Creative Places for Pendants

Equal parts sculpture and utility, pendants can go more places in your home than above the kitchen island. A properly placed pendant can be the hero of your room, infusing color, texture and function. Read on for ideas on where to use pendant lights (you’ll be surprised) and guidelines for how high to hang them.

double black pendants above an end table next to a brown leather sectional
Aurora mid-century modern black pendants

The space saver

Think of all the places you’d normally plop down a table lamp, and consider the possibility of a pendant instead. In the photo above, two pendants lights add architectural interest where space is limited for a table lamp.

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.

The living room statement

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

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 (as shown) it can be lower. Consider a flush mount pendant to get the look without the head hazard.

pendant light above a nightstand with a wall mount
Banded hand-blown glass pendant with Tandem pendant wall mount sconce

The nightstand upgrade

We love using a pendant above a nightstand. Most provide enough light for reading, and they’re great for a soft glow in the evening, too. A vertical element like a pendant helps balance the low, horizontal lines of your bed.

How to make it work:

Since it’s not always an option to add a junction box for a pendant (hello, renters!), we’ve come up with a handy solution: a pendant wall mount or ceiling mount that plugs into an outlet. Bonus: a full-range dimmer switch is built into the cord.

Find more lighting tips and ideas in our Lighting Guide.

Photos by Room & Board

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