Also known as a "drop" or "suspender," a pendant light is a luminaire usually suspended from the ceiling by means of a chain, metal rod or cord. Pendant lighting lends itself to a number of creative applications including the use of multiple lights linearly displayed above kitchen countertops, bar counters, dinette sets, dining tables and bathroom vanities. Available in a multitude of designs and sizes, they may be constructed from materials such as glass, metal, plastic and even concrete. As opposed to chandeliers, which typically use less efficient incandescent bulbs, many of today's pendants are manufactured to take advantage of the higher performance and lower energy usage of halogen bulbs, modern compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs).
While no lighting type is suitable for every possible use, pendant lighting has a versatility well-suited for a variety of lighting functions. From directional to ambient lighting, pendants are an appropriate choice for almost any home or office space. As always, it's important to consider a room's decor and style. Choose pendants that complement or contrast the furnishings found in the space to be illuminated.
There are also a number of practical considerations to evaluate when installing pendant lighting, especially linear multiple lights. If positioning a row of pendants over the length of a bar or kitchen countertop, the diameter of the lighting should be at least 10 inches smaller than the width of the counter in order to allow headroom for those seated. On the other hand, petite-sized pendants tend to lose their visual impact when matched with other room elements. A simple benchmark designers use is to add a room's dimensions and convert the sum from feet to inches. For instance, if a room measures 10 feet wide by 20 feet long, then the appropriate size for a pendant fixture would be 30 inches in diameter. Also, to provide ample lighting while reducing glare, position the bottom of a pendant 60 to 66 inches from the floor or 30 inches above the surface to be illuminated.