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Dining table lighting: Tips for the ideal light

If you coordinate the lighting for your dining table correctly, you can not only create a cosy atmosphere, your dishes will also be wonderfully staged. The choice of bulbs, the beam angle and the light colour play particularly important roles. The latter is particularly important for the presentation of the food. Find out which helpful tips will help you make your guests', employees' or family's mouths water.

Dining Table Lighting Banner

Aleks Kend –


The most important facts about lighting the dining table:

  • Choose the orientation of your bulbs according to the shape of the table
  • Make sure you have the right beam angle
  • Indirect lighting of the dining table is also possible
  • A warm white to extra warm white light colour is perfect
  • Use dimmable LEDs for even more atmosphere


Lighting the dining table: Why should you choose LED?

The most cost-effective and efficient variant of dining table lighting is LED lights. These are available in a wide variety of forms and can now also authentically imitate the glow of the classic light bulb. Although the purchase is usually a little more expensive, this investment soon pays off, as you can save up to 90 % on energy costs with LEDs. In addition, the "light-emitting diodes" are available in different light colours - but more on that later.





How do you select the right lighting for your dining table?

Of course, it is not only about the technology behind your light source, but about the shape of your table. As a simple rule of thumb, you can remember: Choose your luminaires so that the light sources match the shape of the table. So if you have a rectangular, long table in your dining room, you should choose bulbs that stand in a row next to each other. If you have a round dining table, you can centre the light sources and play with different heights, or install them in a circle.


Different luminaires are suitable


For this type of lighting, for example, the classic bulb pendant that you mount under the ceiling are a good choice. If you decide on this solution, you should make sure that the bulbs hang around 60 cm above the tabletop so that people sitting at the dining table do not touch them with their heads. It is also important to ensure that the light from the pendant bulbs does not dazzle. You can take care of this with a lampshade, or you can buy special LED reflectors that are designed so that the light rays cannot reach the eye directly.   

Dining Table Lighting at a Restaurant

interiorphoto –


If you do not want to use bulb pendants, you can also use LED spotlights for this variant - these are also mounted in the ceiling. This is particularly worthwhile if you do not want to have large bulbs hanging above your head - for example in the break room in the office or in the canteen. Pay attention to the beam angle: a spotlight with a narrow beam angle of 15°, for example, illuminates a round area of 0.66 metres in diameter at a height of 2.5 metres. For an oblong table, you would probably need several luminaires next to each other. So the distance between the bulbs should not be too great to ensure good dining table lighting. Everything else you need to know about the topic and how to finally decide on the right beam angle is explained in the blog entry How do I choose the right beam angle? 

Retrofit bulb

E27 LED Bulbs

led spot from noxion

LED Spotlights


Indirect or direct lighting for the dining table?

If you would like to switch completely to indirect lighting, this is also possible. In this case, choose LED panels or LED bulkheads for walls and ceilings. These provide perfect ambient lighting for any room, which is also transmitted to the dining table. If you mount luminaires on the wall, however, you should make absolutely sure that they are not only mounted behind the seats - otherwise unattractive shadows will appear on the table surface.

LED panel with DALI

LED Panels

Noxion Bulkhead

LED Bulkheads



How many bulbs should you use?

Once you have decided on a type of lighting, you need to plan how many bulbs you will need. Here, too, there is a simple rule: if your dining room is quite small, lighting for the dining table is usually sufficient. If the dining room is larger, additional ambient lighting is recommended, for example in the form of LED panels or ceiling luminaires.


Which light colour is best?


As with any lighting issue, the light colour of your luminaires also plays an important role at the dining table. If you use daylight white (6,500 K) or cool white light sources (4,000 K), the room is flooded with light that has a high blue component. Here, you can work, read and concentrate perfectly. This can be very practical for a dining area, especially if it is also used as a lounge, for example, but it does not create a cosy atmosphere.

Dining Table Lighting in a home

Robert Kneschke –


If you prefer these, go for a warm white (2,700-3,300 K) or extra warm white (below 2,700 K) colour temperature. Such bulbs emit a warm white, atmospheric light that creates a cosy atmosphere - and can even imitate candlelight.


Dimmable LEDs as an insider tip

If you want to remain flexible and make changes to the lighting of the dining table depending on the situation, LEDs that allow you to vary both light intensity and colour temperature are a good choice. For this purpose, there are products from Philips DimTone. If you connect them to an LED dimmer, you can adjust the light colour by reducing the light intensity. A warm white thus becomes an extra warm white. In this way, you can effortlessly set accents. This works completely without a dimmer with another technology: we will explain how to dim without a dimmer with Philips SceneSwitch in another blog entry.





Look for a high colour rendering index (CRI)

Last but not least, you should also pay attention to the colour rendering index (CRI). If this is between 80 and 89 Ra (general reference index), colours are reproduced almost true to life. However, it is even better if you choose products with a CRI of 90 to 99 Ra. These emit a light that almost completely resembles sunlight and thus also authentically represent the food on the table. This is indispensable especially for restaurants or hotels. But you can also benefit from it in your own four walls: After all, the eye always eats with you!