Dining room lighting should be both beautiful and functional. This requires a mix of general, task, and accent lighting that can set the mood for a number of functions, including a formal dinner, a family get-together, and other activities such as homework, hobbies, or family bookkeeping. Dimming controls will enable you to vary the light for each occasion (see lighting controls).
A chandelier is the focal point of the dining room. Suspended over the dining table, it serves as a decorative style element that enhances the beauty of your fine furnishings. When the light is dimmed, a soft, glowing atmosphere similar to candlelight is created. If equipped with a downlight, the chandelier provides task lighting for the table and accent lighting for a centerpiece.
Recessed or track lighting provides general dining room lighting, while enabling you to highlight prized possessions throughout the dining room. A ring of four recessed downlights around the dining table supplements the light from the chandelier, while providing accent lighting for your tableware. The pure white light of low-voltage fixtures with tungsten-halogen bulbs will make your crystal and silverware sparkle. (see light sources)
A buffet or sideboard can be flanked with wall sconces on either side. Choose fixtures that complement the style of your chandelier. Displayed objects can be accented with recessed downlights installed in the ceiling above.
A family portrait can be dramatically lighted with recessed adjustable accent fixtures. Ask the certified lighting consultants at your local ALA showroom to help you choose fixtures that are best suited for this purpose.
A China cabinet, breakfront, hutch, or wall niche can become a showplace for your prized collectibles by installing strips of low-voltage mini-lights under the shelves.