How to illuminate the dining table

Choosing a lamp for the table is possibly the most important decision when planning how to illuminate the dining table.

To do this, there is nothing better than to follow some simple guidelines that will guide us on our journey to the perfect ceiling lamp.

Lamp shape and dimensions

Both the size and shape of the lamp with which we illuminate the dining table will depend on the characteristics of the latter.

For example, if our table is round, a lamp with this same circular shape will look much better than a rectangular one. In addition, a single light source will be enough to illuminate the table completely.

Luminaires adapted to the shape of the table

If our table is rectangular, an alternative is to arrange several lamps lengthwise. Of course, we can always choose an elongated lamp.

How to choose the right bulb

The key to good lighting is that both the decoration of the table and the dishes we are going to serve look in all their splendor. To achieve this it is essential to choose a quality bulb. Although we have already commented on several occasions on what to look for at the time of purchase, it is not superfluous to review some important points:

  • CRI or color rendering index: A high value, 80 or more, is necessary so that the light does not distort the colors and they are shown as they really are.
  • Dimmable light intensity: Key to be able to create different atmospheres. We do not need the same light to have dinner or to play cards and being able to adjust the intensity will allow us to adapt it to the needs of the moment.
  • LED: For efficiency, durability, because it is more environmentally friendly, because it saves light, because they do not give heat … the reasons for using this technology are countless.

Ideas for lighting the dining table

Beyond placing a lamp in the center of the table (round table – round lamp, elongated table – elongated lamp) we can opt for different combinations, from the most traditional to the most daring.

Several identical lamps

If we don’t want to gamble, placing two or three identical lamps along the table is an excellent option.

If we seek to convey order and symmetry, we will install an odd number of lamps, three being the most common.

Different combined lamps

Lamps at different heights or with different designs.

By playing with different shapes, colors, heights and even opening angles of the light, the options multiply. Even so, it is not advisable to vary more than two characteristics in the set.

Obviously, we must be clear about the objective we pursue with the set and that the result fits our style.

Exposed bulbs

With the new LED filament bulbs, dispensing with lampshades in the lamp is very common.

downlight on dining table

With this alternative, combining different lengths of cable is not as risky as with full lamps.


If we want to maintain a fully minimalist style, downlights are our best option.

Downlights provide uniform lighting without taking up space. They are also highly recommended if we have to install the light in low ceilings.

Problems when placing lamps above the dining table

The ideal situation would be one in which, once the table is located, we have the light point in the center of it. Obviously, although this is the ideal situation, it is not necessarily the most common.

It may be the case that the light point is off-center or simply not available, either because it does not exist or because it is far away from the dining area.

Point of light badly located

In this case, the simplest thing to do is to take advantage of the length of the wiring of the pendant lamp to center the light source on the table. With a little creativity we can use the cable as a decorative element.

Different table lamps

Light point not available

If we don’t have a light point, or it’s too far away, we can explore other ways to illuminate the dining table.

Who says the dining table has to be lit from the ceiling? Dare to use other types of lamps.

An alternative way to illuminate the table is to use a floor or wall lamp, especially if they are large.

Of course, whether the point of light is not where it should be or there is none at all, we can always move it or put it ourselves.

As we can see, it doesn’t matter what style we want or if we are looking for the lighting of the table to integrate with the rest of the decoration or stand out from the rest. Surely we will find the luminaire that suits our tastes and needs.

If you need more ideas you can consult our article on Living Room Lighting.