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Guides & How-Tos > Lighting Guides And How-Tos > Pendant Lighting Buying Guide

Pendant Lighting Buying Guide

banner showing two pendant lights over kitchen island
banner showing two pendant lights over kitchen island

Looking to uplift your home’s interior style? Good quality lighting can go a long way towards getting the job done and pendant lighting just might be the right choice to meet (and exceed) your needs. A pendant light is a type of fixture that’s suspended from the ceiling, typically by a metal rod, cord or chain. It can be used as a single light fixture or hung in a series. Pendant lighting is not only one of the most versatile types of lighting fixtures available, but with so many unique options within the category, it’s also a great way to add your own design sensibilities to a space. Additionally, pendant lighting can be hung at any height you want or need, it doesn’t take up valuable table space, and provides a broad spectrum of light for a variety of uses. Ultimately, it’s one of the best ways to bring light into your home environment.

What You Should Consider While You Shop for a Pendant Light

Before you select a pendant light for your home, here are a few things that will be helpful to keep in mind:
  • The different types of pendants and type of lighting they produce
  • Installation and mounting considerations
  • Functionality and use
  • Current lighting trends

Read on as we help you explore these different considerations and how it might affect your purchase decision.


MOST COMMON TYPES OF PENDANT LIGHTS
There are several different types of pendant lights available from which you can choose. Click any of the categories listed below to shop a certain shape or look, or continue to read to learn about the most common types and which rooms they work best in.





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Dome and Drum Pendants

Characterized by and named after the shapes of their respective shades, dome and drum pendants can add a striking visual element to an interior space while providing outstanding illumination.

Drum pendants, shaped much like drums, have stretched cloth or other material over their circular metal frame for a decidedly handsome look. They come in a wide range of colors and styles, and depending on whether or not their bottom is open or closed, they can provide either ambient or task lighting. Do keep in mind that the darker the shade on a drum pendant, the less light that will come through.

Dome pendants offer an eye-catching, rounded, industrial form that directs light in a downward direction. They provide an ideal combination of function and form, and will work great for both your task and ambient lighting needs. The Astro Dome Pendant by Access Lighting is a beautiful and simple example of the elegance of dome pendant lighting.


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Linear and Lantern Pendants

Linear pendants are often used over kitchen islands. This type of lighting got its name from its long, linear row of lights – very often two or three – all originating from one single fixture. Their ability to provide excellent task lighting makes them invaluable while prepping food. In addition to kitchen islands, linear pendants, like the intriguing Octavio Island Light by Hudson Valley Lighting, can be used above a work desk, bar or in a game room over a ping pong or pool table.

Lantern pendants are also commonly placed over a kitchen island, often in pairs. They also can hang solo above a favorite chair or accent table. Another option is to hang a large lantern in the entryway offering a grand entrance to your home. These types of pendants are some of the most versatile in shape, finish and color, and can be used indoors and out.


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Bowl Pendants

Bowl pendants are in the shape of a bowl that is pointed upright. They offer a unique beauty, as the light cascades off of the bowl and then down into the environment below. Bowl pendants are great for reflecting ambient light and creating atmosphere within a space. If you’re looking to create an area for relaxation, these types of lights make a great choice.

Mini Pendants

Mini pendants are much like other pendant lights, but as their name suggests, are much slimmer in profile, making them ideal for smaller rooms and spaces. In addition to their flexibility size-wise, they come in many shapes and incorporate numerous elements from other pendant lighting types. While mini pendants can work great on their own for task lighting, it’s often a good idea to incorporate several into one space to offer ample ambient lighting, while also establishing a unique design theme.


PENDANT LIGHTING BY ROOM
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A pendant light that's ideal for one space may not work well in another. The location in which you plan to install a pendant should play an important role in your purchase decision.

Kitchen Pendant Lighting

Task lighting is imperative in the kitchen for food prep and cleaning. Choose a downlight pendant such as a linear or series of mini pendants to hang above the kitchen island. Learn more about the pendant placement for kitchen island lighting with this easy guide

Dining Room Pendant Lighting

Dining rooms are ideal places for linear pendants because they work so well lined up over long dining tables. Also, a drum pendant with fabric can add a classy look in place of a chandelier, especially over a round table.

Living Room Pendant Lighting

Living rooms are versatile spaces with the need for task and ambient lighting, so most types of pendant lighting can fit in here. Bowl pendants work particularly well in areas that require ambient light.

Foyer Pendant Lighting

The foyer is an area where task lighting is important, but you may also choose to illuminate the area with ambient light. A dome pendant can work wonders here, but lantern and globe pendants make a beautiful statement, too.

Expert Tip: If you want to install a pendant light with a downrod on a sloped ceiling, you can do so by using a sloped ceiling adapter. These adapters work in conjuction with the light's original hanging hardware and are typically installed between the canopy and the downrod.


WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE HANGING PENDANT LIGHTS
Depending on the level of your home-improvement savviness, you can install pendants yourself or choose to have it done by a professional. Keep in mind that some pendants are easier to install than others. Be sure to carefully check the specifications of any model you’re interested in before purchasing. As a general rule, the bottom of any fixture you’ll be walking under should be at least seven feet above the floor. If you’re installing a pendant above a dining table or countertop, the hanging height should be between 24-30 inches. Most pendant lights come with extension rods or an adjustable chain for ease of configuration.


PENDANT LIGHTING TRENDS
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When you’re shopping for pendant lighting, it’s always worthwhile to see what’s trending and evaluate how particular trends could enhance your interior space. These are a few “of the moment” trends to consider:

Materials

  • Clear and colored hand-blown glass – no two pieces are ever alike
  • Seeded, crackled, antique and frosted glass
  • Vintage Edison-style bulbs

Finishes

  • Distressed finishes on galvanized metal
  • Weathered paint on wood
  • Warm tones on metals, juxtaposed with dark wood elements

Styles

  • Combining gold, silver, copper and even wood
  • Lantern-inspired, like the Bastille Pendant by Troy Lighting
  • Open frames with geometric patterns and clean lines








 














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