Best Pendant Lights of 2020
Pendant lights add the finishing touch to the decor in any room. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best pendant lights for your design preferences.
Add a Touch of Glamour with the Best Pendant Lighting
Pendant lighting is an easy way to add personality and pizzazz to a room. From industrial designs to chandeliers, pendant lighting can be used as accent lighting or as a decorative focal point.
But knowing just what to look for in pendant lighting, including what features will work best in your living space, can be difficult. With so many different lighting options on the market, where do you start?
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If you're ready to purchase pendant lighting, scroll up for BestReviews' top picks. For everything you need to know to find the best pendant lighting for your home, you've come to the right place.
Illumination 101: Types of Pendant Lighting
- Task: Task lighting is focused, targeted light for doing a specific task. Task pendant lights usually have an open bottom that focuses light on a certain area. You may need to adjust the bulb if the light is too harsh or install a dimmer for when you don't need a full beam.
- Ambient: Ambient lighting illuminates a general area or room. Pendant lighting that provides ambient light should spread light evenly throughout the space. Multiple levels of light achieve better ambient lighting by spreading light further. Your bulb choice also makes a big difference as some bulbs give off a softer light, while others are bright and harsh.
- Accent: If you have a feature of your home you want to highlight, accent lighting does the trick by focusing light on a specific object or area. Pendant lighting isn't often used as accent lighting, but if you have a design element or art piece you'd like to highlight, an accent pendant light might be the best way to do it.
- Decorative: Decorative lighting is for aesthetic purposes, not illumination. Decorative pendant lighting might add sparkle to a room or be a conversation piece. A room will need plenty of ambient or task lighting in addition to decorative light.
How to Find the Right Pendant Lighting for Your Room
When deciding on the purpose of your lighting, think about how much and what kind of light you already have in the room. A room with large windows and a lot of natural light won't need as much help as an interior room that only has artificial lighting. The amount of light already available can help you decide how large your pendant light should be and whether it should be task, ambient, accent, or decorative in purpose.
Pendant lighting should accentuate your home's decor. If you have multiple types of lights, match the fixtures' metals or finishes to create a cohesive look.
Pendant lighting can be hung in several different ways. Your home may already be wired for a certain type of pendant lighting. Otherwise, decide on the mounting system you want to use before purchasing pendant lighting.
- Monopoint: A monopoint configuration is when a single pendant light hangs from a single point canopy. A canopy is the plate that covers the electrical box or wiring in the ceiling.
- Multipoint: When several pendant lights hang from one canopy, it is called a multipoint canopy. This type of pendant lighting has several lights and comes in many shapes from round to square to rectangular.
- Monorail: Monorail pendant lighting hangs from a track, wire, or rods that are suspended from the ceiling. Monorail pendant lighting is either fixed or flexible in design. With flexible monorail pendant lighting, you can change the configuration at any time.
Pendant lighting comes with two electrical ratings: line voltage or low voltage.
- Line Voltage: Pendant lighting with line voltage runs on the same voltage as other standard light fixtures and outlets in your home.
- Low Voltage: Pendant lighting with low voltage uses less electricity by adding a transformer between the standard voltage line and the light fixture.
Voltage type determines the correct canopy for your pendant lighting. Canopies can either be domed or flush. Some low-voltage pendant lighting needs the extra space of a domed canopy to house the transformer.
In general, pendant lighting should be between 28 and 34 inches above a countertop or 72 inches from the floor. However, pendant lighting hung above a kitchen island should be 30 to 40 inches above the island, while pendant lighting hung above a dining room table should be 28 to 32 inches above the table.
Some pendant lighting is adjustable, while others have a fixed height. Some adjustable pendant lights allow you to move the fixture up or down at any time, while others only allow for height adjustments at installation.
Shades for pendant lighting are either solid or translucent. Task and accent pendant lighting require solid shades to target light on specific areas, while translucent shades are best for ambient and decorative pendant lighting.
- Inexpensive: You can find single pendant lights for under $25. This pendant lighting may or may not come with a bulb or canopy. The pendant lighting in this price range comes in various designs, but most of the fixtures are small.
- Mid-Range: For $25 to $100, you'll find pendant lighting with multiple bulbs as well as pendant lighting that comes in sets. Designs range from industrial to hand-blown glass to minimalist.
- Expensive: For $100 to $200, you'll find chandeliers and large monorail pendant lighting with increasingly intricate designs.
- Premium: The biggest difference you'll find at $200 and above is in size and materials. Eighteen- to 39-inch circumference pendant lighting is not uncommon at this price point. You'll also see crystal and other high-end materials used.
Tips and Tricks for Hanging Pendant Lighting
- Recessed lighting conversion kits make converting a recessed light into a pendant light easy. A canopy plate covers the recessed light, while the pendant light screws into the canopy.
- Before purchasing pendant lighting, be sure you know what parts are included. Some components like the canopy may need to be purchased separately.
- Wet environments like bathrooms require lights made of appropriate materials. Pendant lighting labeled for "damp or wet environments" is built to withstand the extra moisture found in bathrooms.
- Large pendant lighting that is hung high will leave the inside of the shade visible. Shades with a unique interior finish add an extra design element.
Q. Does the size of the pendant light affect how high it should be hung?
A. The general guideline of hanging 28 to 34 inches above a counter applies no matter the size of pendant light. However, always keep the light out of an average person's line of sight. Depending on the pendant light's design, you may need to adjust so the light doesn't block the field of view.
Q. I have a long kitchen counter that I'd like to hang pendant lighting over. How many pendant lights will I need?
A. Every 20 inches of counter space requires 60 to 75 watts for proper illumination. Counters over four feet long will need multiple pendant lights. Keep in mind that an odd number of pendant lights is more visually pleasing than an even number, except if an odd number would mean too little or too much light.
Q. How do I determine the right size for a pendant light over my dining room table?
A. Look for pendant lighting that is between two-thirds and three-fourths the diameter or length of your table. This will create the most visually pleasing effect.