Pendant lighting is a relative newcomer to the market of home lighting fixtures. Although it has been around since the 1940’s, this type of lighting is just coming into its own as homes are built with higher ceilings. Although there is no evidence of this, the development of the pendant light was probably a reaction to finding a form of lighting that was less elaborate than the chandelier but that served basically the same function and purpose.
The description of the typical pendant light is a single fixture that hangs from the ceiling from a chain or other kind of supporting device such as a metal rod. They are far less elaborate than the chandelier and rather than having its lights exposed (like a chandelier), the pendant employs a shade of sorts at the end which, in fact, is described as the pendant.
One of the appealing factors of the pendant is its versatility. Pendants can often be found in hallways, small foyers, kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. Narrow areas that need lighting are ideal candidates for a pendant light. The pendant itself is generally completely enclosed, hiding the light fixture itself to avoid glare. Because of its simplicity, the pendant is usually made of a neutral substance employing white or opaque glass.
A slight contradiction in design is worth noting here. One of the more appealing uses of the pendant during the past decade, is in the kitchen. These fixtures are often suspended over a kitchen island or other food preparation area and feature an open-ended bottom through which a soft light is emitted. This is a very attractive feature in the right kind of kitchen because of the even lighting it provides. This type of pendant fixture is also finding its way into other areas of the home.
During its earliest days, the pendant featured a blown glass shell, which eventually evolved into a wide variety of styles. Today, the variety of styles used in pendant lighting is as varied as the styles used in other forms of lighting fixtures. Take a look online or at a fine lighting store or even in a home and garden periodical to see the extent to which this type of lighting has evolved.
One of the mistakes some homeowners make is to try and use a Tiffany style lampshade on a pendant fixture. Don’t get me wrong; Tiffany definitely has its place. Floor lamps and table lamps often add a dramatic flair when used with a Tiffany lampshade. The pendant, on the other hand, is designed to be slim and sleek and putting a Tiffany fixture on the end of one defeats the purpose, in my opinion, because you are really mismatching functional styles. I suggest that you stay with the more traditional style of pendant lighting such as something called the Colonial. This impressive fixture features a shade that gives one the appearance of a lantern with a candle inside.
Unlike the chandelier, the pendant doesn’t need a long lampshade and an understated look is what to go for.
With all of its advantages and eye appeal, you may be ready to head out to buy one. They are stylish, have a simple elegance, are functional and provide illumination in hard to light areas. There are some things to think about, however, before you make that purchase.
First and foremost, it is essential that you consider what you are planning in terms of the overall decorating of the home’s lighting. Pendants can be used as stand alone lighting for a particular area or can be used in combination with other lighting fixtures, particularly in larger areas. Many stores and online dealers offer other lighting fixtures that coordinate with a pendant. These include wall sconces, ceiling fixtures and decorative table lamps.
Pendants are an eye catcher in it’s not something you want to cut corners on when considering a purchase. There are tons of styles and configurations available today and with a little persistence, you can find just the right fixture for both your décor and your budget. An inexpensive pendant gives you what you pay for and if it wears out, replacing it can be a chore that you won’t relish.
Because of their increased popularity, the pendant can be seen in many modern homes. Don’t hesitate to pay a visit to the neighbors or to the model homes, etc. in the area (trust me, many of these model units will use the pendant in a variety of attractive and ingenious ways).