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How to Buy a Mini Pendant

Mini pendants are an easy and elegant solution to task lighting over counters, hallway lighting or even primary lighting when thoughtfully arranged. Mini pendants are appropriate to light a variety of spaces and are most commonly used above surfaces such as kitchen counters and islands, entry way tables, dining room tables and bathroom counters. Mini pendants are much smaller than their large pendant counterparts, typically measuring less than 12 inches in diameter.

Pendant Styles and Finishes

Mini pendants come in nearly every conceivable style, shape and color, which makes them a fun and exciting choice for lighting. Limitless design options can dazzle the imagination, from the clean lines often seen in contemporary styles to the more ornate features found among traditional and transitional pieces.

A mini pendant's finish helps define the design and there are well over a dozen types from which to choose. Bronze, nickel, satin nickel, chrome, copper and steel are but a few options. These finishes can complement or contrast with your décor to add more depth and definition.

Pendant Shade Shapes, Colors and Materials

A mini pendant's finish and style is often enhanced with a shade and there are just as many shade variations as there are pendants. In fact, there are likely more because many mini pendants offer multiple shade options. For example, a particular pendant model may be available in a variety of different shades (not to mention finishes).

Shades made of glass, metal, fabric and other materials span the color spectrum, from bold assorted colors to neutral whites, browns and beiges and everything in between. There are also shades that feature patterns and prints that can be coordinated with your furniture or other interior décor. Add a vast array of shapes and the possibilities for what mini pendants can do becomes limitless.

Pendant Sizes

As previously mentioned, mini pendants are loosely defined as those sized 12 inches in diameter or smaller. There is no industry standard, but the utility and aesthetic quality of a mini pendant is in part defined by its conservative size.

Smaller diameters allow these kinds of lights to be placed in a variety of places where larger pendants wouldn't work. They can also be grouped together in greater numbers, whereas bigger lights more often look better when they stand alone. Of course, that's not to say that hanging a single mini pendant would be out of character. In fact, a single mini pendant can lend credence to the old adage that dynamite really does come in small packages.

Installation

Mini pendants are typically hung directly from a fixture in the ceiling or on a track lighting system. Mini pendants can be hung as one light or a group of lights depending on the space. It is common to see a trio of mini pendants over a kitchen bar or island, for example. There are no major advantages to choosing one type of hanging, from a fixture or track light, over the other, it is best to make a decision off of circumstances. Track lighting requires only one fixture to hang a grouping of pendants and leaves option for duo rails allowing for spotlights and pendants, but on the other hand, hanging mini pendants directly from the ceiling may be a “cleaner” style without a track. The key thing to remember when purchasing mini pendants for track lighting is that not all mini pendants fit onto every kind of track, so be sure to double check that the mini pendants you choose are compatible with the track you are looking at.

If the mini pendants are being hung over a surface they should hang between 28 and 34 inches from the base of the pendant shade to the surface. If the mini pendants are being hung in an area where people will walk under them (not traditional) they should be hung high enough that no guests hit their head.

If you do not have an existing fixture with an electrical box to attach the pendants too, this will have to be installed before installing the mini pendant. Here are basic instructions for installing a mini pendant not on a track, refer to the product specific instructions which come with the mini pendant purchased or refer to a professional before installing:

  1. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
  2. Determine where you will be hanging the pendant, install an electric box if there is no fixture.
  3. Attach the mounting fixture from the mini pendant to the to the electrical box in the ceiling and screw the light’s bracket into the mounting fixture.
  4. Wrap one of the ground wires (copper) around the screw on the bracket and wrap the other ground wire around the first ground wire securely (it is a good idea to secure with a wire nut).
  5. Match the rest of the wires, black to black (live wires) and white to white (neutral wires) and secure with a wire nut.
  6. Push the wires up into the ceiling and attach the canopy of the pendant to the ceiling.
  7. Attach the light bulb, be sure to check wattage specifications for individual pendants.
  8. Flip the electricity back on and test the lights!
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