Feature image: Modernist Sydney beach house photographed by Prue Ruscoe. Muuto Unfold pendant, Saarinen Tulip table, Hans Wegner chairs.
Not just decorative, pendant lighting offers additional task lighting in areas that need it most, like kitchens, bathrooms and bedsides.
Hung in a cluster, row or individually, thoughtfully chosen pendants create a beautiful focal point for your room.
Here’s a round up of my favourite pendant lights, together with my top tips on how to hang them.
The Muuto Unfold pendant is a classic design. Made of silicon, it quite literally ‘unfolds’ from the package. I love how it combines subtle industrial styling with soft rubbery texture. Available in a range of brights and pastels, this design works anywhere from kitchen bench to dining table. Find them at Top3ByDesign and Remedy store.
I love this Australian designer. Kate Stokes of Coco Flip Design Studio makes her handcrafted Coco Pendant in Melbourne from turned Victorian ash timber and powder coated spun aluminium. It’s no wonder this design has won several industry awards. Hang one or two of the smaller size Coco pendants in the kitchen, use one large pendant over the dining table, or illuminate your hallway with this Australian classic. Available from Design Farm.
Normann Copenhagen Bell
One of my favourites, the Normann Copenhagen bell pendant features a bell-shaped shade with leather strap gathering and textile cord. Originally released in white and grey, the collection now includes the ‘Nude’ range in sandy hues. Hang these individually or in a cluster for a stunning effect. Available from Great Dane Furniture.
Benjamin Hubert Spinning
This one is a true beauty. Inspired by a child’s spinning top, the Spinning Light comes in large and teardrop sizes in matte grey, gloss black, white, yellow and purple. Together, the two shapes make a beautiful sculptural statement in the dining room, feature corner or bedroom.
How to hang pendant lighting
There are a few things to consider when hanging pendant lights:
Scale. Make sure the scale of pendant you choose suits the size of the room. Too-small pendants can look lost and lack purpose. If you’re unsure, most suppliers will be happy for you to try and return.
Number. If you’ve fallen in love with a small-scale pendant, try two or three in a cluster. Or vary the shape of your pendants to create a visually interesting look. Three is great, but two pendants at staggered heights will also work in smaller spaces, such as a bathroom. One is wonderful for chandeliers and large statement pieces.
When installing pendants in the kitchen, three works for a long island bench, or try two offset. However, make sure the scale of pendant you choose suits the length of your kitchen bench and the overall space.
And how gorgeous do the Hay stools look in this striking design?
(For more on my favourite stools see janeledger.com.au/find-the-perfect-stool/)
Height. I’m the first to admit hanging pendants is not easy, particularly when your electrician has been up and down the ladder a thousand times already. But it’s important to get it right. The most common mistake with pendants (like art) is hanging them too high. As a general rule, rooms with high ceilings require pendants that are bigger and hang lower. Smaller pendants usually need to be lower than large pendants. Think about the use of the room – where will people be walking, sitting, eating or reading? Make sure there is enough clearance, but still enough light for the activity.
Rough guidelines only:
Kitchen bench – pendant sits 55cm – 70cm above the bench top
Dining table – pendant sits 70cm-82cm above the table height
Feature pendants in a corner are intended to be low slung and mostly decorative. Side table and bedside pendants should also be low enough for reading.
Be there. The second most common mistake is hanging a pendant on your own (or letting someone else do it when you’re not there). Ideally, the person hanging the pendant should not also decide the right height. Test different heights from a distance and get second opinions while the electrician is still there. Always be on site when pendants are being hung and have more than one person present to help gauge and adjust.
Finally, install dimmers if you can, especially with downlights. They also work well with pendant lighting to create ambient mood and provide a restful backdrop late at night.