How High Should I Hang My Dining Room Light Fixture?

Home Stager with Rooms With Style

Many times when I am in a client's home I notice a few things about the dining room. One of those things is the height that their light fixture is hung above the table. Most of the time it is too high.  In the photo to the right I feel the light is too high but it also is too large for the table.

dining-room light too high


I think many times what happens is when people are moving in or out they clip the light fixture up so they won't hit their heads when the table is gone and then it never gets lowered again. Or people just don't know how to hang it so I'm here to help!


A general rule of thumb is that the bottom of the light should be about 30-34 inches above the table. Most table heights are 30" so you are looking at approximately 62" off the floor if your table isn't in the room yet.


The dining room light fixture is normally the primary architectural feature of the room besides being the main source of light. So function as well as overall room decor is key.


The general rule I listed above is for an 8 foot ceiling. For every additional foot of ceiling height your light fixture may need to be raised 3 inches. The key word in that sentence is "may". A lot is determined by the overall size of your light fixture, the size of your table and the size of your room. If you have an overly large chandelier you may need to raise it slightly higher.


In the photo below I feel the light is not only too small for the room it is too small for the table.


Light too small


The size of your fixture should be a half to two-thirds the width of the table; or one foot smaller than the table width is another way people determine the size. You just don't want a fixture that is overpowering the table or the room. Likewise you don't want it to look dwarfed in the space.


I am going to use my own dining room as an example:


My ceiling height is 9 feet, the diameter of the light fixture is 22" and my table is 44" wide and 78" long. It is an open concept home so the height also needs to be adjusted with the overall scope of the area. But although my ceilings are a foot taller than the general rule of 8 feet, I did not adjust my light upwards. I just didn't feel that was necessary with this pendant light.






My light is 33"above the table. This height provides light down on the table where it is needed and really draws focus on the dining area itself. If this fixture was higher would totally lose the intimate feeling you want in the dining room and feel like a hallway or foyer light.





My recommendation is to use these general rules but then to hold up the light fixture and eye ball it as well. If necessary bring in a trained professional to assist you as once that wire is cut and the light is can't take it back!




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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Shar Sitter - This is really good information and I don't recall reading magazine articles or any other type of media print about how to properly hang a light fixture. I find this to be a problem in many homes I see listed for sale. I recall going on office tours as early as 2003 and noticing variations of light fixture and ceiling fan heights. The agent from our office would always say, well, that's where the builder put it and that means it is right for this home. I never understood how that could be true for all houses. You just solved the mystery and I hope I'm not the only one who appreciates the information. This is very educational and helpful. 

Thank you, Shar!

Aug 05, 2019 01:40 PM #1
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Shar Sitter - Congratulations! You have been FEATURED in the BananaTude Group! You are a true asset to the ActiveRain Community. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful staging and redesign concepts that are unique and very important to know. I hope you know, you're very much appreciated.




Aug 05, 2019 02:43 PM #2
Leif Price
Spot Color Marketing - Portland, OR
Content Marketing Specialist

This is a great post for dining light fixtures. It's rare to find this kind of post as others generalize their post for light fixtures all over the home. 

Aug 05, 2019 07:09 PM #3
Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Shar Sitter I have run into not so great placed/sized dining room fixtures quite often over the years. It makes a world of difference finding the right size/style light fixture and hanging it so it makes the best possible look. For sure we have replaced many, many of them!!

Aug 07, 2019 03:30 PM #4
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Shar - position and scale are so important in design/presentation. Dining room lighting is an area where significant improvements can be demonstrated and that is especially true when your excellent advice is followed.   

Aug 10, 2019 01:26 PM #5
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Shar,  I see some that people run into and especial in vacant homes, they need to raise them up there for sure.


Aug 13, 2019 08:46 AM #6
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Can't tell you how many fixtures I've bashed my head on or looked up to the sky. Thanks for clarifying with photos of course.

Aug 16, 2019 01:53 PM #7
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Shar Sitter

Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M
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