“Ambient lighting” refers to the diffuse light that fills a room generally, rather than lighting particular spaces. Of all rooms, the dining room is perhaps the most difficult in which to create ambient lighting. Many dining lighting fixtures are not diffuse, using beams of light rather than translucent shades. As a result, dining room light can often be fairly harsh. Unfortunately, it is also the room in which diffuse, softer light is the most important. In this article, I will discuss two important tips for generating ambience in your dining room. These tips will soften your light and make it more pleasant.
Tip #1 – Only Pretend to Light With Your Chandelier: Chandeliers are beautiful, but they are usually horrible sources of illumination. Many chandeliers have open bulbs that are unpleasant to look at, creating glare. Further, because your chandelier is usually directly above your dining room table, the chandelier will reflect glare off of the top of your dining room table. In addition, the beams from a chandelier come from above people's faces, which creates shadows that make them look older.
Instead, only pretend to illuminate with your chandelier. Consider your chandelier more of a decorative fixture, rather than a functional one. In effect, it should be treated in the way that Christmas trees are treated: they are there as decoration. Instead, the actual, functional illumination for your dining room should come from other light sources.
Tip #2 – Use Walls and Ceilings to Reflect Light: The easiest way to generate ambient light is to reflect beams off of ceilings and walls. For example, you can use wall sconces that shine light upward onto the wall, and which then reflects into the room as a whole. Alternatively, you can use torchieres (floor lamps that shine upwards) to illuminate the ceiling, allowing the light to reflect downward. Don't forget how powerful mirrors are, as they can provide even more ambient light from the reflected ceiling inside.
Using these two tips, you can easily generate quality ambient light for your dining room. It is just a matter of have the apparent sources of light be different from the actual sources.