Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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Dining Room

Good lighting in dining rooms helps people clearly see the food on the table and each other's faces with minimum glare. A dimmer adjusts the light level, allowing low levels for candlelight dinners and high levels for paperwork on the dining table. Pendant fixtures light the table and provide general illumination. Chandeliers can also be used as general illumination and as a decorative complement of the décor, although they can be a source of glare if the wattage is too high and they cannot be dimmed. Accent lighting for artwork or any other interesting architectural features can add interest to the space.

Design features:

  • A pendant fixture lights both the ceiling and the table. The bowl of the pendant luminaire is translucent to minimize glare. This pendant fixture uses two 75-W halogen incandescent bulbs. Alternatively, two 23-W Energy Star labeled compact fluorescent bulbs can be used if the pendant is not controlled by a dimmer. If controlled by a dimmer, look for dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs. Make sure you do not see the bare bulb when seated.
  • Wall sconces are mounted 6 ft above the floor on each side of the buffet or sideboard. The translucent fixture shields your view of the bulb and provides some brightness on the walls and ceiling. Each is designed to use an 18-W compact fluorescent bulb with electronic ballast.
  • Although not shown in the figure, displayed objects can be accented with a narrow beam of light from adjustable recessed downlights installed in the ceiling above. Accent lighting can be achieved with adjustable recessed downlights with a 5 in. aperture. Use grooved baffle trim to avoid glare. Ask for 50-W PAR 20 or PAR 30 halogen floodlights or narrow floodlights if a narrower beam of light is desired.
  • Dimming controls will enable you to vary the light for each occasion. The dimmer is located in the light switch and dims the halogen incandescent bulbs (or dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs) in the pendant over the table. Fluorescent tubes should not be put on a dimmer unless it is a dimming system specifically made for fluorescent bulbs. Look for information on the box.

Lighting Tips
  • Avoid using clear-glass light fixtures.
  • When using extra light on objects of special interest, such as pictures, vases, etc., aim the lighting at the object, not at your face.

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