There are several pieces that make a room unmistakably traditional: tried-and-true silhouettes, neutral color palettes, curated, often vintage, decor, and classic finishes. This beloved design style is perfect for homeowners who desire trend-proof surroundings that won't need to be updated in a few years. And while the look can be interpreted in any room of the house, from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen, we especially love it in the dining room.
Now this isn't to say that you should add wainscoting to the walls and invest in vintage dining chairs, rather we suggest starting small, with traditional dining room lighting instead. From lanterns to candelabras to pendant lights in straightforward shapes, the right fixture can set the tone and transform your space. Here are nine illuminating ideas that will jump-start your search.
1. Brass pairs beautifully with dark colors.
Many traditional dining rooms are covered top to bottom in shades of white, which is a great choice since it's such an enduring color. However, to make your lighting pop, we suggest complementing with furniture in a dark finish à la the black chairs, sideboard, and framed artwork in this space designed by Lark & Linen.
Get the look: McGee & Co. Go Lightly Medium Chandelier, $1,089
2. Play up the vintage feel.
Traditional design frequently wraps in vintage pieces, and this dining room designed by Kevin Francis O'Gara of Thou Swell is no exception. In addition to the antique sideboard and throwback dining chairs, he picked a candelabra-inspired chandelier to add to the bygone vibe of the space.
3. Consider an unexpected shape.
When it comes to traditional style, shapes and silhouettes don't often rock the boat. For example, in this dining room belonging to Sherry of Design Indulgence, the profiles of the dining chairs, table, and wainscoting are all too recognizable. But when it comes to the lighting, she chose to push the envelope with a globe-shaped pendant that's hard to miss, yet doesn't feel out of place.
4. Go big or go home.
Oftentimes traditional dining room lighting is not the focal point. But that doesn't mean that it can't be the center of attention, right? Follow the lead of this setup belonging to Tori Donahue of The Mom Edit, and go big with a tiered, brass chandelier and dramatic navy blue backdrop.
Get the look: CB2 Tarte Tiered Chandelier, $399
5. Lean a little midcentury.
So, you've got your traditional must-haves in place: the perpetually stylish table and chairs, the coffered ceiling, wainscoting, and patterned wallpaper. Yes, this sounds like a traditional utopia, but we want to recommend something you perhaps haven't considered — a midcentury-leaning light fixture. Here in this dining room by Jenn Feldman Designs, a starburst-style chandelier stands out amid classic details.
Get the look: Arteriors Ramirez Chandelier, $3,640
6. Play dress up.
What better way to set the mood for a fancy dinner party than by adding a little sparkle? Jean Stoffer clearly got the memo, as seen by the traditional dining room lighting that was selected for this space. The crystal floret-embellished chandelier and brass wall sconces dress up the otherwise simple design just enough to make it feel special, and not overbearing or showy.
Get the look: Aerin Claret Short Chandelier, $4,115
7. You can’t go wrong with a classic.
You know the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well, for traditional dining room lighting, these words are certainly true. With a white drum shade and brass finish, the candelabra style light fixture in this dining room, designed by Joanna of Jojotastic, has a timeless and sophisticated look that can span decades.
8. Treat it as a focal point.
Just because traditional dining room lighting is usually more subtle than other styles, that doesn't mean it should fade into the background. On the contrary, let it stand out as the star of the show. We love the organic, branch-inspired chandelier that Heidi Caillier chose for this inviting space. The blue walls with a botanical mural makes a picture-perfect backdrop.
Get the look: Arteriors Sherwood Fixed Chandelier, $5,305
9. Aim for simplicity.
At the end of the day, there's one word that describes traditional dining room lighting: pretty. The simple, yet charming visuals are just so pleasing to the eye, as seen in this setup styled by Ashley of Cherished Bliss. Here, a curved, black candelabra-style chandelier adds classic beauty to a room that's decked out in subtle, yet elegant, pieces of decor.