How To's

Pendant Lighting 101

Interested in adding pendant lights to your home? Overwhelmed by the process? If you’re looking to add pendant lighting into your modern space, but don’t know where to start, this pendant lighting 101 is for you. 

Pendant Lights |YLighting
Freemont Pendant Light from Feiss

Suspended from the ceiling by either a chain, wire, or pole, pendant lights are perfect for providing directed task lighting and should not be overlooked when layering light within the home. With vast style options plentiful of colors, shades designs, and materials, pendant lights are both functional and stylish and can be placed anywhere within the home.

How to Choose the Perfect Pendant

Pendant Lights |YLighting
PH 3½ – 3 Pendant Light from Louis Poulsen

Finding the perfect pendant light for your modern space can seem overwhelming.  To help you figure out how to choose a pendant fixture, here are a few things for you to consider:

Pendant Lights |YLighting
Dobson Grande Pendant Light from TECH Lighting

1. The size of the room. Depending on the scale of the space, the size of the pendant will vary. A larger scaled room will benefit from pendants that feature big, prominent shades, while smaller, ones may get lost in the vastness of the room. Pendants with petite shades or slender pendants will shine in smaller scaled rooms, while large pendants can feel dominating and overpower a tiny space.

Pendant Lights |YLighting
Beat Light – Wide from Tom Dixon

2. The scale to the target surface. If you’re illuminating a kitchen island, chances are you’ll need more than more pendant light to illuminated you target surface. Whatever you’re wishing to illuminate, a dining room table, a kitchen island, you name it, you’ll want to scale your light to the size of that surface.

 Pendant Lights |YLighting
Domo Large Pendant Light from Lzf Lamps

3. The type of light. Pendant lights come in a variety of shade options. Some have opaque shades made of metal, porcelain, or even wood veneer, all of which will illuminate very differently than pendant lights with a transparent shade. Depending on the type of lighting you’re after will help determine what type of shade the pedant should feature. You’ll also want to take into consideration if you like the look of an exposed lightbulb, or if you mind a shade with an open top, which will reflect light up as well as down.

Where to Hang Pendant Lights

Pendant Lights |YLighting
Skan Small Pendant Light from VIBIA

Pendants lights are most commonly found hanging above your kitchen island, but there since there are so many varieties of pendant lighting to be found, the places that pendant lights can go are endless. Pendants can be hung in any number of combinations in any number of places.

Pendant Lights |YLighting
Tilt Pendant Light from NYTA

They can be hung in multiples, trios, a pair, or hang solely by themselves, from a single oversized pendant in the master bedroom, a row above the breakfast bar, to a trio of them clustered above the dining room table, even  taking the place of a side table lamp.

How to Hang a Pendant Light

Pendant Lights |YLighting
Nón Lá Pendant Light from Bover

As a rule of thumb, pendants are usually suspeneded anywhere between 28-36 inches above the target surface, around 60-70 inches from the bottom of the shade to the floor, and when hanging multiple pendant lights, pendants should be 24-30 inches apart.

Pendant Lights |YLighting
LC Shutters Pendant Light from Louis Poulsen

Over a kitchen island, or even a desk they should hung at a level that will keep them up and out of the way. The last thing you’ll wnat is banging your head on the shade of a pendant everytime you’re working.

Still haven’t had all your pendant lighting questions answered? Go ahead and leave your inquiries in the comments section and we’ll do our best to answer.

Stephanie Weldon

Stephanie Weldon

Stephanie is a Social Community Manager here at YDesign. She has an endless curiosity for the why and how things work. Previously a Visual Merchandiser as well as a Costume Designer, she recently resettled in California from New York. Combining her background with her passion for arts, travel, and great design, she has found her way to Y and her love for sharing why great design is at the heart of great style!

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