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  • Writer's pictureHeather Holcombe

How to select an ideal dining room fixture

As a Triangle interior designer, I love working with homeowners to find ways to add creative interest to their home. One of the many ways to do this is with lighting. But, if you've ever had to select a dining room light fixture, you know it can be a challenge. Deciding on style, color, and size can be daunting. It's something even designers can find challenging at times.

Here are some suggestions to help you select and place an ideally sized dining room fixture.

The key to a great light fixture in any given space is to select one that is the right scale for the space - not too big and not too small - and is harmonious with your overall design style. To do this (correct scale and harmony) you need to consider: scale, clearance, and spacing. 

Scale = Height and Diameter:

Scale matters, whether it's a pendant, flush-mount, or chandelier and whatever the style of the fixture. So, how do you figure out the correct scale? You will need to determine diameter and height based on your dining room.

Fixture Diameter:

Measure the length and width of the room in feet.  Let's say 11 feet by 11 feet

Add the two lengths together. 11 + 11 = 22 feet

Then swap feet for inches - so 22 feet becomes 22 inches.

That number (22 inches) is the ideal diameter for a light fixture in a room of 11 by 11 feet.


Fixture Height:

Take the height of the room (floor to ceiling) in feet. Let's say it's 10 feet high.

Then multiply the height by 2.5" to 3" per foot.  For example: 10 feet x 2.5" to 3" = 25-30 feet

Swap the feet to inches - so 25 feet becomes 25 - 30 inches. 

That number (25-30 inches) is the ideal height for a light fixture in this room.

Using this formula, the ideal scale of a light fixture for this room would be approximately 22 inches wide by 25-30 inches tall. 

Selection and placement over a Dining Room table:

Before you select a fixture, be sure to consider the shape of your table. Round or square tables look best with a pendant or chandelier centered above it. Oval or long rectangular tables look best with a linear fixture or multi-light pendants/chandeliers hung in a line above the table. If you decide to use multiple pendants, consider their scale when grouped above the table rather than individually. 

The width of a fixture hanging above a table should be about 6" narrower on each side than the width of the table. A dining room fixture should hang 28" to 36" from the bottom end of the fixture to the tabletop. 

I hope you find these tips helpful in selecting a fixture but if you aren't sure if you're on the right track, I can work with you to decide what type of fixture would look best in your home and the most appropriate size for the space.


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