Are you done with downlights and spartan spotlights and looking for something that offers more variation and warmth?
The principle and technique of a well-placed pendant light has always been with us (though perhaps seen as a little unfashionable) and it’s definitely on the way back in. Seen as an attractive and decorative centre-piece to a room, a pendant can provide the flourish that some rooms deserve.
“But,” you may ask, “aren’t all pendant lights fuddy-duddy?”
No! Let us explain:
The Dining Room
Hung low over a dining table, an attractive glare-free pendant invites you in to join friends for dinner (as well as to read the Sunday paper). The great thing about a light over a table is that, generally, the table is in a fixed position and, therefore, allows light to travel or be emitted from a different level. In most rooms, this isn’t possible, but a dining room table should allow your creativity to run wild.
“Surely, you’re not asking me to have a frilly lampshade in the middle of the room which collects dust?” No, I’m not! But, first a little history lesson. Do you know why, in older houses, a pendant was hung towards the window? Well, the reason was to protect a lady’s modesty and to prevent the light from casting an alluring silhouette onto the curtain.
However, enough of that, a decorative chandelier or pendant with dimmable warm lamps or bulbs has the ability to create a bright light if and when needed, but more importantly, will help to dress a room and create a soft, relaxing ambience that is so important. Modern as well as vintage styles are appropriate. There is no such thing as a “bedroom only” pendant; more, the pendant should be at one with the styling in the room.
So, you’re thinking, “OK, I don’t want a pendant in the middle of the room, so now what?” Well, here’s an idea – if you have a dark corner in a room, why not consider re-positioning or cascading a pendant fixture in the corner? It can behave as if it were a table or floor lamp, but it will be placed in a part of a room where it doesn’t get in the way. Also, it allows you to have that fabulous cascading light that you’ve always loved.
Often seen as a traditional welcome, a hallway lantern is the classic way to dress an entrance hall. That’s fine – it has and always will look correct. But, what if your house is modern? Well, the principle of hanging a pendant light in a hallway is good, but there are many styles available that will help to bring this look into the 21st century.
For example, one thing to remember is that a hallway (and landing) is a transient space. By that, I mean that very little time is spent there – it merely serves to connect one room to another. Therefore, even if a fitting doesn’t give or emit the perfect light, but looks engaging or enveloping or dramatic, then it doesn’t really matter because you are not spending time underneath the light source. In tall stairwells or over staircases, there is, again, the opportunity to offset a tall pendant that could hang way lower than may normally be acceptable. Not everything has to be in the centre of a ceiling.
In addition to the dining table, the popular kitchen island is an ideal fixed space where pendants afford a welcoming, direct and functional light. The choice of numbers and type can be difficult to decide; there are no rules, but the following tips or ideas could help:
Generally, pendants work well in odd numbers – 3s and 5s are a reassuring arrangement.
Island lights can be hung as low as you can go without interrupting a conversation or a task.
Grouping very small pendant lights can be just as effective as one larger fixture.
Try and avoid lights with too much glare as you will be very close to them – or make them dimmable.
Generally, though, the eye doesn’t lie. It’s often the case that the right shape, style and size of fixture looks right in the space.
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