How to Shop for Pendant Lighting

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How to Shop for Pendant Lighting


How is a pendant light different from a chandelier?

A pendant is smaller than a chandelier with typically only one or two lamps.


Where can I use pendant lighting? Can I use pendants instead of a chandelier in my dining room? Where should I use mini pedant lights?

Depending on the room, you can use pendants almost anywhere—kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, entryways, and even bathrooms. While most hallways don’t have the ceiling height to accommodate pendants, I have used them to light long halls in the past.

Pendants are used increasingly in place of a chandelier and often give greater flexibility in terms of design and layout. Mini pendants are a great option if you want something hanging over a bar or kitchen island, for example, but still want to maintain a clean line of sight. Mini pendants are a much more discreet look.


What type of pendant lighting should I buy if I’m looking for a clean, contemporary look?

There are several options available as low voltage mini pendants. These smaller pendants have a wide variety of sleek and contemporary styles and with the quick rise in LED options the style choices are growing all the time.

Aplomb Pendant by Foscarini

Where would I hang a multi-pendant suspension?

Multi-pendant suspensions are very versatile. They can be used over dining tables in place of a chandelier or in a foyer as an entry light. I’ve also used them on multi-level stairways suspended at various heights to fill the space vertically.


If I have a single junction box, can I install multiple pendants?

Absolutely! By using either a multi-port canopy or a monorail system with a surface mount transformer you can arrange multiple low voltage pendants while using just one power source. There are round, square, rectangular, and linear multiport canopies ranging from 2 to 24 lights, allowing you to create the best configuration to fit your space.


What type of pendants should I choose for above my kitchen sink or countertop?

The type of pendants you select to go over the kitchen island or above a sink area are very much a matter of personal preference. Depending on the size of your island you can use 3 to 5 mini pendants, or you can use two larger pendants with a more commanding presence for a dramatic look.

You also have options above a kitchen sink, but keep two things in mind. First, there’s going to be water flying around above a sink, so make sure that the electrical elements of your pendant are protected. Second, choose a pendant with a down light effect to direct light towards your work space (the sink in this case) and out of your eyes. Third, when selecting a lamp source or light bulb, think wattage: 50 watts for halogen, 35 watts for IR, and 7-10 watts for LED. Otherwise, your options are rather limitless and a matter of personal style.

Panels Pendant
FJ Summit Pendant Panels Dolly Pendant

Are there glare issues that I should be aware of?

Glare is a concern with any pendant. They are typically mounted over a countertop or table at a height appropriate for lighting those surfaces, which is often at or slightly above eye level for most people when standing. You can avoid glare first by using opaque finishes that minimize light shining out the sides of the pendant. The best technique for reducing glare is to install a dimmer for the pendants. Dimmers reduce light to a comfortable level while maintaining effective lighting in your space.


What style pendant should I choose for my space?

The style of your pendant is a matter of preference. There are pendants to fit all styles from traditional to contemporary and minimalist. Pendants should fit with the style of the home but are an opportunity for you to express your unique personality.

Freejack Cube Pendant by Tech Lighting

What should I avoid when looking for pendant lighting?

Avoid pendants that are too big or small for a space. Scale is important, and there are so many options available that most everyone can find an appropriately sized pendant in the style they like. Also, try to avoid mixing lamp types. If you have 3000k LEDs and 2700k incandescent lights in the same area it can make the room feel visually uncomfortable.


What height should I hang my pendant lights?

When installing pendants in areas that you walk through, the lighting should hang at least 7’ from the floor whenever possible. Whenever you hang pendants over countertops, tables, bar tops, and other work spaces, they should be between 30”-36” above the surface. When hanging pendants at a table or other seating area, be sure that they are well enough above eye level when seated. If you have small children, consider that what might be visually comfortable for you might shine directly into their eyes. To prevent this, opt for a more diffuse light source and/or lower the pendant height. The pendant should be about 6” above the child’s head, so in some cases it may be as low as 16” above a tabletop.


How do I adjust the height of my pendant lighting?

You can adjust most pendants simply by cutting the cable when wiring them. Low Voltage pendants can be shortened and then attached to the transformer or free jack connector in the canopy.



Jeremy Baker


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Random Light

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