Pendant lighting ideas - 10 ways you can easily make a big design statement
Bold, modern pendant lighting ideas can totally transform a room, elevating it like jewellery does to an outfit. Design experts share how to get it right
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Pendant lighting ideas stem from simple and subtle buys all the way through to dominating designs that are there to be noticed. Pendant lights offer the perfect finishing touch to a scheme that will pull your space out from the ordinary, make a statement and express your personality.
Whether you choose to hang a trio of pendant lights over a kitchen island, dangle a matching pair either side of your bed or display one loud and proud in the middle of your living room, pendant lights will add texture, color and warmth to your interior, and they don't have to cost a fortune, either.
'The trend for a more maximalist look encourages the use of chandeliers in both modern and traditional designs, if ceiling height allows,' says Jo Plant, Head of Design at lighting brand Pooky. 'They’re a great way to create a sense of grandeur and they bestow a certain wow factor.'
Now, chandeliers are words we've turned into a loose term, meaning any and all pieces of statement ceiling lights. An easy update which totally transforms a living room, kitchen, bedroom or even entryway.
Pendant lighting ideas - 10 ways to make a statement
1. Light up a kitchen island
When it comes to kitchen island lighting, there's no better opportunity to go big. Choose from a single standout pendant or a trio of lights to help illuminate the worktop below as well as create a striking focal point in the center of the room.
'Pendant lights are the classic choice for lighting a kitchen island or worktop. As well as providing an excellent source of downlight, they look gorgeous,' says Jo Plant, Head of Design at Pooky (opens in new tab).
'When you’re hanging your kitchen pendants, you should take into account the size of the space, the height of the ceiling and the dimensions of the countertop. As a general rule of thumb for getting the height right, pendant lights should hang around 30-36 inches from the top of a kitchen counter and should be spaced around two feet apart,' she advises. 'Using odd numbers can create a balanced look – pendants look fabulous placed over an island in clusters or rows of three or five. And use pendants that you can wipe clean from time to time.'
2. Go maximalist
The current lighting trends for 2022 include Art Deco shapes, scalloped edges, handmade designs and architectural chandeliers that reinvent the classic, shabby chic glass drop pendant into something that looks like it is full of wonder and ready to have cocktails under.
'In terms of trends we are seeing, it’s common to use lighting as a way to weave in a certain aesthetic or statement style into a space. We have seen the use of ornate pendants to provide a real eye-catching feature for other furniture and accessories sitting beneath, or the more pared-back glass or fabric pendants fashioned in trios or assembled into groups to create something unique to complete the space,' explains Jo.
3. Factor in your ceiling height
If you're on the prowl for living room ceiling light ideas then there are a few things worth considering when buying pendant lighting, including the space and height you have to work with.
'When choosing pendant lights, the main thing to consider first is the height of the room as this can dictate fixtures you can and can’t use,' says Jo. 'If you have low ceilings, it’s best to avoid large, low-hanging fixtures. Not only do they have the effect of bringing the ceiling down and making the room look smaller, they are also at risk of getting in the way.'
'If you have slightly higher ceilings, you can look at having larger more statement pieces, perhaps a chandelier or a cluster of pendants to act as a focal point within the space,' she adds. 'You also need to consider if you need the light for doing tasks and focussed downwards or if you want a more ambient 360° effect.'
4. Choose form and function
Kitchen pendant lighting ideas range from beautiful hanging pendants and practical task lights to cute worktop table lamps and trendy wall lights that jut right out. But you don't have to pick between form and function, because so many designs now combine both.
'Nowadays the kitchen is as much an entertaining space as a practical space, so kitchen lighting is becoming increasingly decorative as well as functional,' says Charlie Bowles, Director, Original BTC (opens in new tab). 'Our bone china pendants are some of our best selling and give a natural relaxed feel, while our Well glass pendant (opens in new tab) is also very popular and offers a touch of industrial chic.'
'Today, people are looking for pendants with a great design crafted from true materials which offer character and will stand the test of time, from a business which is acting responsibly for their impact on the world around us,' he adds.
5. Make an entrance
Let's not forget hallway ideas. The first space you and your guests see when they step through the front door, so making an impact with a statement ceiling light on arrival will not only brighten your space but add real wow factor, too.
'Tiered lighting is a really effective way to add extra dimension and interest to your interior and pendant lights are such an important part of the toolbox to achieve this,' says Jo. 'We like our pendant lights louche and luxurious but minimalist, and more industrial styles work really well, too.'
'Use glass or fabric for ambient light or solid materials like ceramic or brass for a more downwards flow of warm light,' she continues. 'Put them over a breakfast bar, above a dining table, hanging around in a corner, lighting a hallway or suspended anywhere a floor lamp won’t fit and there’s nowhere to put a table lamp.'
6. Tie colors together
Whether you've got a grand living room to play with or you're after small living room lighting ideas, using a pendant light to tie a scheme together will work well in either space.
Go for a sculptural, fun shape but tie the color of the shade to your walls for a cohesive and playful look.
7. Create a moody vibe
We love a moody, atmospheric vibe whether that's in a cozy living room, home office, bedroom or even if you're considering bathroom pendant lights. Try hanging a pendant in the corner of a room rather than centrally, with a gentle bulb that casts a subtle glow over artwork or trinkets. A rich chocolate brown wall color will add to the soft scene.
'Pendants bring some real personality and cast that lovely intimate low-level light for a moody, atmospheric vibe,' says Jo. 'They’re much gentler than a regular central ceiling chandelier and warmer than functional sunken LEDs.'
8. Use pendant lighting to break up a space
We talk about using pendants to make a statement, but they can also help soften bright and bold design ideas, like this colorful living room with deep blue walls, ceiling and sofa and contrasting mustard yellow curtains and jewel-toned scatter cushions.
The elegant brass and glass pendant adds just the right amount of glamor without stealing the show.
9. Add a pendant or two to your bedroom
If you're looking for new bedroom lighting, a pendant light or two can go a long way. 'Pendants in the bedroom provide an opportunity to be more creative. Choose a fabric shade for a soft bedroom glow and consider hanging pendants low over each bedside table for an interesting alternative to a table lamp or wall light,' says Jo.
'A dimmer switch is always a good option for the bedroom, it offers flexibility, providing brighter lighting for when you are getting dressed and mood lighting for bedtime,' she adds.
10. Hang a low pendant over a dining table
If any room is made for low-hanging, elegant pendant lighting, it's the dining room. A striking pendant perfectly positioned over the dining table looks incredible, gently highlights the offerings below and creates a fantastic atmosphere for wining and dining friends and family.
'So many homeowners are building kitchen extensions these days, but large expanses of glass and concrete can look rather austere,' explains Charlie Bowles, Director, Original BTC. 'Hanging pendants in groups of threes can be particularly effective over kitchen islands and dining tables, because pendants are a great way of breaking up lines of kitchen cabinets and creating an impactful silhouette.'
'Don’t be afraid of larger pendants, even if your island is on the smaller side. Our Tiled Diner pendant (opens in new tab) is streamlined and elegant, features an elongated chassis crafted from weathered brass, and is designed to be hung over dining tables and kitchen islands.'
How do you arrange pendant lights?
There's no right or wrong way to arrange a pendant light and often you'll have to just work with your current fittings if you don't have the budget or inclination to move them.
But pendant lights generally look fantastic hanging centrally in a living room, arranged in odd groups of numbers above a kitchen breakfast bar or island or hanging above bedside tables either side of a bed.
How big should pendant lights be over counter?
Pendants hanging over a counter are one of the most popular kitchen lighting ideas out there. According to Jo Plant, Head of Design at Pooky, pendant lights over a counter should hang around 30-36 inches from the top of a kitchen counter and should be spaced about two feet apart. In terms of size, there's no reason you can't go big, just make sure they don't end up getting in the way!
As the Houses Editor on Livingetc, Rachel has been obsessed with property ever since she was a kid. With a diploma in interior design and more than a decade working on interior magazines under her belt, she feels very at home sourcing the best contemporary houses the world has to offer for Livingetc. It's not just the day job either, she admits she's spent a scary amount of her own time researching schemes for her own renovations - scrolling Instagram, stalking Rightmove and Modern House, flicking through magazines and snooping in other peoples' windows - so she really does live and breathe houses on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Before Livingetc, Rachel had a stint finding homes for Ikea Family magazine where she was lucky enough to gallivant around the world on shoots meeting and interviewing interesting people, all with a very keen eye for blending high-end design with everyday items from Ikea. It inspired her to not be afraid of mixing new and old, expensive and affordable, vintage and modern and so Rachel's current Victorian terrace in north London is very much an updated, contemporary take on a period property; think open-plan modern kitchen with concrete floors, feature fireplaces and her grandmother’s paintings on the walls. Rachel is currently crushing on reeded glass, large gingham prints, squishy curved furniture; like Buchanan Studio’s Studio chair, and vintage wall sconces; she especially adores Retrouvius for sourcing antique finds and feels inspired by Lonika Chande, Beata Heuman and Matilda Goad and already can’t wait to start planning her next home, wherever that might be.
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