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.
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.
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 ......it 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 installed.....you can't take it back!