With a luxurious look and unique style, pendant lighting is one of the most popular types of light fixtures found in homes. Due to their clean appearance, they are often used in areas with open floor plans, such as kitchens, dining rooms, and game rooms. Pendant light fixtures are available in a wide range of designs, styles, finishes, and types. Some fixtures work well on their own, while others look best if you buy a couple to hang side-by-side to help illuminate the space.
To help you find the best pendant lights for your home, we’ve put together the following buying guide to provide a better understanding of the primary factors you should consider before you make a purchase.
Types & Styles of Pendant Lighting
The one characteristic that all pendant lights have in common is that they hang from the ceiling, usually from a cord, chain, or rod. Other than that, you’ll discover that there is a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors to choose from. To help you narrow down these options, let’s take a look at some of the most popular types and styles you’ll come across.
Before you choose which type of pendant lighting to buy, you have a choice to make: Do you want the illumination to point up or down?
Down Lighting Pendants – Perhaps the most common choice for pendant fixtures, which makes intuitive sense. The light hangs down from the ceiling, so it’s natural for the light to point down. Down lighting is also a smart choice for many of the types of spaces that pendant lights are regularly hung in. Over a sink or kitchen island, down lighting provides more focused light for you to see the cleaning or food prep work you’re doing. Over a billiards table, it provides better light to see the game. Down lighting allows for what’s called “task lighting” – light that helps illuminate whatever task you’re working on.
Up Lighting Pendants – Less common in pendant light fixtures, but still an option you’ll come across. Up lighting provides indirect illumination for the room and are very useful for adding some ambiance to a space. There are a number of types of styles that make use of up lighting. For example, any pendant light you see that uses candle-style lights will have up lighting. Depending on your stylistic preferences and the space you have in mind, you may find up lighting to be the better choice.
Mini pendant lights are just what they sound like: small pendant lights that don’t take up much space and only let off a little light on their own. It’s not uncommon to buy several mini pendants to hang alongside each other, or put one up in a spot where just a little extra task lighting is needed, like over a desk, sink or kitchen island.
Multi-light pendants have several lights included. If you are looking to buy a pendant fixture that can provide more illumination within a larger space, then having multiple lights in one unit may be a good option for you. It’s very common to see multi-light pendants with two or three lights, but you’ll also find fixtures that get much higher in number, potentially up to ten.
Drum pendant lights have a shade around the light bulb in the shape of a drum. They’re a popular type of pendant lighting that’s good for adding ambient lighting to a space. The drum shade can come in a number of different materials, including fabric, metal, and glass — even crystal, adding a touch of elegance to the space. The drum shade sometimes includes an extra design element to further add to the style of the pendant light.
Bowl & Inverted Pendants
Bowl pendant lights feature a design with a bowl shape around the light, either pointing up or down. When it’s pointing up, the bowl fixture is sometimes referred to as an inverted pendant. When pointing down, bowl pendants can be used as focused task lighting, while inverted pendants often serve more as ambient or accent lighting.
Globe pendant lights have a shade that fully encompasses the bulb. One of the most popular types of pendant lighting, the globe design is great at sending light out in all directions adding plenty of ambient light to your living space. These pendant lights are great choices for spaces like a foyer or a living room.
Factors to Consider When Buying Pendant Lights
As you’ve likely discovered, the options for pendant lighting is quite large. The number of styles and uses may seem endless as you start your journey to buying one for your home or office. To help you further narrow down your options, here are a few of the main factors that you should keep in mind as you browse all your options.
If your pendant light will be hung in a room that’s decorated in a particular style, then you will likely want to focus your search on light fixtures that will complement that style. Luckily, pendant lights are available in nearly every decor style you can think of.
Whether you’re going for a modern, industrial, or farmhouse look, you should have little problems finding a pendant that will look good in your space. In addition, you’ll find pendant lights in a wide variety of colors and finishes, and often with shades or fixture designs that add to the overall style of the light.
When it comes to style, you want to balance what you respond to with what will fit in the room you plan to install the pendant in. Try to picture it in the space you have in mind before buying so you can gauge how much the style is something you just like on your own versus something that fits well in the allotted space.
The purchase price of pendant lighting will vary about as much as the styles and types available. The range in price will obviously be dependent on many factors, including the type and style of the fixture, as well as the brand that manufactures it.
To help you find the best pendant light within your budget, it’s important to consider the number of fixtures you’ll need, as well as any potential installation costs. If you need to hire someone to install it, then it may be wise to factor that cost into the overall purchase price. If you can establish a comfortable budget before you start browsing the options, you’ll find that buying a pendant is a much easier process.
The Room & Placement
A pendant light that’s perfect for one space could be a total disaster in another. The location where you’ll be installing the fixture should play a prominent role in the decision of which one you should buy.
If the pendant light needs to provide a lot of light on its own, you need to decide whether you want a bigger pendant, one with multiple lights, or several mini-pendants. If the light will be used more as an accent or supplementary light to a space that’s already well lit, then you may be better off picking one that is designed for ambient lighting.