22 August 2006
The lighting system in a dining area should provide a soft ambient light and a visually
comfortable environment with occasional accent lighting to add interest to the space. It
is important to note that accent lighting can only be effective when the ambient light
level is low enough for a contrast to be noticeable. People see and respond to changes
in brightness. A highlighted area must be between three and five times brighter than
the surroundings to be perceived as a brighter area. A high ambient light level makes
accent lighting nearly impossible without using an enormous amount of energy.
Pendants over serving tables add a decorative accent, but should not consume a lot of
energy. This decorative effect can be achieved with a very low wattage lamp.
Additionally, because the pendant may be in someone's field of view, a low wattage
lamp will prevent direct glare. Refer to UFC 4-722-01 for additional requirements.