Photos courtesy of Sea Gull Lighting Products, LLC
Want to add serious—or playful—style to your kitchen (or other rooms in your house for that matter) without spending a fortune? How about this bright idea: pendant lights.
Pendant lighting ranges in style from chandeliers to paper globes and can be as formal or informal as you like. In general, a pendant is any light that dangles from the ceiling from a rod or chain and provides general or task lighting.
There are a variety of tricks you can use to increase the effectiveness and impact of pendant lighting. Try coordinating pendants with your other fixtures, particularly if you’re sticking with a specific period style. Or create a dramatic look over a kitchen island or peninsula by lining up three or more of the same fixture.
The American Lighting Association provides a nice overview of pendant lighting—I particularly like their suggestion to use pendants with dimmers so you have maximum brightness when working but can dim them to create a subtle glow. (Plus using dimmers anywhere in your house is a great way to boost energy efficiency!)
One of the best things about pendant lights is that they’re relatively easy to hang. (Do it yourself with step-by-step info from eHow.) You can go for inexpensive, trendy fixtures and swap them out as tastes change. Or if you’re going for timeless style, opt for high-quality pendant fixtures to ensure they last.
You can even install pendant lights in your home without rewiring—this instant pendant light from Worth Home Products easily transforms a can light into a pendant.
Not sure how far down your pendants should hang? The bottom of a hanging fixture is typically at least 7 feet above the floor for head clearance. For areas where pendants are providing task lighting, lowering the fixture may make it more efficient. (Just be sure people aren’t going to bonk their heads on it!) If you’re suspending a pendant from a high ceiling you may need to buy additional chain—in this case, it’s a good idea to have an electrician extend the wiring.
According to Better Homes & Gardens Decorative Lighting, if you plan to place a pendant fixture above a table in a room with an 8-foot ceiling, the bottom should hang about 30 inches above the table. For every additional foot of ceiling height, raise the fixture an extra 1 to 3 inches.
Get some great examples of pendant lights and places to hang them from this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. Or check out This Old House’s gallery of pendant lights for ideas. Here’s a nice little comparison of some common pendant lights from Suite101.com.
Once you start shopping, check out the websites of these pendant light manufacturers:
And if you can’t find the style of lighting you’re looking for, HGTV has handy instructions for creating your own.
The Home Know-It-All