Pendant Perfection

Stylemaster sheds some light on how to get pendant lighting right in your home

Pendant lighting does more for your home than simply illuminate your space.  Whether you select something oversize and elaborate or sleek and streamlined, pendants can be an instant injection of style, creating a focal point whilst adding perspective and scale to any room.  But with unlimited options available for pendant types and places to put them in your home, don’t be overwhelmed, just read on to learn Stylemaster’s top tips for achieving pendant lighting success.

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Suit your Style

The first point to consider is finding a light that suits your taste and style.  For example, if your space is Industrial then you would be looking to compliment décor that is very different from a Scandinavian, Coastal/Hamptons or Mid-Century Modern home.  Draw on the character of your room and select a pendant that reflects the surrounding materials, colours and finishes.  Visit display homes or search online to find examples of lights that are ideally shown installed in a room so you have a better understanding of the impact they create.

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Size and Scale

Other important factors to consider are the size and scale of the room.  Larger spaces like an entry, stairwell, or dining area can be ideal for showcasing substantial pendants with ‘wow’ factor.  While smaller zones like a study or powder room are likely to call for something more understated.  Clustering pendants together, either closely at differing heights, or lined up and spaced out in multiples is another way to achieve volume and impact with your pendants.  This approach is usually most popular in kitchens where an island bench creates an ideal platform to illuminate.     

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Ambience and Mood

The type of ambience and mood you are trying to create is another consideration when choosing pendants.  It is important to factor whether the purpose of your pendant is to create feature or task lighting.  This will determine the brightness, height and focus of the lighting required or whether a diffuser shade is need to soften the lighting level.  Adding dimmer controls for feature pendants is a great solution for providing balance between task and feature lighting levels.  Pendant switching locations are also important, particularly when using pendants on either side of a bed.  2 way switching with one switch at the entry and another next to the bed eliminates the need to get out of bed to turn off the light at night – as this can be both annoying and dangerous!

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Features and Focal Points

When nominating pendant locations, it can be easy to go overboard.  But how many pendants are too many?  This is a personal preference that is relative to the specifics of your home design.  For example, when a kitchen and dining room are close to one another, having 4 pendants over an island and another 3 over the dining table is likely to look OK on your plans but could possibly be overkill in reality.  Think about where you are trying to create a focal point in the space.  For maximum impact it is best to either select one of these zones to highlight or carefully choose the pendants and reduce in one area.  For example, if you have multiple pendants in the kitchen then keep them subtle and add one larger high impact light over the dining table.  This way both areas are featured yet a focal point is achieved. 

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Positions and Future Provisions

When planning a new build, it is a great idea to make provisions for any feature pendants you may want in the future.  This is particularly important with double storey homes as the ground floor ceiling space will be very difficult to access once the home is completed and this is generally where the main kitchen and dining areas are located.  By adding concealed junction boxes, your electrician will be able to easily locate the electrical provision and add your pendant at a later date if you feel the space needs it.  If you are considering pendants with considerable weight, then you may also want to add additional nogging so that there are no issues when install time comes.  Should you wish to add pendants to wet areas, consider that there are safety restrictions relative to water outlets and these will need to be adhered to.  For pendants over baths, you can select either a 12-volt light or choose a pendant that can be converted to suit.  This will actually rule out some pendant styles completely if they cannot be converted.  Remember that pendant locations throughout the home can also be dictated by beams, etc in the ceiling cavity so there may be limitations on exact install points.

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Hanging Heights

The height to hang pendants can be one that causes a bit of head scratching and confusion, particularly when looking at a plan or when standing in a new and empty home.  Obviously no one wants to hit their heads so this is the top factor to consider but pendant heights can be subjective and are relative to their surroundings and the overall ceiling height of the space.  Installing over islands in kitchens and in ensuites or powder rooms are a little easier as they can be hung relative to cabinetry heights.  For other areas such as dining, living and bedrooms, to achieve the best results, it is ideal to have furniture in place first.  Once someone can hold your pendant in position it is much easier to envision the result and achieve a balance you are happy with.  Depending on the particular pendant, final heights can be adjusted after install but repositioning the pendant may cause issues since it is not ideal to replaster sections of a new ceiling. 

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Aside from the obvious beauty of pendant lighting, one of their appealing traits as a design element is that they are quite easy to update as the years go by and your style evolves.  So enjoy your quest for the perfect pendant light and choose your locations with flair and confidence.  For more lighting inspiration, see some of the world’s best designer pendants in full splendour in a Stylemaster Homes display village near you.

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