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Pendant Lighting Guide: How to Choose Pendant Lighting Fixtures

3 Orange Pendant Lights Over A Table

Pendants are light fixtures that hang from your ceiling to light a room. Pendant lights mount on cable, wire, stem, or chain, which separate them from close to ceiling lights. Pendants generally have one central light source. There are a wide variety of pendants available, from tiny mini pendants to multi light pendants.

Mini Pendants For us to consider a pendant to be a mini pendant lighting, the individual heads must be less than 12" wide. This smaller shape that defines the mini pendant light gives the space a contemporary or modern feel.

  • The light tends to (but not always) be pointed downward, making them good for task lighting.
  • Single pendants should be complemented by other lights in the room, creating light layering. Light layering will give an even flow of light through your space. Read our wall lighting guide to assist you with light layering.
  • Some good places to light with pendants are a kitchen counter, bar, pool table, or a breakfast nook area.
  • Consider multiple mini pendants for a buffet, table, or counter. If you don't have the wiring for multiple fixtures, go with mini multi light pendants, or possibly a track pendant system.


Bowl Pendants

Dining Room Pendant Light Over The Dining Room Table
What makes a bowl shaped hanging fixture a pendant? Feiss Lighting manufacturers bowl pendant lighting and these have either a small bowl attached to the bottom of a center stem, or is held by 3-4 short stems/chains that lead to the main suspension. Below are some other examples of bowl pendant lights:
    Larger bowl pendants may visually resemble chandelier lighting, becoming that focal point of your room.
  • Bowl Pendant lights are a good choice for ambient lighting in a kitchen or dining area because they give off sufficient up and down lighting.
  • The bowl itself diffuses the light and sends the undiffused light to the ceiling, which is bounced back into the room.
  • Bowl pendant lighting MUST be mounted above eye level, to prevent people from looking into them. Don't use them near stairs or balconies.

Lantern Pendants

Hanging Lantern Pendant In Place Of A Chandelier For A Staircase

A Lantern Pendant Light is usually used to light the foyer or other entrance area. Lantern pendant lighting is great for illuminating an entry way and traditionally hung on display for exposure to the outside.


Lantern pendant lights usually consist of a metal cage, with decorative glass panels between the cage. They are generally chain hung.


Pendant lanterns may have multiple tiers of lights in the cage. We strongly recommend light dimmers with lantern pendant lights to limit their brightness.

Other Types of Pendants

4 Yellow Pendants Hanging Over The Kitchen IslandThere are many other types and styles of pendant lighting to fit your home design. Lighting manufacturers worldwide continue to design cutting edge pendant lighting fixtures to accommodate the growing lighting design industry. One of the more popular pendant types is the drum pendant light. A short cylinder shape of glass, fabric or stainless steel make the Drum in a drum pendant light. Drum pendants can be used in many contemporary or transitional settings. Other very common pendant types are glass pendant lights used to add an artistic feel to your space. Glass pendant lights can be hand blown by artisans, clear glass and the famous Murano style glass. It is recommended not to use indoor pendants outdoors, use Outdoor Pendants, which are UL Damp or UL Wet listed. Directional Spot Lights are adjustable, but can only be used indoors. Pool Table Lights can be used for kitchen island, small buffets, or any shape similar to a pool table.