Shopping for a Pendant Lighting

Pendant lights are incredibly popular, but you can’t just go out and buy any old pendant light. All too often I see people who have chosen what they thought would be the perfect light simply because they liked the way it looked, but then when they got it home, they realized that it was actually completely wrong for their room – either too small, too big or just the wrong style.


The best thing about pendant lights is that they can either provide ambient lighting or direct light to a surface. This means that they are perfect for both tasks and for decorative purposes, and since they are available in both small and large sizes they will fit perfectly into any space.


If you’re looking for the right pendant light for you, this guide will help you to find the ideal type to suit your room.


Styles of Pendants

The majority of pendant lights are either traditional, transitional or contemporary.


Traditional pendants have an elegant and decorative design or are inspired by a classic style of décor.


Transitional pendants are more streamlined but have a touch of vintage style.


Contemporary pendants are minimal and streamlined, often consisting of just a light source and a cord.


Types of Pendant and Their Uses


Some of the best-known pendant light types include:


Drum pendants – this type of light has a shade with a drum shape, often made from metal, glass or fabric. While glass shades emit a lot of light, metal ones have a subdued glow and fabric creates a soft effect. There are often multiple bulbs in a drum pendant.


Bowl Pendants – these have an open top with a broad base which allows for better light radiation, ideal for big spaces. Bowl style pendants are perfect for kitchens and entryways.


Bell Pendants – these have a distinctive bell shape and are made from glass. Usually, they can be found over kitchen islands, in entryways and in foyers.


Mini Pendants – this type of pendant is slender and small and will often be found in clusters. They can be found in several styles, shapes and finishes. They can be used for many purposes including in bedrooms and bathrooms.


How to Size a Pendant

Finding the right size of the pendant for you depends on the place where you are planning on using the light.


If you plan to use a drum or ceiling pendant over a table, you should measure the diameter of your table and then take 12” away from the number in order to find the right limit for the diameter or width of the pendant. It is also important to remember that if you choose a busy or complex design for your pendant, it will appear larger.


If you are using a ceiling pendant for ambient lighting, you need to measure the width and length of your room and add the measurements together. This number should be the perfect width for your fixture when measured in inches.


A ceiling pendant is best if it hangs around 12” to 20” below a ceiling with a height of 8 feet. If your ceiling is higher, you should add 3” more for each extra foot. You should always take care to leave a minimum clearance space of a foot below the pendant.


If you are opting for several pendants in a row, you should place one at two-foot intervals.


Remember that proportion is key – a small pendant in a large space will look odd, and a large pendant in a small space will look overwhelming.