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How to Choose a Large Pendant Light

A large pendant is a type of ceiling lighting that often includes a shade and usually serves as the primary lighting feature in a room. For many, it's an elegant alternative to a chandelier that is easy to install and maintain.

Pendant Styles and Finishes

Large pendants come in an array of designs and if you want to reinforce a room's design theme with your lighting selection then browsing by style is a great way to go. You'll find thousands of large pendants in contemporary, transitional and traditional designs, or you can get more specific by searching fixtures featuring art glass, crystal accents or a Tiffany look.

All of these styles and more are expressed in a wide range of finishes that can be used to blend your large pendant with its surrounding tones or to make a sizzling décor statement. Nickel, bronze and satin nickel are popular finish options that can work well with a variety of lighting styles and interior design schemes.

Pendant Shade Shapes, Colors and Materials

A pendant's shade is just as important as its finish - if not more so. Many pendant designs are defined by the shape, color and material of their shades. Glass and fabric make up the majority of shades, although there are plenty of options available in materials like metal, crystal and paper.

You can find large pendants in solid or patterned designs featuring any color of the rainbow, but there are just as many options with white, cream, beige and clear or crystal shades that complement neutral tones. When thinking about color it's important to consider how the shade will look when it's on and when it's off, especially if you decide to go with something bold.

Pendant Sizes

What is a "large" pendant, anyway? Nailing that down is more art than science, really, and ultimately you will be the judge. The size of any pendant is defined in part by the space it occupies, so what seems small to you may not seem so small to others.

Large pendants are typically categorized as any fixture with a diameter larger than 12 inches, give or take an inch or two. Pendant height is also a factor, but less so than its circumference. Pendants smaller than 12 inches around are usually reserved for smaller spaces or for over-counter lighting rather than as a primary lighting feature in a large room.

What is the difference between a large and bowl pendant?

Large and bowl pendants refer to lighting that hangs on a rod or chain and features a large shade with one bulb. Bowl pendants feature shades with a large, upside down bowl look while large pendants encompass the other styles.

Where should I hang a large or bowl pendant light?

Large pendant lights typically are hung over dining room tables, bar areas and kitchen islands. They also create a great look if hung in entry ways with high ceilings. Pendants are perfect for specific task lighting because typically pendants feature one bright bulb.

How high should I hang a large or bowl pendant light?

Pendants typically hang between 28 and 34 inches above the surface they are installed above, meaning 28-34 inches from bottom rim of the pendant to the surface it is above. This measurement should be considered a guide rather than a rule because things such as size of the pendant, size of the surface it is hanging over and other factors will determine the most aesthetic height.

How do I hang a pendant or bowl light?

Here are basic instructions for installing a pendant light. Be sure to consult the instructions specific to the product purchased or a professional before installing.

  •   1. Turn off the electricity with the circuit breaker
  •   2. Assemble the pendant following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically this involves attaching the chain or rod to the pendant and threading the wire out the top.
  •   3. Next, attach the mounting fixture of the pendant to the electrical box in the existing fixture on the ceiling. If there is not an existing fixture this will need to be installed.
  •   4. The pendant light will have a bracket which needs to be screwed into the mounting fixture.
  •   5. Locate the ground wires (copper) and screw one to the bracket and wrap the second ground wire to the first ground wire and secure with a wire nut.
  •   6. Connect the other wires, black to black and white to white, stripping the ends to attach the wires and securing with a nut.
  •   7. Push the wires into the ceiling carefully so the wire nut does not become loose.
  •   8. Attach the pendant light’s canopy to the ceiling hiding the wires.
  •   9. Screw in a light bulb and flip the electricity back on.
  •   10. Test!
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