A stunning chandelier never fails to attract attention when you walk into the room. However, you don’t have to have a huge chandelier to make a room better with a hanging light. Smaller chandeliers and other types of pendant lights (such as ceiling fans) can make a huge impact on the ambience of any home without overwhelming the entire space. They add stunning ambience that improves the beauty of the room in which they are carefully placed.
Chandeliers are Decorative Lighting
The most important thing for you to realize is that these types of lights are designed for decorative lighting more than for functional lighting. Understanding this will help you use these lights correctly.
Tips that relate to this point include:
- Use chandeliers and pendant lights to light specific areas, not whole rooms.
- Select these types of lights for their beauty and aesthetic appeal.
- Place these in rooms that aren’t already dominated by other bold interior décor items so that they can stand out as a statement piece.
- Put these lights in rooms where intimate low-lighting is desirable.
Defining the Chandelier
Let’s start with chandeliers since they tend to be the most impactful lighting option for the home. What exactly is a chandelier? In short it is a light fixture that has a main body off of which protrudes multiple arms and each arm holds its own socket or lamp. A chandelier does not have to be a large and dramatic statement piece of lighting although it can be.
Some tips for using chandeliers in the home:
- Place them in prominent areas of the home such as the dining room or entry foyer.
- Pay attention to the design of the chandelier itself more so than the lighting it produces. It’s the design that makes the statement. Chandeliers can be made from many materials (including wood, crystal and metal) and can be designed in many fashions (both antique and contemporary) so take your time selecting the right piece for your home.
- Select the size carefully. A standard rule to follow is that an average dining room will be able to comfortably hold a chandelier that is 26” – 30” in diameter, single-tiered with 4-6 arms. Rooms with taller ceilings can handle multi-tiered chandeliers.
- Use chandeliers for low-level ambience lighting. The effect that you want to have coming off of a chandelier is one similar to candlelight. Add a dimmer to your chandelier to allow you to manipulate the ambience of the room.
Want to see a really cool modern chandelier? Check out what Schonbek Geometrix is doing with these lights!
Some people find that they love the idea of the chandelier and the effect it creates but the many-armed design just isn’t right for them. The category of pendant lights is an alternative to the chandelier that also has great impact in adding ambience to a home with both its design and its low level lighting. There are several different types of pendant lights to choose from:
- Pendant Lanterns. These are vertically-designed lights that hang down from a central chain similar in style to a chandelier. Whereas a chandelier grows outward, the pendant light is sized in terms of vertical height so a longer piece will be most dramatic. Typically this type of light is made from glass panels encased in metal and those panels have beveled edges to refract light and create a glittering light effect. The pendant lantern may replace the chandelier in an entryway although it’s not common to see it used in a dining room setting.
- Pendant Bowls. This is an alternative to the pendant lantern that does make a nice chandelier replacement in the dining room. It is wide (like the chandelier) rather than long (like a pendant lantern). The bowl is a decorative piece that hangs down from the ceiling either by a single stem or a series of stems (usually depending on the size of the bowl). The design of the bowl diffuses light through the bowl to create a soft glow beneath where the pendant bowl is hung. The effect is romantic although it’s possible to add a higher wattage bulb to these lights to use them effectively for task lighting. That’s why you’ll sometimes see the same pendant bowl hung in the dining room as well as the kitchen but with different light bulb wattages in each to create different effects.
- Diffusing Pendants. These are similar to pendant bowls. However, instead of diffusing the light through the bowl itself, the light is diffused through a lampshade. Whereas pendant bowls are almost always made of glass, diffusing pendants may be made of plastic or fabric. This opens up more design options for lighting your home. If you’re interested in trends, a type of lighting that falls into this category and is really hot right now is drum shade pendants.
- Miniature Pendants. As the name suggests, these are small versions of the other type of pendant lamps that you might use to light your home. You can use these to illuminate specific small areas of a room such as a bookcase niche. Alternatively, you can use them in place of larger pendants by setting them up in a line or a cluster to create the effect of a larger light.
Choosing a Chandelier or Pendant for your Home
Finding the right type of lighting for your home always takes time, especially when you’re looking to select a statement piece like a chandelier or pendant light. You should consider the size factor and whether you want a vertical or horizontal design to narrow down your options. After that it’s just a matter of looking at the different styles that are available to see what will work best in your home. Do remember that you’ll need to combine these types of lights with other all-room lighting to have the ambience you want without sacrificing light levels in the room. If you need some help, don’t forget that we offer a personal lighting shopper to assist you in making lighting decisions.