The light fixtures in your home can be the difference between a well-designed space and a poorly designed space. They can elevate moods, shift ambiance and increase the warmth of your space.
Pendants are a popular lighting option and come in a wide range of styles, sizes and materials. However, choosing the right size can be a challenge.
Whether you’re hanging a single pendant or multiple lights, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop for new lighting.
Start by thinking about what you want from the light fixture, such as bright work or soft mood lighting. You also need to consider how large or small the area you want to illuminate will be, and how much lighting you need.
Measure the length and width of your room before you purchase a pendant light. This is especially important for living rooms, bedrooms and foyers.
Next, calculate the height of your ceiling and use this to determine the perfect diameter for your fixture. Generally, you’ll want the base of your light to sit about one-third of the room’s height.
For example, if your ceiling is 8 feet high, the base of your light should be about 72 inches from the floor and 30 inches from the countertop. You might need to fudge this a bit, so that your new pendant isn’t too far off the ground, but don’t go so far that it’s hard to reach for items on your kitchen counters.
Once you’ve determined the ideal size, it’s time to figure out where to hang your light fixture. The most common place for a pendant is over an island or dining table, but it’s also a great choice above a desk.
If you’re planning to install recessed downlights, it’s a good idea to take the ceiling height into account, too. Multiply the ceiling height by two and then divide that number by the number of recessed lights you plan to install, says Sally Storey, Creative Director at John Cullen Lighting.
This will yield the maximum number of recessed downlights you can install in a room with an eight-foot ceiling. This may not be the case in some older homes with lower ceilings, but it’s a good rule of thumb for newer houses and can help you decide how many recessed lights to hang.
You’ll need about one recessed downlight for every two feet of counter space, and you should consider adding a dimmer to your installation so that you can adjust the level of light.
The light fixture should also be placed at a low enough height to provide clearance for your family and friends, so that they don’t duck their heads when interacting with you or your light. This is especially true if your pendant is hung over a dining table, where it’s essential to have plenty of room around the edges for people to comfortably sit and eat without knocking their heads on the table or getting hit in the head with a hard-to-see light fixture.