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Choose pendant lights: what should I look out for?

Pendant lights are available in all shapes and forms. The light output differs according to the shape, the light source, and the material from which the pendant lamp is made.

The type of pendant light should match the room in which it is hung and its application, apart from whether or not other light sources are present in the room.

Pendant lights

Light distribution type

If no additional lighting is present

Suppose that you only hang a pendant light centrally above your dining table. And there is no other lighting in the room. In such case, it is best to opt for a pendant light that not only illuminates the table surface, but also the room itself.

Otherwise, you will be sitting at an illuminated table in a room that is otherwise dark. The walls and the surrounding area will consequently appear darker, which is not really attractive.

If there is additional lighting in the room

Has additional lighting been provided, for example in the form of recessed lights? In that case, you can opt for a dome-shaped pendant lamp with only one downward light. The table will be tastefully lit while the room itself will be illuminated by the additional lighting.

Light distribution type pendant light

Other light source = other light

The type of light depends on the light source. Fluorescent lighting provides diffused and uniform light Spotlights throw a more focused, precise light They are designed to project light on a specific element or place. The DeltaLight Xilo is a pendant luminaire with spotlights (photo on the right).

Fluorescent lighting is more suitable for office and work spaces. They provide a uniform light with less sharply-defined shadows. Defined shadows however also look good in living rooms. The play between light and shadow makes for a very cosy effect. This and the fact that TL (Tube Luminescent /Fluorescent Light) is difficult to dim, makes it less suitable for domestic applications.

Pendant fluorescent light versus spotlights

How high do I suspend pendant lamps?

The ideal suspension height for the pendant lamp always depends on the application, the type of luminaire and the manner of providing light. Above a dining table, you generally suspend the pendant lamp approximately at around eye level, whereas in a kitchen island, it is best for you to place the lamp above eye level.

The difference is that you will be sitting down at a dining table, due to which your line of sight is below the pendant light. The pendant light does not interrupt the line of sight.

In case of a kitchen island, you are in the standing position most of the time. If the pendant light is hung at eye level, it will obstruct your view of the rest of the room. You should therefore hang the lamps slightly above eye level.

Ideal suspension height for pendant lamps

Above the bedside table

You can opt for a hanging light even above the bedside table. A nice alternative to the traditional table lamp.

In this application, the pendant lamp should ideally be hung slightly lower. The light should be limited to the cabinet and to a limited extent all around. For aesthetic reasons as well, it is best for you to choose a low suspension height.

Pendant light over bedside table

The light beam should be adjusted to the shape of the table

Suppose a dome-shaped luminaire is hanging with concentrated downward light above your dining table. At 1.7 metres height (approximately at eye level). In that case, it is possible that you will have a circle of light on your table, while the edges of the table will not be fully illuminated.

Solution: the lamp should be hung higher in order to increase the light beam on the table. Always adjust the aperture angle, distance and diameter of the light beam according to the table.

Light beam and the shape of the table

Pendant lamp in staircase or loft

There is often a problem with blinding in staircases or lofts. You can see the pendant light over two storeys. Many pendant lamps that also throw light upwards, are not adequately screened off. Excessive visibility from above can dazzle passers-by.

Solution: hang the lamp higher. But make sure that you do not lose the aesthetic image of the pendant lamp in the open room. Or: opt for another luminaire, in which the light source is masked, for example with frosted glass.

Pendant lamp in staircase and loft

The pendant lamp is adjusted to the element to be lighted

Golden rule: adjust the design of your pendant lamp to the element that you wish to illuminate.

Do you have a square or round table? In such case, choose a ‘central focus’ form of lighting.

Do you have a long table or a long kitchen island? In that case, go for a ‘longitudinal’ type of lighting or for several pendant lights positioned side by side.

Pendant lights and the shape of the table

The connecting point or connecting points

For most pendant lamps, the connecting point is located directly above the lamp. This is often a problem if your connecting point is not exactly above your table. Do not worry, there are enough pendant lights in which the light point is not located exactly below the connecting point. The Foscarini Twiggy suspension decentrata, for example.

Connecting point at the start/end of the device

Fluorescent lighting or profiles often have their connecting points at the start or end of the device. Suppose your luminaire is 1.5 metres long. This will be a problem in case your connecting point is located exactly above the centre of your table or kitchen island. The pendant luminaire therefore does not produce a desirable effect when placed above the table.

In case of a new building, it is best for you to adjust the location of your connecting point in advance according to the luminaire that you wish to hang. If the connecting point is already fixed, hang the type of luminaire from the place where this point is located.

Several pendant lamps = these mostly require several connecting points

If you opt for several pendant lamps, you often require several connecting points. However, there are luminaires with multiple pendant lights, so that only one connecting point is required. They consist of a long base from which multiple pendant lamps can be hung.

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