Lighting for dining

If you have open plan living and dining areas, it is often desirable to ‘lose’ one area of the room while using the other. Separate lighting systems for the living and dining sides of the room are the simplest solution, and a rise-and-fall pendent light sited directly over the dining table is ideal.

This creates a relaxed atmosphere and concentrates light on the table setting and the food itself. During the day, the rise-and-fall pendent can be raised to the ceiling to put it out of a child’s reach.

The regular handling of pendent light shades means that they are likely to get dirtier than most. Acrylic shades should be washed in warm soapy water and sprayed with an antistatic to prevent dust settling too quickly. Fabric shades need only be lightly brushed to remove dust. Dirty marks on cotton shades can be removed by rubbing with dry bread.

Candles are the simplest and one of the most attractive ways of illuminating a. dining table – their warm and soft light creates a romantic, friendly feeling. A wide variety of shapes and sizes is available and you can always make your own. All kinds of unusual holders are possible: earthenware bowls, brandy goblets, egg cups – in fact anything you like.

Candle-making kits come complete with instructions and many colours of wax, some of which are even delicately perfumed.

Unusual lighting

There are some most unusual ornamental lights readily available, such as the luminous, oil-in-water towers. Like a kaleidoscope, these constantly change shape within their container and at the same time illuminate a corner of the room. Obviously, these will not blend in with every living room and are not to everyone’s taste, but they are a good example of the exotic dimensions lighting in a living room can take.

For a completely different effect, you could choose an antique lamp, powered either by oil or electricity. Original antique lamps will be expensive but there are many attractive reproductions available. Even the ordinary, camping paraffin lamps can be brightly painted to blend in with the colours of a living room. They are cheap to run and provide a gentle light which is adequate for reading by if the lamp is properly positioned.

Oil and paraffin wall lights are also widely available. Although there is usually some smell when the lamps are burning, they involve none of the fuss of rewiring and consequent redecorating – they need only be screwed onto the wall. And, of course, they add an attractive, old-fashioned feature to the appearance of the room.

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