Pendants are a hugely popular lighting choice in residential interiors, and we love to incorporate them into our designs. There are often a lot of questions that go along with choosing and installing pendant lights, so to make sure you’re achieving the best possible look for your space we thought we’d take the time to answer some of our most commonly asked pendant light questions.
How do I know what size pendant to choose for the space?
While we don’t really believe in a general rule of thumb for pendant size and encourage clients not to be afraid of going big and bold with their pendant lights, it is somewhat dependant on the size and volume of the space and the height of your ceiling. You want to create a statement or feature with your pendants, so if you have a larger space and the ceiling height allows it, absolutely go big or go home! However, if you have a lower ceiling height or a smaller space, perhaps consider a fine linear pendant, or others with more of a delicate, simple design. Essentially you want to avoid a huge pendant overwhelming a smaller space, nor do you want smaller pendants to get lost within a large, open space.
How do I figure out the fitting to cord ratio?
As a general rule, we try and work on a one third pendant, two thirds cord ratio. If you have a large pendant hanging from a shorter amount of cord than the size of the pendant, and vice versa, a small pendant hanging from a long length of cord it can create an unbalanced look. There are times when there can be an exception to this rule however, like in our Woolstore residence. Here we have smaller individual pendants hanging from a rather long length of cord, however the height of the ceiling balances this and creates quite the striking statement when using multiple lights in a cluster.
What height should I hang my pendant at?
Things to take into consideration when hanging pendant lights is ceiling height, what is placed below the pendant and the function of the space. Pendant lights should be hung at a height that isn’t so low that it impedes views through the space but also not so high that they go unnoticed in the ceiling space. It also depends on the spread of light you wish to get out of your pendant. Hung lower, it will provide a shallower and more intense projection of light, while hung higher the projection of light will be wider and gentler. Most commonly used in kitchens and dining rooms, it is typically suggested that your pendant should hang 70 – 90cm above the dining tabletop and 80 – 90cm above the kitchen bench.
Are there any rules on how many pendants to use in a space?
There are no set rules for this but there are a few things to think about when deciding how many pendants to hang in the space. Think about the size of the table or bench below, the spread of light you desire and what sort of impact you want to achieve. If, for example, you have a longer island bench and you want an even spread of light, it might be more suitable to opt for three individual pendants (like in our Albany Creek residence). Whether you have a smaller surface area to light or a large-scale space and want to create a striking feature that produces ambient lighting, you may decide to use one larger fixture, similar to what we’ve done in our Gumdale and Panorama Place residences.
Should I make my pendant dimmable or not?
We like to be in control of our light here at Darren James and so we will generally advocate for dimmable pendants. The great thing about dimmable lights is that they allow you to choose your preferred light level depending on your mood, what sort of activity you are performing in the space and whether you need task lighting or more ambient lighting. Using your island bench to prep dinner and need to see clearly? You have the ability to turn your pendants up to full brightness and then to dim them down again when it comes time to relax. The other positive aspect of dimmable lights is their potential for reduction of energy consumption, which in turn, helps increase the life span of your bulb.
What type of pendant should I choose?
This depends on what sort of function you want your pendant light to perform within the space. Is it more about practicality or aesthetics? Do you want the light to be directed and focused or ambient? Directional pendants have a solid construction top which directs light immediately downwards towards your table or bench top and is more suitable when you require task lighting or a more practical application of the lighting. Open style pendants produce a wider spread of ambient light and are typically more commonly used as a design feature. Pendants also provide the opportunity to bring a bit of interest and identity to your space that you can have some fun with so don’t be afraid to choose something a bit more unique and exciting. We love that the pendants we chose for our award-winning Redland Bay project kitchen are playful and unique!
What colour bulbs should I use in my pendants?
Warm white light is our go-to bulb colour for pendant lighting. The objective of a pendant light is to add a design feature and project ambient light throughout the space, which warm white light is best for. It creates that soft, homely feel that clients often desire within their space. We tend to steer away from using cool white light as it can have quite a harsh and clinical brightness to it. Natural white light bulbs are a balance between cool and warm light and are often what we select for the regular lighting throughout the space to balance the warm light of the pendants.
What if I have a low ceiling but want to use a pendant?
If you happen to have a lower ceiling but still want to incorporate a pendant light into the space never fear, there is a solution. Rather than going for multiple individual drop pendants with a cord length that you’d generally need a higher ceiling for, consider installing a single, long, linear style pendant light like we’ve done in our Bulimba residence. You can see this style of pendant still acts as a beautiful design feature and produces the same ambient lighting that you would achieve from a drop pendant, without making the light fixture feel out of place or the space feel unbalanced.