Whether you’re enjoying the easy comfort of family meals, the sparkle of a sophisticated dinner party or the joyful bustle of a big holiday feast, the dining room is one of the most social places in your home. Whatever the mood of the gathering, smart lighting design has an important role to play in setting the ambiance of the room.

The scale and formality of the space is important to consider when you’re exploring lighting ideas for your dining room. A grand dining room, used primarily for entertaining, will have very different lighting needs from a cosier family space. If your dining room is especially large, an impressive chandelier suspended over the table will cast a warm pool of light across the gathered company, creating the sense of a more intimate space. Vaulted or cathedral ceilings are popular for this style of dining room, but without proper lighting, they can leave the room feeling remote and cold. Installing a series of recessed can lights right into the ceiling can work to lower it visually, preserving the sense of space but warming up the general atmosphere of the dining room. If the room features sideboards, smaller tables or display cases, a few well placed lamps with add an additional layer of depth and interest to the overall lighting design.

Smaller dining rooms have even more to gain from the intelligent placement of your lighting fixtures. The table where everyone gathers is still the focal point of the room, but a lighter hand should be used when you’re choosing a fixture. Consider suspending a trio of more delicate pendant lights above the table at varying heights to draw the eye upwards for the illusion of a higher ceiling.

More contemporary dining rooms offer the opportunity to experiment with unique lighting fixtures which often double as pieces of art. The glowing clusters of a bubble chandelier can imbue a room with a magical glow, while the visual impact of a modern starburst fixture adds energy and excitement to the room’s interior design.