BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Kitchen

Best dining room light fixture

Which dining room light fixture is best?

One of the most important elements of projecting a mood is the lighting, and the right lighting fixture is the key. You may want to consider choosing several complementary light fixtures for your dining area as you light the dining room and not just the table.

For your primary dining room light, you’ll want a fixture that not only lights the room but also helps set the mood and adds to the ambiance of the space around it. If you’re looking for a sleek pendant lamp with a silvery finish, take a look at the Kenroy Home Brushed Steel 3-Light Pendant.

What to know before you buy a dining room light fixture

A good place to start is with the type of bulbs you want to put in your fixture. 


What kind of light do you want? 

  • Incandescent bulbs are the type that have been around since Thomas Edison invented them. They’re dimmable, inexpensive and produce a lot of heat.

  • Light-emitting diodes are the most energy-efficient bulbs you can buy, giving off bright light without heat. LED lightbulbs are not always dimmable, so check carefully.

  • Halogen bulbs consume lots of energy and get extremely hot. They are typically found in pendants and recessed lighting.

Types of fixtures 

  • Pendant lights hang from the ceiling, some held by rods and others by chains or cords. A single large light is common, as is a matching pair of pendants. Some pendant lights let you adjust how high the fixture hangs above your table.

  • Chandeliers also hang from the ceiling and are typically larger and wider than pendant lights. Chandeliers have arms and branches that radiate from a central body and hold more lights, covering a broader area than pendant lights.

  • Flush-mounted lights are good choices for small dining areas and rooms with low ceilings. They attach directly to the ceiling and provide lighting over a large surface area, usually with LEDs or fluorescent lighting.

  • Sconces are light fixtures that mount on walls, not ceilings and hide the bulbs while shining their lights upward.

How to hang your fixture

  • Location: Don’t make the common mistake of hanging your dining room fixture in the middle of the room. All designers agree your dining room light should be precisely centered above your table.

  • Height: Place hanging fixtures such as pendants and chandeliers so they are 30 to 36 inches above the table's surface.

What to look for in a quality dining room light fixture

Coordinating with the decor of your room and dinnerware is important, but make sure you choose a fixture sized in proportion to your dining table and the room around it.

How to size your fixtures

  • Length: One rule many designers follow is that your fixture's width should be no less than one-third the length of your dining table. 

  • Width: Another rule of thumb is that your fixture should never be wider than the table.

  • Formula: Add the length and width of your room in feet. That sum will equal the diameter of the fixture you want in inches. For example, a 10- by 14-foot dining room is 10+14=24, meaning you want a 24-inch fixture.

Dimmer switches

Few things change the mood of a dining room as quickly as raising or lowering the lights. Bright lights support the excitement of entertaining, while soft lighting enhances the intimacy of close conversation. Choose switches that adjust the light by moving a slider or turning a knob.


  • Brightness: Measured in lumens, the larger the number, the brighter the light.

  • Color: Choose bulbs that emit the light spectrum that best enhances the color scheme and mood of your dining room. White and yellow are warm colors, while blue is cool.

How much you can expect to spend on a quality dining room light fixture

Most pendants cost $20-$120 and most chandeliers $100-$200. Flush-mounted lights run from $50-$150. Sconces, usually sold in pairs, go for $20-$100.  

Dining room light fixture FAQ

What is the difference between watts and lumens?

A. Watts are the way energy consumption is described. Lumens are the way light output is measured, where one lumen is the amount of light emitted by one birthday candle at a distance of one foot. 

Can I install my new light fixture myself?

A. If you’re very handy and know how to work around live electric wires, yes, but it’s always better to have a helper when you’re working overhead. Before you do your own electrical work, though, check your local regulations.

What’s the best dining room light fixture to buy?

Top dining room light fixture 

Kenroy Home Brushed Steel 3-Light Pendant

What you need to know: The cork shade adds a natural accent to the modern brushed steel finish of this sleek pendant lamp.

What you’ll love: Follow the easy step-by-step installation guide to connect the hanging rods to flat or sloped ceilings and adjust them to the height you want. You can use three 100-watt bulbs or their LED equivalent.

What you should consider: Lightbulbs are not included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dining room light fixture for the money

Bargeni Flush Mount Rustic 3-Light Ceiling Fixture

What you need to know: Wood planking and black metal say rustic chic in a quaint way.

What you’ll love: This 13- by 9-inch fixture mounts directly to the ceiling and fits in with contemporary, industrial and farmhouse looks. It takes three incandescent bulbs and is compatible with a dimmer switch.

What you should consider: It doesn't adjust for height.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Kai Site Modern 10-Light Sputnik Chandelier

What you need to know: This flat black and brushed copper midcentury modern design is from the early days of the Space Age.

What you’ll love: The incandescent lights spike out from the center pole in 10 different directions on 10 branches, all fully dimmable. This 30-inch-wide chandelier can be set at the height that suits you best. 

What you should consider: 40-watt bulbs are recommended but not included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: