A guide to choosing the perfect pendant lights for your home

A pendant light might look like just another decoration piece in your home, but it’s much more than what meets the eye! It can change the entire vibe of your home effortlessly. So, if you want to add a cozy effect to your haven, this guide will help! 

  1. What is a pendant light?

Simply put, a pendant light is a lighting piece hanging from your ceiling. It consists of a ceiling rose, a suspension cord, a lamp holder, and a lightbulb inside. 

You can shop pendant lights in either single or multiple pendant styles. It all depends on your preference and the area of the house where you’ll install them. 

These beautiful lights can come in various shapes and sizes and be made of metal, glass, or concrete. 

A billiard or island light is sometimes used interchangeably with pendant lights, but they have fluorescent bulbs inside. 

Billiard lights also have multiple incandescent bulbs, so they’re often hung above billiard boards. These are considered a chandelier and are hung above kitchen countertops to make the room brighter.

  1. Types of pendant lights

Next, let’s look at the different kinds of pendant lights available in the market. The global ceiling light market size is valued at USD 40.92 billion in 2023. 

So, you will find a wide variety like these in almost any home decor store, online and offline.

  • Glass pendants

These are the most common type of lights that you’ll find in most homes. Here, a glass shade can have either a clear finish or a rippled one. 

Earlier, traditional glass pendants were manufactured by blowing through the mouth or done by hand. But today, you’ll find them coming in beautiful machine-molded shapes.

  • Globe pendants

Globes are also pretty popular among home decorators. Here, the pendant light fixture is attached to spherical globes of light. 

If you want your room to receive even distribution of light, then this will be the best option. They can also be used as soft lights in a large room.

  • Linear pendants

Simple, classic, linear pendants can light up even the most boring rooms! This single tube bulb is attached to a long canopy-like structure. You’ll often find linear pendant lights hung above bars, kitchen tops, and kitchen island benches.

  • Multi-light pendants

There are two kinds of multi-light pendants available in the market. In the first type, a central core and multiple arms extend from it in the form of light sources. In the second type, multiple suspension cords are attached to a single ceiling rose. 

Multi-lights can be found even without a lampshade and come in three, five, or nine drops of lightbulbs.

  • Lantern pendants

If you want to add a touch of vintage sophistication to your house, a lantern pendant will be perfect! The lampshade is often based on street lamps in the vintage era and comes in stylish colors like black, brown, or muted grey. 

However, today’s lantern pendant lights can also come in trendy colors like pop pink and moss green!

  • Drum pendants

Here, the lampshade surrounding the lightbulb is the form of a large cylindrical drum. If you want a good alternative to glass pendant lights, then drum pendants are a good choice. They offer a natural touch to any room and are great for diffusing lights.

  1. Where to use pendant lights?

Of course, when installing pendant lights, you must be mindful. Even though they’re just lights, they can make or break the entire vibe of your room, simply based on where you install them. So, here are some tips and tricks on where to install which kind of pendants:

  • Bar counters

Pendant lights are fan-favorite above minibars located inside the house. If you have enough space, you can go for glass pendants where the lampshade itself is a small cylindrical. Hang multiple of these at equal distances parallel to the bar counter.

  • Bedroom Lighting

Though this isn’t as popular, many people now install pendants in their bedrooms! 

Ideally, a small shade pendant light should be hung on either side of the bed to illuminate the room without making it look too bright. However, you can also go for globe lights.

  • Dining room lighting

For the living or dining room, go for a simple multi-light pendant. This also works well with a small outdoor patio or gazebo in the backyard. 

Multi-light pendants can light up large rooms, so they’re used in dining or living spaces. Alternatively, you can also go for large-sized drum pendant lights.

  1. Pendant lights based on performance

Today, there are many different kinds of pendant lights based on their performance or structure. Here are some of them:

  • Plug-in pendant lights

Like the name sounds, these lights can be easily plugged into the power source. They are much less labor-intensive than permanently-fixed pendants. 

However, they can sometimes require a long extension cord for connection, often making the area look clumsy.

  • Hardwired pendant lights

Since these lights aren’t fixed to any extension cords or dangling wires, they make the room much more polished. They also function as permanent light fixtures, meaning you’ll need tools or a professional to unhook the cord from the ceiling. 

  • Retractable pendant lights

Many pendant lights in today’s market come with retractable cords that can be pushed back or pulled forward to adjust the lamp. If you wish to install pendant lights next to your bed, you can use retractable ones for more flexibility.

  • CFL and LED pendant lights

You might already know that conventional lightbulbs cause a lot of energy wastage, which is why CFL and LED bulbs are much cleaner alternatives. Fortunately, you can install them in your pendant designs and take a positive step toward the environment’s future!

  1. How to choose the right pendant lights?

Now that you know a bit about what pendant lights are and where and how to install them, it’s time to consider the factors you’ll choose. 

Initially, it can be a bit of a challenge to pick the correct type of shape, size, and wattage of the light but to make things simpler; this guide is here to help.

  • Ceiling height

The height of your ceiling is the most important factor in choosing the right pendants. Use a semi-flush mount lighting option if the height is 8 feet or less. But if the ceiling is higher than 8 feet, choose a standard pendant light or a chandelier.

  • Fixture diameter

For this, you need to take note of your room’s length, breadth, and height. First, add the length and breadth of the room (in feet) and switch the answer to inches, but don’t convert it. This number will give you the ideal diameter of the light fixture in the room.

For instance, if the length + breadth = 20 feet, the ideal diameter of the light fixture = 20 inches.

  • Pendants above an island

If you wish to install pendant lights above the kitchen island, note how many lights to use. 

Measure the island’s length in inches and subtract 12 inches from your answer. The maximum diameter of the pendant lighting should be the new answer you now get. 

  • Pendants above a table

Calculating this is relatively easier. As a rule of thumb, the pendants should be hung above the center of the table so that the entire table gets an even distribution of light. Secondly, the diameter of the light needs to be about a foot less than the table’s width.

  1. Light wattage

The wattage of a pendant light is the amount of energy it consumes. A low wattage means the pendant light consumes less energy, and a high wattage indicates a higher energy consumption. 

Of course, a lower wattage is a better option because it reduces your electricity bills and is less harmful to the environment. 

Ideally, you should go for LED or CFL pendant bulbs instead of incandescent ones since they’ll give you the same brightness but at a much lower cost. 

The average wattage levels for residential homes can be between 45 and 150 W for incandescent bulbs and 6 to 20 W for LEDs. You must never exceed the maximum wattage for a light fixture, as that can lead to electrical damage in the wiring.

  1. Light lumens

On the other hand, Lumens measure the light emitted from a bulb. When choosing pendant lights, you must look at the wattage and lumens. 

Higher lumens indicate a brighter light, while lower ones mean the bulb is dimmer. A 60 W incandescent bulb can produce about 800 lumens, but a 16-20 W bulb can produce up to 1600 lumens! 

  1. How to take care of pendant lights?

Taking care of your pendant light will depend largely upon the materials used in it. For example, if the lampshade is made of glass, you can opt for a regular glass cleaner available in supermarkets. 

However, if it’s made of a metal like copper, you have to tend to it carefully. Make a homemade lemon, salt, and water solution, and gently clean the surface. 

Avoid using harsh chemicals or solutions, as that can greatly damage the pendant lampshade and the lightbulb inside. 


These are some basics about pendant lights and choosing one that’s perfect for your home. If you face any issues during installation, don’t hesitate to contact your local electrician.