How to Choose a Lighting Pendant

Buying a decorative pendant can be a daunting process. Design decisions include size, finishes, style, light output, mounting height, lighting technology and how they work on a control system or dimming. The cost of pendants can also vary from $50 to $500,000 meaning there is a big range in quality on the market and there is the potential danger of investing in a piece that just doesn’t work.

When looking for decorative lighting one of the most overlooked components is generally the light distribution from the fitting.

Does it shine light up, does it just shine light down, does it throw light in all directions; what is the lighting effect, does it offer accenting or a diffused light effect?

Ironing out these simple details will ensure your decorative piece doesn’t just look amazing but acts appropriately for the area it is installed.

When it comes to following trends, most trends our clients see are already 2-3 years behind meaning that once installed (sometimes a couple of years later still) the look is already outdated and on the way out. The key is to be more considerate with design decisions, pick something timeless or minimal that goes with the architectural style, that way the style will age with the building and appear cohesive over a longer time. Unlike furniture, lighting is usually fixed and requires more work to replace including wiring work and patching and repainting the ceiling, which is never a fun task!

Where to Install a Lighting Pendant

For kitchen benchtops, avoid pendants with a hard accented downwards light, these will give heavy shadows underneath your hands and food and make working more difficult. When mounted directly above a glossy counter, the reflections off the countertop can be uncomfortable for the eyes. These issues can increase the possibility of cutting your hands when using a knife!

For dining areas, ensure the light source is comfortable to look at. Sitting at a table with a glary, bright light source in a relaxed setting can really take away from the enjoyment decorative lighting can offer. You’ll want to make sure it is dimmable so you can change the ambience from a family situation to a grown up dinner party.

Usually mount pendants about 750mm to 1000mm above the table surface, but there are no set rules for this. The best way to get it right is to electrify it on a long lead and ask the contractor to lift it to the ideal height while you are in the room or pretending to sit at the table. Always install the lighting slightly lower than you need or ensure there is enough slack left in the cable to pull the pendant up if required, it is more difficult to increase the suspension height when the cables have been cut and wired in!

For areas with low ceiling heights and dark finishes a fitting with an upwards and downwards direction which give the appearance of more height and also help to scatter light around the room.

For areas where you have a nice view the last thing you want to see when you look out the window is the reflection of your ceiling and a chandelier. To protect the view of the night sky and a city or landscape view at night, a pendant with a downwards light will reduce the ceiling reflection in the glass, opening your view to the stars.

For further advice ask us to send you a selection of pieces or model it in your space first!