The combination of dining room and chandelier is as natural as bread and butter.
However, the editors at Better Homes and Gardens' Building Ideas say the light from a single chandelier isn't always adequate, and in newer, more contemporary houses there may be better choices.
For one thing, in open spaces, a chandelier's limited range will result in shadowy surrounding areas. For another, more aesthetically pleasing treatments are available.
In dining rooms with exceptionally high vaulted ceilings, for example, a solitary fixture on a long drop of conduit might not be the best source of lighting.
Instead, consider using track or recessed lighting, neither of which would interrupt the architecturally interesting lines of the room. Both types of lighting can also enhance any pattern in the surface material of the room, and the individual lights can be focused on different areas, as down-lighting for artworks, for example.
Even in rooms where a chandelier is the light source of choice, additional lighting is often necessary. To help illuminate the table area, a ring of four recessed down-lights around the outer edge of the table is effective.
Add needed light at the walls, flanking a buffet or server with wall sconces mounted 60 inches above the floor. Tungsten-halogen is popular as a light source for these small, light-intense fixtures. Track or recessed lighting is also useful over a buffet, with fixtures spaced 2 to 3 feet apart and mounted 9 to 12 inches from the wall.
For a china closet that didn't come with under-shelf strip lighting, consider adding some to show off china and collectibles--as well as to help balance the light throughout the room.
To make the most of lighting arrangements, use dimmer switches. These will help change the mood and illumination of a dining room to suit the activity taking place.