A blog on modern living

Part sculpture and part utility, pendant lamps belong in more places than above the kitchen sink. A properly placed pendant can be the hero of any room, infusing color, texture or an unexpected material into your space. Read on for ideas about where to use pendant lights (you’ll be surprised) and helpful guidelines for how high to hang them.

1. The space saver

Think of all the places you’d normally plop down a table lamp, and consider the possibility of a pendant instead. Pendant lamps are a great way to free up space on a nightstand, a living room end table (above) or even a desk (below).

Pendant light above desk in office

How to make it work:

For a nightstand or end table, hang the pendant low enough so that you’re not looking directly into the bulb when you’re sitting or lying down. Start by placing the middle of the bulb 18 inches off the surface and adjust based on your comfort. For a desk, placing the bottom of the shade 30 inches from the work surface will keep your sight line open and protect your head as you stand up.

2. The living room statement

Make a statement and anchor a seating area with the help of a pendant lamp or chandelier in your living space. This option for pendants is particularly striking in open floor plans to help differentiate spaces.

Mod pendant with Soren chairs

How to make it work:

As a general rule, any pendant or chandelier you might walk beneath should be a minimum of 7 feet from the floor, or a foot taller than the tallest person in your home. However, if you’re hanging a chandelier directly above a coffee table (like above) it can be lower. If you have low ceilings, consider a flush mount pendant to get the look without the head hazard.

3. The grown-up mobile

Wouldn’t it be nice to lie in bed and see a beautiful pendant instead of a boring ceiling fixture? Yes, it would indeed. A pendant light or chandelier at the foot of the bed is an elegant touch for any bedroom.

How to make it work:

Make sure you’re not staring directly into a bright bulb from your bed—find a pendant with a diffuser or a fixture that directs light upward. Hang it so the bottom of the shade is 7 feet from the floor–or go a little lower if you won’t be walking beneath it and want a cozier feel.

One last pro-tip:

add a dimmer switch to make the most of any pendant light or chandelier.

Photos by Room & Board

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