Back before humans had such luxuries as electricity and electric lighting, living was all about survival of the fittest. Those specimens who ran the fastest, scored the most and healthiest foods, and evaded predators with precision lived to procreate. Survival of the fittest meant that life was all about cheating death and had little to do with comfort. “Ambiance” was not a consideration back then.
Times certainly have changed! Centuries ago, what constituted a pleasant dining experience varies tremendously from what people today consider a pleasant dining experience. Back then, the rule was, “the more food the better.” Today, diners are more finicky. Despite a sumptuous spread of food on the table, something as simple as ill-positioned wall lights can ruin a dining experience and even cause diners to walk out of a restaurant. Are you skeptical? A study conducted in the United Kingdom concluded that more than 25% of those surveyed had exited a dining establishment without eating because they didn’t like the lighting. You may not be so picky, but you may be undermining your at-home dining experience without realizing it.
All Light is Not Created Equally
Today, food is less about survival and more about enjoyment and reward. Even the most sumptuous spread can be derailed by harsh lighting. The most flattering light by which to dine is light that emits warmer shades. No one wants to feel like they are dining under a floodlight. Yellowish light tones, such as those emitted from LED bulbs, encourage diners to linger and enjoy their food and the company of their fellow diners.
You Don’t Have to Light Up the Night
Often, turning a light on involves one step: Flipping a switch. For the most flattering ambiance, spring for an easy-to-install and inexpensive dimmer switch. Instead of only having two options (on and off), a dimmer switch lets you customize the lighting in a room. Turn the dimmer up when your kids are doing homework at the kitchen table. Turn the dimmer down when you are hosting an intimate dinner party.
Fixtures are the Little Black Dresses of Lighting
Sure you can screw a light bulb into a ceiling socket and you’ll have light. But what kind of mood does that create? Not an appealing one! Choose your dining-room light fixture carefully. It sets the tone for your entire room and affects how your guests will feel when enjoying a meal in its midst. Fixtures that emit light upwards toward the ceiling are favored by many fining dining establishments. These fixtures make the light secondary to the food. They complement but do not overwhelm. That’s what every knowledgeable chef wishes for the lighting that will complement his culinary creations.