Hanging pendant lights quite low in a row over a dining table delivers lovely pools of light. And if you’re entertaining in a kitchen and you want to lose the sense of your surroundings altogether, just having light washing along the table from low-lying pendants is very effective.
Rise and fall pendant lights provide good flexibility, but if that’s not an option, be sure to set the height of the lights very carefully, considering tall guests. (Ask yourself when choosing a light, what would it feel like if someone did hit their head on it? I once installed an amazing chandelier where pieces of metal jutted out dramatically like a starburst, but we set it a little bit too low and it seriously threatened to poke someone’s eye out.) As a rule of thumb, I generally hang them 90cm above the dining table.
To avoid people having to look directly at a bulb, I use crown-topped bulbs in either silver or gold, which send the light upwards, or a decorative filament bulb which, when dimmed, isn’t harsh on the eye.