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Here are Pooky’s seven top tips for lighting your dining area to flatter your guests and make your meals an experience… Lighting is so important in a dining room that in a special ‘Ultimate Secrets’ episode of the BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge the show’s experts devoted a whole section to it.

Design icon Kelly Hoppen said: 'Because a dining room is used a lot more at night time you can be a little bit more dramatic.

That usually means either a chandelier , a pendant or a series of pendants, hanging relatively low: typically, the bottom of the light fixture should be around 36 inches above the table.As the GIDC’s Sophie Robinson advised: ‘It’s really important that your light works in scale with your dining table, but if in doubt I always say: the bigger, the better.

For a longer table use a row of lights: odd numbers generally work best, so typically three or five pendants in a line.In an open plan living space or a kitchen-diner, a large pendant light over the dining table can help with your ‘zoning’. For example, even in daylight this large pendant helps to focus the eye on the table and separate the eating zone from the rest of the room.If you’re eating with the kids in the daytime – or if your dining table doubles as the place where they do their homework – you’ll want to have plenty of light.

Think Monet's Interior After Dinner (top) for inspiration.Because the light over a dining table has such a specific use, it does give you the opportunity to do something dramatic. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend a fortune – chandeliers don't have to break the bank.

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