Choosing the right pendant for your dining room lighting can be tricky: You want it to make a decorative statement, provide enough light for the table and avoid unwanted glare. Much of the functionality of dining room pendant lights can be controlled through proper height placement and choosing the right materials (transparent glass for an all-around glow versus opaque metal for more downward focused light). After that, the exact style is a simple matter of taste. Fortunately, there are plenty of modern pendant lights out there to create the dramatic look and lighting effect you want in your dining room.

Mini Pendant & Multi-Light Pendant Lighting

On its own, one mini pendant is probably not sufficient to properly illuminate a dining table. But when 3 or more are grouped together, you effectively have a contemporary take on a traditional chandelier. Some multi-light pendants come pre-configured; all you have to do is have each pendant in it cut to a desired length. Or you have the option of truly customizing a piece by choosing a multi-port ceiling canopy and mixing and matching pendants of varying sizes, colors and/or shapes.

Beacon Pendant By Tech Lighting Nafir Pendants By AXO Light Fucsia 3 Multipoint Pendant By Flos Lighting

Choose a rectangular canopy for linear configurations over longer oval or rectangular tables, and a round canopy to create a central cluster for round or square dining tables.

Drum Pendant Lighting

With their clean-cut profile, drum pendants are particularly popular choices for modern dining rooms. However, while the overall shape seems simple enough, there are enough sizes, materials and other details out there to make a drum pendant distinctive from the others. Materials range from pleated fabric to frosted glass to laser-cut metal and are often finished with a bottom diffuser to minimize glare.

Apollo Pendant By Trend Lighting Plis Suspension By Vibia Urban Pendant By Bover

Due to its rounded proportions, a single drum pendant should be reserved for placement at the center of a round or square table. For rectangular tables, you'd want to install two or more to create a balanced look.

Medium & Large Pendant Lighting

Medium or large pendants offer ever greater sculptural possibilities over a dining table. You can keep things relatively simple with large bell-shaped metal pendants, add a natural element with metal branches, or create a whimsical look with a fluffy "poof" of curled wood veneer. Again, proportion is important. You want to choose a pendant that will complement the size and shape of your dining table, not overwhelm it. A good rule is to choose a pendant that is 6” narrower on each side than the smallest width of the dining table.

Caravaggio Pendant By Lightyears Allegretto Vivace Suspension By Foscarini Agatha Pendant By LZF

While often similar in scale to drum pendants, there are medium and large pendants with more linear proportions, making them appropriate as single fixtures over a rectangular table.


Height Over the Table

Ideally, between 28 and 36 inches above the surface of the table. It should be higher than eye level, but low enough to provide ample light on the surface.

Go for the Bold

If your dining room is filled with calm colors and complementary decor, experiment with an unconventional pendant shape, material or color.

Put a Dimmer on It

A dimmer is a must for changing the mood of the room between parties, gatherings and quiet dinners. Browse light dimmers for great options from Legrand Adorne and Lutron.


"As we just finished building our new home, we needed something unique for our nook near the kitchen. The light we picked is perfect. Very contemporary. Looks exactly like the picture. Love the height, color and style." ~ Francoise


How to Choose Kitchen Pendant Lighting

Other Great Options:

Dining Room Chandeliers

Dining Room Ceiling Fans

More Dining Room Lighting Tips