An appetite for great lighting: Luminaires for dining areas

August 20, 2019 3 min read

An appetite for great lighting: Luminaires for dining areas

Read on for The Light Yard’s top tips for lighting your dark dining room

Searching for lighting that puts your food in the right light?

Lighting has a tremendous impact on the way food looks, and can dramatically alter its appeal, as any food styling or food photography professional will tell you. In fact, food stylists and photographers agree that natural light in any space brings out the best in your dishes – but what about lighting a night-time dinner party or an late-night celebratory meal?

How do you best serve up meals in dining rooms which are short on natural light due to architecture, which may be too difficult or expensive to alter? You’ll need to find a light source that’s beautiful to behold, and serves the function of illuminating your food in an appetising way. But with a seemingly endless selection of lights, from high street to high end, where do you begin? First let’s talk about mood…


Pick your mood

dining table lighting ideas Lighting can say everything about the intent of the dining area – or in other words, the mood. Perhaps you need a relaxing space to unwind after the cares of the day? Or a rich, luxuriant atmosphere in which to indulge in sumptuous delights.

The way we utilise our dining area is evolving. No longer a simple place to eat, it’s a backdrop for family life and often, a performance space. It’s where we pour gravy onto our sunday roast, and cream onto our berries, where we pepper and sprinkle and dip into sauces.

This affinity for “food in motion” is becoming popularised in part by the master desserts chefs bringing innovation to 5-star establishments and through demonstrations on programmes such as Bake-Off: The Professionals.

The man behind The Light Yard, Jeff Fuller, is a keen foodie and a hospitality industry veteran, so choosing lighting for food preparation and dining areas is something of a specialism.

Jeff recommends in all cases that dining area lights are dimmable to varying levels, allowing you to transition from one phase of your evening to the next. He says, “Particularly in open plan living where food preparation areas will require a lot of light, but also in traditional dining room settings, you’ll want to be able to raise and dim the lights, which will help you to prepare the dinner, dim the lights to enjoy the meal, and later turn them right down to about 30% strength for a relaxed ambiance over dessert.”

Consider hardware

When you’re creating your room’s new lighting schemes, style with the dining room furniture – the chairs, table and sideboard – in mind. Some designers suggest creating symmetry so that chairs below and ceiling lighting above feature similar metals, woods or colours. 


Create levels – and go for odd numbers

Optic 3 pendant light cluster

“In addition to an eye-catching ceiling light or pendant cluster, use floor lamps and table lamps to create layering within the lighting scheme,” says Jeff.

How about recessed spotlights? “If you like recessed lights, as many people do, it’s just fine to keep them where they are, though some find them to have a bit of a dated look. It’s all down to personal choice. However, we’d say stay away from fluorescent strip lights.

“For rectangular tables two metres in lengths, we recommend multiple pendant luminaires hung linearly in odd numbers. For round tables, a cluster of three pendants hung at staggered heights from one ceiling rose gets our vote.”

Smoked glass pendant lighting cluster over dining table

 One of our most popular pendants selected for use in dining areas is the Smoked Glass Pendant Luminaire. With a dimmable 4 Watt LED Bulb, it features a highly reflective smoked glass finish and is the perfect pendant light for creating a centrepiece lighting feature.

Discover our complete indoor pendant light collection here – and if you’d like any further tips or have specific questions, speak with us or drop us a line via email.

Questions? To speak with us about lighting for your home or commercial project, call +44 (0)330 223 3940. Or email

For more lighting commentary, design news and advice, follow Gwyn Carless at The Light Yard on  Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram and  LinkedIn.

SBID The Light Yard accredited partner