7 Easy Ways to Create Mood Lighting in Your Dining Room

published Nov 20, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s officially dinner party season. So it’s time to think about your dining room setup. Even if you have the biggest table, the comfiest chairs, and the best food, the vibe could be off. And that’s probably because of bad lighting—conversation just doesn’t flow when bright, jarring light is bouncing around the room. But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to make your dining area more atmospheric, even if you don’t have a fancy dimming system installed. You can create mood lighting by introducing secondary light sources, and we trolled Instagram for a few great ideas to get you started on your lighting journey

Credenza Lamps

If you have a buffet or sideboard in your dining nook, then put that extra counter space to work. Decorate the surface with one or two lamps. Placing a pair of lamps at opposite ends of a credenza is a common configuration. Now you can switch these lights on instead of the overhead light to set a softer, moodier scene.

Candle Centerpieces

A dinner party always seems more intimate when the lights are off, and candles are blazing in the middle of the table. But you don’t want your guests eating in darkness either. Get the right level of brightness by DIYing a centerpiece that uses a lot of candles. This one from Sugar & Cloth is a great example.

Side Table Votives

If you have a smaller apartment, try using inexpensive side tables as extra surfaces for mood lighting. Put the tables in the corners of the room and set hurricanes or a cluster of votive candles on top of them. When you light these little candles up, the room will instantly be filled with a soft, diffused glow.

Extra Wall Lamps

If your main overhead lighting source is too harsh, consider something wall-mounted like sconces or swing arm lamps. Just know that you will need an electrician for this if your room isn’t already hardwired for wall lighting.

Switch Your Bulbs

To create ambiance without extra lamps or candles, swap in light bulbs with lower wattage. That way, even if your fixtures are fully on, they’ll still be emitting less light. Your room will look cozier this way, too.

Try Floor Lamps

When your guests are moving from drinks and apps to dinner, it’s nice to have a floor lamp that you can turn on, rather than an overhead light. This eliminates the annoying glare that harsh overhead lights can often emit. Plus, floor lamps are flexible—you can literally move one from room to room to wherever you need it.

Hang String Lights

If you need some ambiance in a pinch, you can’t go wrong with string lights. Drape them around the room with the help of Command hooks. When you switch them on, you will feel like you’re eating at a chic bistro.