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1) BALANCE STYLE Your table and light shouldn’t match, say interior designers Kristi Dinner and Susan Schwab of company kd, llc. Combine a simple table with a funky light or a tamer light with a bold table. Two showstoppers will just compete for attention.
2) SIZE UP Most homeowners buy light fixtures that are too small, says Dinner. Per the pros at the American Lighting Association: Find a fixture that is 6 inches narrower than the smallest width of your table. For example: If your table is 48 inches by 72 inches, get a light that’s 36 inches wide.
3) GO LOWER Dinner and Schwab’s number one design guideline for hanging lights: There should be 30 to 34 inches from the top of the table to the bottom of the fixture—much lower than you’d think. “You want the light to feel like a part of the dining experience,” Dinner says.
4) REMEMBER FUNCTION “Many fixtures look great,” Dinner says, “but don’t put out a lot of light.” Figure out how much wattage you’ll need in the space (your designer or a lighting-shop owner can help), and consider using a dimmer to create different moods.
5) CREATE AMBIENCE If you just can’t resist a lower-wattage light, designer Laura Abramson-Prichard of Camellia Interior Design has a fix: Place can lights around the perimeter of the room to wash the walls and artwork—not guests’ faces—with light. “You don’t want people to feel like they’re being interrogated while they eat,” says Abramson-Prichard.
Three Go-To Denver Lighting Stores
John Brooks Inc.
Great for: Lights that feel both fresh and tailored, from some of the most exciting design houses in the United States and Europe. (John Brooks sells only to the trade, so take your designer.) 601 S. Broadway, Suite L, 303-698-9977, johnbrooksinc.com
Table M Lamp Restoration
Great for: Period-specific fixtures (hello, art nouveau–lovers) and help with vintage or antique lights that are in desperate need of some expert TLC. 1309 South Inca St., 303-936-1425, tablem.com
Great for: Almost anything. The 20,000-square-foot showroom carries fixtures in a wide range of styles and in a similarly broad price range. 1393 S. Santa Fe Drive, 303-989-8895, urbanlightsdenver.com