What Is Pendant Lighting and What Are The Best Uses For It?

Essentially the answer to the question, what is pendant lighting, is that it is any lighting that hangs down from the ceiling. There is usually a base at the ceiling, known as a canopy and the light hangs down on a cord, chain/s or a rod.

Since this is such a wide definition many light fixtures fit in this category, including chandeliers.

So What Are Pendants Best Used for?

Again, this is a broad category as pendant lighting can be used for almost everything from general lighting to task lighting to accent lighting.

General Lighting: Pendants can be used as general lighting for any room in your home or in a commercial setting.

Task Lighting: You will often see pendant lighting over pool tables over kitchen benches and over dining room tables. The advantage of the pendant light here is that you can get the light closer to the task you are conducting.

Pendant lights are also great for task lighting in office settings, cafes and restaurants, retail stores and basically any commercial setting where directional light is needed.   

Accent lighting: You can use pendant lights to highlight your paintings, sculptures, an entrance way or a feature wall.

What Is Pendant Lighting and What Are The Best Uses For It?


As well as their functionality, pendants are also a great design feature. There is an endless amount of different styles to choose from that can suit any home, office or commercial setting.

You can choose from various shapes, sizes, colours, designs, distance from the ceiling, number of pendants you use in a space.

Do you want the light bulb hanging down or standing up?

You can have the light completely open or completely covered with a shade.

The choices are limitless.

Choosing Your Pendant Lights

When it comes to choosing the right light for your space there are a number of different options to go with but there are a couple of general rules of thumb to keep in mind.

1. A small pendant in a big room will probably not look right and similarly, a big pendant in a small room might look out of place.

2. How low you hang your light is a consideration. As a rule 30-50cm from the ceiling of an 8 foot ceiling and add around 8cm for every extra foot. E.g. a 9 foot ceiling it would be 38-58cm. Rules are made to be broken, of course, but this is a good starting point.

Also for practical reasons the light should be hung above head height if not centred over a table or bench top.

Pendant lighting is versatile, functional & a great design feature. If you’re still stuck for ideas then try display homes in your local area. Often display homes use a wide range of lighting styles to win over potential clients and often better than looking in your local lighting store if you still need ideas.