Pendant Lighting: Is This the Look Your Home Needs?

With a huge variety of designs and materials available you’ll find a place for pendant lights in any room.

Types of pendant lighting

Drum Style

Pendant lights that are covered with drum-like shades.

Used for:

  • ⬥ ambient lighting (shade is open only on the top)
  • ⬥ task lighting (shade is only open on the bottom)


Round shaped shades – popular in the 50s and 60s that are perfect for homes with a mid-century look.

Used for:

  • ⬥ task lighting
  • ⬥ overall room lighting

Bowl Pendant

Common, easy to find type of pendant light. A bowl pendant shade is shaped like a bowl and either faces downward or upward, depending on its desired use.

Used for:

  • ⬥ task lighting (bowl facing downwards)
  • ⬥ ambient lighting (bowl inverted upward)

Exposed Bulb Pendant

Very simple light; just a bulb hanging from the fixture. This type of pendant works well for a minimalist, rustic or industrial look.

They’re inexpensive, lending to their popularity. Also, the simple design makes them perfect for DIY installations.

Works for:

  • ⬥ ambient
  • ⬥ task lighting

Mini pendant lights

Mini pendant lights are scaled-down versions of regular pendant lights.

Works for:

  • ⬥ Task lighting
  • ⬥ Ambient lighting

Considerations when choosing a pendant light

To choose the perfect pendant fixture for your home consider the following:

Room size

Simply put, the size of the room will determine the size of the pendant lighting you should use.

Larger rooms require large, prominent shades that stand out in the space; smaller pendant lighting would disappear.

However, smaller rooms are the perfect place for pendant lights with dainty shades or a series of mini pendant lights to highlight a feature of the room.

Desired use

The size of the pendant light needs to be scaled to the size of the surface you want to be illuminated.

So for example, a kitchen island needs a larger – or multiple smaller – pendant lights to provide enough lighting to cover the entire surface area.

Light type

One of the best things about pendant lighting is the shade options.

The type of shade – if any – that you choose depends on what you want to use the pendant lighting for.

Opaque materials such as metal, wood or porcelain work best for task lighting. If you want more ambient lighting, go for pendant lights with transparent shades or forego the shades for maximum light.

Common locations and uses

The versatility of pendant lighting is seemingly endless, however common uses include:

  • ⬥ Above kitchen islands
  • ⬥ Above a breakfast bar
  • ⬥ Over a dining room table
  • ⬥ To replace a side table lamp
  • ⬥ Entryway
  • ⬥ Bathroom vanity

Pendant lights – best practices

  • ⬥ Suspend a pendant light 28 to 36 inches above the surface you want to light up.
  • ⬥ You should have anywhere from 60 to 70 inches from the bottom of the shade to the surface of the floor.
  • ⬥ If hanging multiple pendant lights, place them 24 to 30 inches apart from each other.
  • ⬥ Avoid hanging where you can easily bump into the lights or they will interfere with your use of the surface area they’re lighting up.