Looking to add luxury to your home lighting without spending a small fortune? Installing pendant lighting to your home is a simple, cost-effective way to bring life and ambience to your space.
Generally, pendant lighting can be used in place of ceiling and downlights, making them ideal for a variety of spaces including:
Learn the ‘rules’ to hanging pendant lights below!
However, since each space has its own functions, there are different rules to hanging pendant lights depending on the room.
The main thing to consider when hanging pendant lights is the ceiling height of each room. In Australia, the average ceiling height is 2.4m. Many builders will offer increased ceiling heights to 2.55m, 2.7m and 3m as an add-on when constructing a home. Therefore it's important to measure your ceiling heights before buying any pendant lighting.
To make adjustments for the different ceiling heights, most interior designers use the rule "add 8cm to the length of a pendant light per extra 30cm of ceiling height". For example, if a light was meant to hang at 80cm in an average 2.4m high room, it would need to hang at 88cm for a 2.7m high room.
Suggested Pendant Lights Heights Per Room
30 to 50cms above your bedside table if you’re using them to replace a lamp, and at least 2.1m above the floor if being hung above a bed.
You’ll need to leave space on your bedside table to place items such as books, picture frames, an alarm clock and your phone. If you plan on hanging a pendant light above your bed, you’ll want to leave enough room so you don’t knock the light while entering or exiting the bed.
75 to 85cm above your kitchen island or bench top.
Since you’ll be standing under or close to these pendant lights, it’s important to make sure they are well above head-height. Depending on your preferred style, you may want to consider hanging either one large pendant or a row of smaller pendants above the bench to get an even spread of light.
If you choose to use multiple smaller lights, keep them 75 to 85cm apart, measured from the centre of each light (not the edge of the globe).
70 to 80cm above the top of the dining table.
Similar to hanging pendant lights above a kitchen bench, you’ll want to keep these lights away from people as they eat. It’s also important not to hang them too low, as they’ll interfere with people’s line of sight while sitting together.
1.6 to 1.8m above floor level, depending on how tall the people are in the house.
When placing pendant lights in the bathroom, you’ll want to hang them just above eye height to either one or both sides of the mirror. This will provide an even display of light across someone's face.
If you were to hang a pendant light above the mirror where someone would stand, harsh shadows would be cast across them, making the reflection harder to see.
Note: Any pendant lights and globes you wish to use in the bathroom need to be rated for ‘damp areas’. For more information, contact your preferred electrician.
Hallways & Entries
2.1 to 2.4m above floor level, depending on ceiling height.
If you plan on hanging a light near the entrance, it will need to be at least 5 to 10cm above the height of the door to avoid hitting it. For hallways, multiple pendant lights should be used to create even lighting throughout the corridor.
If being placed inside the stairwell, make sure they are at least 2.1m above the middle landing. If they are being hung alongside a set of stairs, then at least 2.1 to 2.4m above the floor level (similar to a hallway or lobby).
Pendant lights can be an excellent artistic focal point for an area with stairs, especially when they are being hung to the side. However, similar to a hallway or entry, they still need to be hung high enough so as not to interfere with people when they walk below them or climb the stairs.
Living Room & other large spaces
2.1 to 2.4m above floor level, depending on ceiling height.
For large spaces, you may need multiple pendant lights, which can also be complemented by a range of floor lamps, candles and other light sources. Be sure to keep in mind the location of the TV if there’s one in the room, as a light source that is too low or too bright could create an annoying glare on the screen when watching it.
Distance from Walls
Regardless of the room, when you are hanging your pendant lights, you’ll need to take into consideration their location to nearby walls. When choosing their spot, try and keep pendant lights at least 10 to 15cm away from walls (measured from the edge of the pendant or globe).
This rule can also be applied to deciding how far the lights should hang from the edges of benches and tables.
Small: These are suitable for smaller or more intimate spaces, such as the study or walk-in wardrobe. Small pendant lights can also be used in clusters or alongside medium and large pendant lights to create a visual centrepiece.
Medium: These are suitable for most living spaces such as the bedroom, kitchen and dining area. Typically, multiple medium pendant lights will be needed in one large space to create even lighting and ambience.
Large: These are suitable for large living open spaces such as living rooms and lounges. Although a large pendant light will sufficiently illuminate most spaces, smaller pendant lights can be used to compliment darker nooks or area that require focused light, such as a reading chair.
Types & Diffusing Light Differently
The two main types are ambient and directional. Within those two types are a huge variety of different styles to choose from, including retro, contemporary, vintage, art deco and more. Select a style and type based on your room's decor.
Feature an exposed bulb which produces multi-directional light
Less focussed and intense compared to directional lights
Suitable for illuminating open spaces and providing an even distribution of light around a room.
Feature a ‘shade’ which directs the light into a single point
While they do provide some ambient lighting, these are better suited to functional areas that require light intensity, such as the kitchen bench or study
The style of the shade will dictate how intense the light is
- Larger shades will provide greater light coverage and more abience, while smaller shades will provide stronger light in the one spot and less ambience.
Always use a qualified electrician to install your lighting.
Whenever installing anything complicated in your home, we always suggest using a licensed professional to complete the task. Not only is it illegal to perform certain tasks without certification, but a qualified electrician will be able to assist you in deciding what is the right height of the lights for your space.
Styling your Pendant Lights
Now that you know where you want your pendant lights, it’s time to style them in the room. Here are some quick tips on making them work in your space:
1. Consider the decor of the room: Is it vintage, ultra-modern or something else entirely? Do you want the light to complement the existing style?
2. Consider the size of your pendant: While we have outlined the ‘height rules’ of hanging pendant lights, there is some leeway based on the size and design of it. Larger pendant lights will often draw a lot of attention, so raising them slightly higher will not only distribute light better but will make them more subtle. On the other hand, smaller lights can be lowered to make them more obvious in a room.
Even numbers create symmetry, while odd numbers create interest...
3. Clustering pendant lights: Grouping different size pendant lights together can create unique lighting and visual effects. Another option is to have similarly styled and sized pendants at different heights to create a staggered effect.
4. Before attaching it, play with the height: Following up on tip two, have a friend hold the light in the position you want it at. Stand back and see what it looks like from different angles. The last thing you need is to install it and not be satisfied with where it’s placed.
Ultimately, the choice of height, placement within the room, size, style and more all comes down to your individual preferences. For more inspiration, explore The Myer Market’s huge range of pendant lights for your home now!
We’d like to thank Lighting Lighting Lighting for giving us access to the expert knowledge about pendant lights. Check them out on The Myer Market for a huge range of pendant lights to suit your home!