How to Choose Pendant Lighting

July 15, 2014

How to Choose Pendant Lighting

Shopping for new stuff is fun! But there’s nothing worse than installing your new eye-catching piece only to find it’s completely out of style with its surroundings. To prevent that from happening, there’s five questions you need to ask yourself when shopping for vintage pendant lights and before you hit the “order” button. Jot down your answers first, and you’ll be much better prepared to select the best vintage pendants for your home. Here goes!


  1. What are you going to use them for?

No matter how much you like to pick vintage pendant lights based on their gorgeous looks, it’s very important to think about what you’re going to use them for first. Are they going to be task lighting for a specific activity, general lighting that provides the room with overall illumination or accent lightingto emphasize certain objects or room features?

Say you want to buy vintage pendants for your kitchen.Do you want them to light just the kitchen bench, the whole kitchen or that treasured hand-carved fruit bowl? In the first case you would want a pendant that has a downward beam and hangs a bit lower, but not so low that you can’t see the people sitting across the kitchen bench. In the second case, you’ll want to hang the pendant much higher and with a (reflective) shade that allows the light to spread more broadly throughout the room. In the latter case, you’ll want to hang a smaller pendant directly above the bowl, so it highlights just the small area around it.


  1. Where are you going to place it?

A pendant light is rarely the only light in the room. Take into account the other lights and features of a room when you think about where to place your new vintage pendant lights. If you’re going for accent lighting, make sure they aren’t near another large light. If you want to use them as task lighting, make sure there are no other objects in the way of the light beam. Hang them low enough to do their job but not so low they’ll get in the way of you performing the task. For example: if you hang a pendant light above your desk, make sure it’s low enough to provide ample reading light, but not so low you’ll accidentally bump into it when doing work.


  1. What room are you going to use it in?

Not all vintage pendants are equally suitable for every room. If you would like to hang them in your bathroom for example, make sure the material can withstand moist environments. Or if you hang them in a room which is a bit dark, select pendants with a reflective and/or see-through shade so they can also help maximise light during the day. Large or small pendants can help make a room feel bigger or cosier. In short, think about how pendant lights can make a room work.


  1. What kind of style would fit best?

Vintage pendant lights are renowned for fitting in with many different interior styles, but sometimes one just works better than the other. When you’re looking at a pendant light online or in a shop, think about how its particular shape, colour and material would suit its surroundings at home. Sometimes choosing a completely different style can give a room a real edge, but make sure it matches something else of the general interior of the room in some way or another.


  1. What lumen and wattage do you need?

Related to question no. 1, you need to determine how bright you want the light bulb to be for your vintage pendant and the type of light you want it to be (Kelvin). Kelvin refers to color temperature. The higher the number the whiter the light. The lower the number the warmer the light. For a bathroom people usually like a higher kelvin white light where it's clear, crisp and bright white. A lower kelvin is a nice warm orange glow, perfect for setting the mood but not so perfect for doing your make-up. Other than that it's simply the higher the wattage the brighter the bulb - but remember to compare apples for apples. A 5 watt LED for example is equivalent in brightness to a 35 watt incandescent. So a 7 watt LED is brighter then a 5 watt LED but a 5 watt LED is not as bright as a 40 watt incandescent. Make sense? Lastly make sure you know the max wattage bulb for your pendant light. If you use a bulb with too much wattage, the heat can damage the socket and wiring.


Have you written all your answers down? Then you should know how to choose pendant lighting properly. You can already get started by browsing our extensive collection of vintage pendant lights online. Have fun shopping!


(Image 1 via remondelista, image 2 & 3 via apartmenttherapy, image 4 via homedsgn, image 5 via FSV, Image 6 via NUD)

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