Dining room lights are often an afterthought. The decor has been completed and the furniture placed where it's needed.
Only then is the issue of lighting faced up to. Either it's already in place - and maybe not exactly where it's wanted - or it doesn't really provide the light you want in the places you want.
So it's always a good idea to think about dining room lights at the start of the decorating process.
What types of dining room lights can you have?
Select your lights according to the sort of lighting you want. There are three main categories of lighting - background or ambient, task and decorative.
For dining room lights you'll certainly want background light. This allows people to see what they are doing, but it's not strong enough for occupations such as reading. Background light can be provided by ceiling lights, wall lights, floor standing uplighters and table lamps. It also helps if some of these are controlled by dimmer switches, which allow you to vary the amount of light they give. (If you want to install these make sure you get expert advice.)
Task lighting can also be useful. In a dining room this is providing light onto the table, or light onto dishes kept on a sideboard, for example. Task lighting can be given by a ceiling light such as a chandelier hung directly over the dining table.
Decorative lighting can be very attractive. If you have pictures on the wall, light them by means of picture lights fixed into the wall above them, or table lamps placed underneath them on small items of furniture.
Use a combination of all types
You'll get a much better effect with lighting if you use a combination of all three types. Background light can always be there to a lesser or greater extent.
Task lighting can be very useful for people of more advanced years whose eyesight isn't what it once was.
Decorative lighting gives a warm and homely atmosphere, and provides a relaxing setting for your dining room, especially useful if you entertain guests on a regular basis.
And don't forget...
You don't need a special occasion to use candles. An attractively laid dining table with candle light never fails to impress and delight.
Always provide some background lighting when you use candles, even if it is very subdued. Guests will need it as they enter and leave the room. Use the candle light as an added feature, and not as the main light source.
Uplighters and standard lamps can also be used for dining room lights. Many modern homes have recessed ceiling lights which provide effective background light.
You can find out more about the different types of lighting on the home lighting page.