Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by The Tutor
Pendant Lighting Options
The pendant lighting options available in 2019 are plentiful and have become more mainstream as the lighting industry and consumer preferences have changed over the years. Pendants have gone from rarely used to a must-have today in various parts of the home. We even see pendant lights used in restaurants.
One of the benefits of pendant lights is they are another decorative accessory and have become in some instances a piece of art or a conversation piece. In a kitchen for example, the pendant lights over the center island may be what draws much of the attention in the room.
We will take you through the most popular pendant lighting options and also will review where they are commonly used in the home. Then, you can visit our list of best pendant lighting options.
Most Popular Pendant Lighting Options in 2019
- Mini Pendants
- Drum Pendants
- Globe Pendants
- Industrial Pendants
- Chandelier Pendants
- Lantern Pendants
- Tiffany Pendants
Mini Pendant Lights
I am adding mini pendant lighting options to the list first because they have become the hottest trend in pendant lighting. Mini pendants are available in so many smaller shapes and sizes. They are also available in some of the other styles that you will read about down below.
The smaller mini pendant lights enable you to add a decorative touch to any room while still delivering the lumens you need to accomplish your lighting needs. That being said, it is important not to over size the bulb’s lumen output to the size of the pendant. You do not want a mini pendant shining as brightly as the sun. Your choice in bulbs should be considered carefully.
Mini pendant lights have a smaller profile which means you can use them in places where a larger pendant simply will not look right. This includes smaller kitchen islands, over your sink and even above the end table in your bedroom.
Drum Pendant Lights
Drum pendant lights may be the most versatile of all pendant lighting options. They come in so many different styles and shapes. The drum shape can be wide or tall. The materials used also can vary from the material used in a traditional lamp shade to crystals from a chandelier.
Drum pendant lights are often used when trying to light a larger area beneath. Not that the lumens output would be greater but two larger drum pendant lights will look better over a large center island than two small mini pendants for example.
The drum pendant lights also offer the ability to cast light in up towards the ceiling as well as down below. Other than tiffany pendant lights, the drum pendants can be the best pendant lights for when you are just looking for effect lighting rather than a task light.
The shades used for drum pendants can also help to cast a certain color of light that other pendants cannot. I am not referring to the Kelvin colors but any color that may be used for the pendant lamp shade. You are no longer relying solely on the light color that the bulb itself is providing.
Globe Pendant Lights
Globe pendant lights have been popular for a very long time. They were used as far back as the 60’s or even the 50’s but the styles have come a very long way. The globe shape will enable you to provide light in a 360 degree area.
The globe pendants are typically made of some kind of glass or plastic that will cast light in all directions. You can use cracked or dimensional glass to create images on the walls and ceiling which is something that many of the other pendant lighting options cannot do.
The selection of your globe pendant can deliver a certain look and feel to your room. They are mood changing and can provide for a very relaxing atmosphere. It is another great way to accessorize your room even if some of your other decorative touches are more subdued.
Industrial Pendant Lights
Industrial pendant lighting brings that look and feel of a factory or a warehouse to your living space but with style. These pendant fixtures typically come with a metal finish and it can also give a bit if a rustic cabin feel to a room too.
Industrial pendants are used best in the kitchen or a family room or den. They even look great in an outdoor porch over a table and even in the basement or rec room over a gaming table. These lights are typically providing task lighting and not so much for effect.
Some of the popular finishes for industrial pendants include oil rubbed bronze, stainless steel, brass, and even some weathered look metal finishes. The trend today is to pair these pendants with the retro look filament LED bulbs that look like the old Edison bulbs from 100 years ago.
Although you have plenty of choices and options to choose from if an industrial pendant is your taste, there are not as many choices as you may find with some of the other styles.
Chandelier Pendant Lights
Chandelier lights in general are much more ornate and often use crystals or glass to create images and sparkles in the room where they are displayed. These fixtures typically have candelabra style bulbs and today those bulbs are available with more energy efficient and cooler operating LED filament bulbs.
The history of chandelier style lights is they used to be a status symbol and the more ornate the chandelier, the more it said about the owner’s social status or wealth. We are going back a few hundred years of course.
These chandelier style lights are also available in smaller pendants. Not as common as the other pendant styles and they are used in more formal rooms and applications. If you have the desire to clean these fixtures often and like the look, then a chandelier pendant may be right for you.
Since these fixtures have an antique look to them, they are timeless and will likely always have value.
Lantern Pendant Lights
Lantern pendant lights are extremely versatile. They can be used just about anywhere and look great over your kitchen island and also at your interior and exterior entrances. Although these do not always have an old look to them, the older or vintage look seems to be the most popular.
Lantern pendants come in various styles such as vintage, classic, modern and more. They look great and come in so many different finishes typically with a metal look.
Some lantern pendant lights come with multiple lights within them and the bulbs used are usually clear glass.
Tiffany Pendant Lights
Tiffany pendant lights are basically a cross between barrel, lantern and chandelier pendants but with stained glass. The colors you get from tiffany pendant lights are amazing and they really do add character to your room.
There are literally thousands of options when it comes to tiffany pendant lights. You may get stuck having difficulty deciding which one to buy because there are so many and after a while they also all start to look the same.
My advice when it comes to shopping for a tiffany pendant light is to first decide whether you want the lights facing downwards or inverted upwards. The difference is that the ones that face down will offer some task lighting in addition to the obvious effect, but the inverted upward facing tiffany pendants are for effect only.
It seems that they all use chains, and some more than others so decide whether you like that look or want to minimize the use of chains. There really is no such thing as a modern tiffany pendant do you really need to like that older look.
The Best Place For Pendant Lighting
The best place for pendant lights are in the following areas:
- Family room
- Living Room
- Exterior Entrance
Pendant Lights for the Kitchen
Pendant lights for the kitchen are so on trend right now that lighting manufacturers are having difficulty keeping up with one another on the new pendant innovations.
In the kitchen, pendants are often used over the kitchen island, the kitchen table, and also over the sink. The choices and options are endless. They should also be used in conjunction with recessed lighting with the pendants providing accent and task lighting over certain areas.
Pendant lights should be seriously considered when taking on a kitchen lighting project. Read our article on how to light a kitchen.
Pendant Lights for the Bedroom
In the bedroom, the use of pendant lights is typically limited to over the end tables or night tables depending upon what you call them. One of the things to consider is your ability to turn them on and off without getting out of bed. That is all part of the planning process.
Read how to light a bedroom for more tips on your bedroom lighting project and how pendants can be utilized there.
Pendant Lights for the Family Room
In the family room, pendants are often used over coffee tables and above recliners or other seating areas where you may need some task lighting.
This is a room where you could use a variety of different pendant styles. In fact, all of the above would likely work depending upon the décor in your family room.
Pendant Lights for the Living Room
In the living room, pendant lights are used over or next to a chair or over a table. This is where I would prefer to use a chandelier or a tiffany pendant since this room tends to be more formal.
This room is where we see pendants used the least. Maybe you can start a new trend beginning with your living room remodeling project.
Pendant Lights for an Exterior Entrance
Exterior entrances are a great place to use pendant lights. Usually, they are lantern style pendants and they hang from a porch with a high ceiling. If you already have a light in that spot, then replacing it with a new hanging pendant light should be a fairly easy project to complete.
Read more about exterior entrance lighting here and you may be able to get some ideas.
Pendant lights for a Foyer
Foyers with a high ceiling are another great place for a pendant. You can use globe, barrel and chandelier pendants here. If you just have an 8 foot ceiling you may be able to get a way with a short hanging pendant but you are likely looking at a flush mount fixture instead.
If you have a grand entrance with a high ceiling then the light fixture that you choose will be one of the things that make that first impression statement when guests come to your home.
Summary – Pendant Lighting Options
Pendant lighting should be part of your home lighting projects in some way. They are too versatile and add so much character that you must find a way to incorporate pendant lighting into multiple rooms of your home.
Take the time to select pendant lighting fixtures that make sense for the application and style of the room. Unlike other home improvement projects, you can always change your pendant lights a few years later if you decide to change the décor in your home.
How high above the island should pendant lights hang?
Pendant lights should be anywhere from 30-36 inches above your kitchen island to provide enough clearance for full visibility throughout the kitchen.
Do I need an electrician to install pendant lights?
Installing pendant lights is a common DIY project that homeowners can tackle themselves if they are comfortable working with electricity. Just follow the instructions and take your time. If you are uncomfortable at all, then absolutely hire an electrician.
How many pendant lights do I need for a 6 or 7 foot island?
You will likely need anywhere from 2 to 3 pendants for an island that size depending upon the size of your pendants and how many lumens they give off.
Other Helpful Resources
Home Decor on a Budget – This article reviews the many things you can do to improve the look of your home without spending too much. It calls out lighting as an option.
Decorating Trends – Learn about the hot decorating trends for this year. This includes color trends, flooring and more.
Guide to Hanging Lights – Here, you will learn how to space your hanging lights, how high up off the counter they should be, etc
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