Pendant Lights Buying Guide
How to Choose Your Pendant Lights
A pendant light is a single light fixture that is suspended from the ceiling by a cord, chain or metal rod. Pendant lights are used in two ways - in multiples hung in a series or as a single light fixture. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are ideal for general, task or decorative lighting.
Types of Pendants
There are several different types of pendant lights available at Ferguson; mini-pendants, multi light pendants, up light pendants, down light pendants, and drum pendants.
Mini-Pendants are the smallest version of a pendant light fixture. Pendants are commonly used to illuminate isolated work spaces such as a desk, kitchen island, or anywhere additional task lighting is needed. Mini-pendants are not considered the ambient lighting workhorses like ceiling fixtures. They can redefine the entire mood of a space more than any other option because of their ability to create a new focal point in any room. Typically highly stylistic and featuring elegant designs, mini-pendants simply command attention and therefore fill a space with enhanced liveliness and beauty.
Multi Light Pendants are lighting fixtures with multiple hanging lights connected to one central fixture. It provides a look similar to individual pendants, but is more convenient for rooms with only one overhead electrical opening. Multi light pendants are dramatic, eye-catching and versatile. They can be used over dining room tables, billiard tables, kitchen counters, or other work areas.
Down Light Pendants are pendant fixtures that direct light downward. This type of pendant is best for task illumination as the light shines completely on the project at hand.
Up Light Pendants are pendant fixtures that direct light upward. This type of pendant is best for general illumination as the light shines upward making a space feel larger.
Drum Pendants are pendant light fixtures that have a cylindrical drum shade. The can work with virtually every style in any room.
Simple drum pendants with white or natural linen shades are the most basic versions. Drum pendants with dark shades, metal accents, patterned shades and double or triple concentric shades are very popular. Drum pendants are stylish and versatile.
Pendant Light Use & Placement
Pendant lights are ideal for general, task, mood, and decorative lighting. Typically, pendant lights are placed over a kitchen island, dining room table and billiard table. They are also commonly used in hallways. Below, we elaborate on the placement and usage of pendant lights in common areas.
Pendant Light Use & Placement over a Kitchen Island
Task lighting is extremely important in a working room such as the kitchen. Pendant lights are commonly hung over kitchen islands providing adequate task lighting while also providing an opportunity to enhance the kitchen design.
When hanging a pendant light over a kitchen island, the pendant should be hung 30 to 40 inches above the island surface. Because kitchen islands are where family and guests gather, you should consider their interactions at the island when deciding on how low to hang your pendant. If the island has a cooking area, the pendant should not be a nuisance to the person cooking. If the island is used for homework or other work, the pendant should be hung low enough to provide sufficient light for reading.
Pendant Light Use & Placement over a Dining Room Table
Pendant lights are a great addition to a dining room area. Traditionally, a chandelier is used over a dining room table but you can alter the look and style by using a pendant application.
We recommend hanging pendant lights approximately 30 to 36 inches above the dining room table surface. This allows for maximum lighting without the fixture interfering with the area. If you have a large dining room table, you can hang the pendant slightly higher. If you have a smaller dining room table or are looking to create a more intimate setting, hang your pendant light lower. You want to make sure the light is not so low that it creates a glare in your eyes or interferes with people conversing at the table.
Pendant Light Use & Placement over a Billiard (Pool) Table
Pendant lights, specifically multi light pendants, are the most common pool table lights. When playing pool, direct illumination in addition to ambient lighting is necessary.
Downward multi light pendants are the best fixture type to use because they illuminate the playing surface, eliminate glares and shadows and can potentially elevate play. When being used over a billiard table, the pendant light fixture should hang approximately 32 to 36 inches over the playing surface.
Pendant Light Use & Placement in the Hallway
Pendant fixtures used in hallways add beauty and drama to the area. The fixture casts shadows while providing light which produces a warm feel. Hanging a series of identical pendant lights down the length of a long hall creates a classic look. While a single pendant in a short corridor can create the right amount of illumination.
When hanging pendant fixtures in a corridor, the height of your ceiling will give you a good idea of the type of fixture you should purchase. If you have 8 foot ceilings, choose a pendant light where the overall length falls between 12 to 16 inches. If you have a 9 foot ceiling, the overall height should fall between 18 to 24 inches. When hanging more than one pendant in the hallway, hang the first pendant at the center point. Then hang the additional pendants evenly at either side.
Pendant usage isn't limited to the areas discussed above. They can also be used in other areas of your home including the foyer, den, office, and other spaces that need additional lighting.