The Big Questions Answered | What are Pendant Lights?

The humble pendant remains commonplace, a staple of residential lighting design from the dawn of residence itself. Originally devised as an economic means of lighting interior spaces, pendants have become an expected component of most lighting schemes. But, what are pendant lights? Let’s try and get to the bottom of it.

what are pendant lights

What are pendant lights?

The basic ingredients for a pendant light are a) a light source b) a means of suspension from the ceiling. The ever-popular bare-bulb pendant remains a basic yet effective configuration.

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So, here we have ceiling rose (for connection to supply) length of lighting flex, bulb holder and finally, lamp.

Where should I position my pendant lights?

Pendants are traditionally situated in the middle of the room, tasked with providing general lighting across a wide area. However, there are some issues with this setup. Pendants tasked with this role often cast shadows across parts of the space, leading to a reduced sense of scale. This can be off-set with the use of layered lighting from wall and floor fixtures. Using layered lighting shrinks shadows and allows pendants to work more effectively.

As economic (yet ineffectual) general lighting becomes old-hat, modern schemes have sought to put pendant lights to better use. By employing pendants in series above workspaces, you can make use of the fixtures natural task lighting acumen. Alternatively, pendants make excellent accent lighting additions. Hung low over the dining table or breakfast bar, pendant lights become highly effective.

Pendant or Chandelier?

This is a tough one. It’s right up there with “at what depth does a pan become a pot?”

The answer is something of a grey area and the subject of heated debate (lukewarm at best). Essentially, this comes down to the look and function of the fixture. If it’s a single source with little adornment or embellishment, it’s probably a pendant. If the fixture is fairly extravagant / has multiple light sources / is more feature than functional, you’ve got a chandelier on your hands.

So, there you have it, pendants are one of the oldest forms of lighting. However, far from a relic, the pendant remains highly popular and incredibly useful.

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