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Types of Pendants

A pendant is a light fixture that is suspended from the ceiling by either a chain or rod (also called a stem). The line between pendant and chandelier can sometimes be a bit blurry, but typically a pendant has a single shade surrounding a bulb or group of bulbs, while a chandelier typically has multiple arms, each with its own bulb and its own shade.

There are several subcategories of pendants, including:

  • Downlights are pendants whose shade is open at the bottom, and therefore direct light downward. This is the most common type of pendant.
  • Uplights, or inverted pendants, have a shade that is open at the top and therefore directs light upward.
  • Mini Pendants have a shade that is typically less than 12” in diameter.
  • Multi Pendants are a group of mini pendants that are all hung from a single canopy. The pendants may be organized in a line or a cluster, and the hanging heights can typically be set individually.
  • Island Lights typically have 3 bulbs mounted in a fixed line, and downward facing shades. If a single large rectangular or oval shade is used, it is often referred to as a Billiard Light.
  • Foyer or Cage Lanterns typically have a cluster of bulbs in the center, which is surrounded by a cage like frame, sometimes including bound glass. Unlike traditional down light pendants, the bulbs are usually not shaded and throw light in all directions.

Selection and Placement

Pendants can provide both task and general ambient lighting. Equipped with shades or globes to direct the light and avoid glare, they are often suspended from the ceiling over dinette tables, game tables, kitchen counters, or other work areas. When used over end tables or night stands, they free up the space normally occupied by table lamps. The use of a dimmer control gives you the flexibility to vary the light to suit the occasion.

Foyer A pendant in the foyer can be a breathtaking 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. Do not be afraid to consider alternatives, such as a chandelier. If you do opt for a foyer chandelier, be sure to size it accordingly.
Kitchen Pendants or inverted pendants are an excellent choice for over the table in a breakfast nook, dinette or kitchen island. Generally, the bottom of the fixture should sit approximately 30" above the surface of your counter or table. 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. 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 providing excellent task lighting. Think of this option for over kitchen islands, counters or bar areas.
Family Room Pendants provide both general illumination or create focused task lighting depending on your need. For this reason, you might want to consider pendant lighting over game tables, desks or even over a bedside table. Pendants have an advantage over table lamps in that they free up space on small or crowded tables.

Where to Buy

Lighting New York has a large selection of Pendants in every style.