A Pendant is a single, shaded light fixture that hangs from the ceiling, usually suspended by a cord, chain or metal rod. Since it looks like an ornament for your home, it is called a ‘Pendant’ as in jewellery.
Pendant lights are often used in multiples, hung in a straight line over kitchen countertops, dinette sets, billiards table or sometimes in bathrooms. Because they are decorative light fixtures hung from the ceiling, they are sometimes confused with chandeliers. To help you in planning the right placement of pendant lights in your home, as an Architect, I have listed guidelines under the following headings:
What is the difference between a Chandelier and a Pendant?
What are the types of pendants?
Where are pendants used?
What are the styles of pendants?
How do you select the right pendant for your kitchen?
How do you select the right pendant for your dining room?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHANDELIER AND A PENDANT?
Generally, a pendant light is a single sconce suspended from the ceiling with the help of a solitary chain or metallic tube, whereas a Chandelier is a multi-arm, branched light fixture that holds a number of bulbs. The lighting of the ‘pendant’, is done by the lamp shade itself, unlike in a Chandelier, where the bulbs do the job.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF PENDANTS?
There are three basic types of pendant lighting and they give you an amazing amount of flexibility:
Conventional Pendant: First are pendants where the open side of the shade or glass faces down.
Inverted Pendant: Second would be inverted pendants where the open side of the glass faces up.
Mini Pendant: And third is a mini pendant which, as you would imagine means a smaller version of the pendant or ornament.
WHERE ARE PENDANTS USED?
Pendants can be used to great effect for ‘general lighting’ as well as ‘task lighting. Pendant lights could be hung up almost everywhere. But it is preferable to hang a specific type for a specific area as explained here.
Conventional Pendants: are suitable in the Foyer and can be a great introduction to your home. If you have a Foyer window in your home, centering a pendant in the window also adds elegance to your home from the street. They are also ideal for gates, walkways, vestibules and reception areas and lounges in hotels.
Inverted pendants: are an excellent choice over the dining table, in a breakfast nook, dinette or kitchen island. They can provide both general illumination or create focused task lighting over game tables or desks. Even over a bedside table, Inverted Pendants have an advantage over table lamps in that, they free up space on small or crowded tables.
Mini Pendants: open up a whole new world of design options. A single mini pendant can be used to create ‘ambient light’ in an area or to provide ‘task lighting’ in a key spot. Using multiple mini pendants, either hung at the same height or staggered, can create a beautiful lighting display as well as provide excellent ‘task lighting’. This is a good option over kitchen islands, counters or bar areas.
WHAT ARE THE STYLES OF PENDANTS?
Pendant lighting, whether it is conventional pendants, inverted pendants or mini pendants come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, colours and vary in materials from metal to glass and plastic. For example, there are bowl pendants, multi-light pendants, island pendants, large pendants (over 12 inches), foyer pendants and mini pendants (less than 12 inches). Pendants also come in matching families along with other light fittings, so coordinating the lighting in your home becomes easier.
HOW DO YOU SELECT THE RIGHT PENDANT FOR YOUR KITCHEN?
Besides the general lighting guidelines, the kitchen islands, areas over the sink and counter tops call for more concentrated lighting since they are essentially, work areas. This is where the Pendant becomes useful.
Wattage: To calculate the amount of wattage needed over these work areas, multiply the area’s square footage by 2.5. The product you get is the required wattage.
Number: A decorative pendant with 2 or 3 shades (depending on the size of the island) can be installed over your island for sufficient light and to add a decorative element to that area.
HOW DO YOU SELECT THE RIGHT PENDANT FOR YOUR DINING AREA?
Normally, a decorative pendant or a Chandelier with a downlight will do the job while providing plenty of light on the table surface.
Height: The bottom of the pendant should be at least 30” above the table to prevent accidental bumping of heads and for the right amount and spread of light.
Wattage: Normally, 100 watts is sufficient for this area.
Dimmer: Use a dimmer to soften the light for mood dining when entertaining and to brighten for homework, hobbies, etc. when needed.
Pendants come in matching families along with other light fittings, like wall sconces/wall lights, so that coordinating the fittings becomes easy. Read more:
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