie Ora Lobell is a lifestyle and home writer for publications like Home Depot's blog, the Los Angeles Times, and Cuteness.