Whether you need to illuminate a daily task or update your decor, the right pendant lighting makes all the difference. But before you start installing fixtures in your home, it's important to consider the purpose of your pendant and how low your pendant should hang to properly light up your space. Ambient or overall light is used for all-purpose illumination, while task lighting puts the focus on a specific work area. Accent lighting highlights specific spots in your home, and can also serve as a decorative element. While certain luminaries are better suited for specific lighting needs, pendants can do it all, making them a popular choice for living rooms, kitchens, dining spaces and beyond.
How Low Should Pendant Lights Hang From The Ceiling?
As a general rule of thumb, pendant lights should hang just above the height of the tallest person in your household, especially if they’re being installed over an open walkway area. When hanging pendant lights above tables, furniture, and other surfaces in the home, here are a few suggestions:
- For sofas, chairs, and other seating – Your pendants should hang 5-7 feet above the seating arrangement to allow everyone to pass below with ease and to provide accurately diffused light
- Over a dining room table – Pendants should hang a minimum of 3.5-4 feet above a dining room table so there is no obstruction of view across the table
- Over bartops or kitchen islands – The bottom of the light should be a minimum of 3 feet above the surface, though it’s generally best to mount them slightly higher than that for visual appeal
Elements To Take Into Consideration When Determining How To Hang Your Pendant Lights
What is the purpose of the light?
- The height at which you position a pendant light can affect how the light diffuses. Is the pendant a source of ambient mood lighting, or a main light source for the room?
- If intended for a source of ambient lighting, it can hang lower to your surface whereas a main light source should hang higher to diffuse wider within a space
- The height of the ceiling can affect how high you’ll want to hang the lighting – both for visual aesthetic balance, and for optimal light diffusion
- For homes and spaces with taller ceilings, be sure your pendant is equipped with enough cord length to hang at the height you desire
The width of furniture positioned beneath the pendant light.
- For dining tables, we recommend the diameter of a pendant be no more than ½ to ¾ of the tabletop diameter. You can choose to use more than one pendant spaced out evenly above the table, or clustered together as an eye-catching centerpiece
How far apart to hang pendant lights.
- Smaller diameter pendant lights can accommodate a smaller space between each fixture
- A good rule of thumb is to space multiple pendant lights a minimum of 18 inches apart, while leaving half the diameter of the pendants at either end of the island or table for a balanced look
- Personal taste and preference in visual aesthetics and balance should always be taken into account, the main concern is what looks the best aesthetically to you
While there are general rules that can be followed when hanging a pendant light in your home, how low your pendant lights should hang really boils down to your personal preference and what looks and feels good to you. Depending on the size of the surface you plan on installing lighting over, you may consider using a singular large pendant or multiple pendants to provide ample brightness and visibility within your space. You can always accent your pendant lighting with additional options like table and floor lamps, track lighting, and even recessed lighting to create a well-lit space that is functional, comfortable, and welcoming.