Chandeliers and Pendant Lighting: Which One Is Best for My Room and Style?

By mmcconnell_1238912 on 12/21/2018

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What’s the Difference between a Chandelier and a Pendant Light?

Pendant lights and chandeliers are both hanging light fixtures, and they are used in many of the same locations, including kitchens, dining rooms, and foyers. The primary difference between the two is their structure.

Chandeliers are tiered and include lights that branch off from a main source, while pendant lights do not. Chandeliers are also used as a standalone centerpiece. Meanwhile, pendant lights can be used independently in a room, or they can be placed in groups.

Although pendant lights and chandeliers are equally available in modern and traditional styles, chandeliers are typically more opulent and more expensive in price. So, should you choose a chandelier or a pendant light?

Should I Choose a Chandelier or Pendant Lighting for My Room?

Foyer

chandelier in foyer

Style Options

Typically, a chandelier is best for foyers with tall ceilings. Since you can purchase tiered chandeliers, you can make better use of the vertical space without the light fixture appearing oversized. This will provide a more elegant look.

If it fits your style, there are also many tall pendant lights that could work nicely in large foyers. Otherwise, it is best to choose pendant lighting fixtures for foyers with lower ceilings, since they will be less likely than chandeliers to overpower the room.

Measurements: Height

For foyers, you generally want to leave 7 feet between the floor and the bottom of the light fixture. This measurement will vary based on the height of the ceiling and the entryway, since you always want your light fixture to hang higher than the front door.

Kitchen

Kitchen using pendant lights

​Style Options

Kitchen pendant lighting is extremely popular, although chandeliers are occasionally used as a standout centerpiece. The benefit of pendant lighting is that you can hang multiple fixtures in a group, which could result in better light distribution for the kitchen.

Measurements: Diameter

When determining the diameter of your light fixture, always follow the 1/3 rule. The diameter of the light fixture should be no more than 1/3 the length of the kitchen island.

For instance, if the kitchen island is 9 feet long, your light fixture should be no more than 3 feet in diameter.

If you plan on hanging multiple pendant lights over the kitchen island, make sure you leave enough space between light fixtures so that they do not appear crowded.

Also, when selecting the number of pendant lights, keep in mind that the eye prefers odd numbers. Most designers will tell you that it is better to have lights in groups of 3 or 5.

Measurements: Height

When determining the height of your light fixture, make sure you can leave about 30 inches of space between the top of the counter and the bottom of the light fixture. This will provide you with enough room for the counter to be functional.

Dining Room

Dining room with pendant lights

​Style Options

Many of the same rules apply for selecting light fixtures for the dining room. Chandeliers are most commonly hung in formal dining rooms, while a single pendant light is used in casual dining settings. It is very uncommon to see a group of pendants hung over a dining room table.

Measurements: Diameter

The 1/3 rule also applies to the dining room table. If you have a dining room table that is 12 feet long, you want a light fixture with a diameter of 4 feet.

Measurements: Height

As with kitchen islands, you want to leave 30 inches of space between the top of the dining room table and the bottom of the light fixture. This should measure close to 5 feet from the floor, depending on the height of your table.

Bathroom

Pendant Lights in bathroom

Style Options

Pendant Lights by bathroom mirrorsWhether you choose a chandelier or pendant light for your bathroom will depend on your personal style. A chandelier would be better suited for large bathrooms for an elegant look.

You can also choose a mini crystal chandelier to add some glitz to a small space.

Pendant lights can be equally as glamorous as chandeliers, but they are also great for a casual look.

For example, in a bathroom with multiple sinks, you can hang a mini pendant light over or next to each location. This way, everyone will have adequate lighting.

How Do Chandeliers and Pendant Lights Differ in Initial Cost and Maintenance?

When it comes to the light fixtures themselves, chandeliers are typically more expensive than pendant lights.

Since chandeliers generally have more lights per fixture, you will need to purchase more light bulbs. This also means that maintenance for chandeliers is more tedious because there will be multiple light bulbs to change.

As for energy costs, expense will depend on the individual fixture. For example, if your light fixture is compatible with LED light bulbs, you will save more money on energy costs than if you were to select a fixture with incandescent light bulbs.

This is because LEDs can produce more light for less energy. Likewise, LED light bulbs have a longer life span, so they will not need to be replaced as often, which saves money in the long term.

So, whether you choose a chandelier or pendant light, your maintenance costs will vary based on the kind of light bulbs you use.

Do Chandeliers or Pendant Lights Give Off More Light?

Theoretically, pendant lights and chandeliers can put off the same amount of light. Light intensity and color temperature will vary based on the individual fixture and light bulbs you use.

Where pendants and chandeliers differ is light direction. Most traditional chandeliers have bulbs, such as flame lights, that direct light upwards. In contrast, most pendant lights direct light downwards.

For this reason, chandeliers are generally better for creating atmospheric lighting, while pendants are better for direct lighting.

Can I Replace My Pendant Light with a Chandelier, or Vice Versa?

Chandeliers and pendant lights use the same electrical wiring, so they can be easily swapped out; however, most electrical boxes only support up to 50 pounds of weight.

While this support is suitable for most pendant lights, many chandeliers weigh over 50 pounds. In this case, you will need to install mounts and braces to support the extra weight of a new chandelier.

These are just a few great uses for chandeliers and pendant lighting. To discover new lighting solutions for your home or business, browse HomElectrical’s selection of light fixtures today!

 

Watt Do You Think?

Do you prefer to use a chandelier or pendant lighting?

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