Make a statement with a pendant, multi-cluster or chandelier fitting.
Ideally, a ceiling pendant will do far more than simply provide background lighting. It can be used to enhance a space by complementing a decorating scheme, create a standout feature or draw attention to a particular area. Some lights are designed to hang solo, while smaller styles can be grouped together in a line or cluster. Several factors will influence which design you select, such as the fitting’s dimensions, its length and brightness.
Height and drop
Image: Broste Copenhagen
To ensure there is no risk of anyone bumping their head on a ceiling light, there should be at least 2.2 metres between the floor and the bottom of the fitting. So it is important to know the light’s total length and whether it can be adjusted sufficiently, if needed, to allow for adequate clearance.
With high ceilings, such as a double- height hall, the light must be of a size and length to work with the proportions of the space and suspended so that it can be viewed to its best advantage. When destined to hang above a table or island, the bottom of a pendant should be 75-90 centimetres from the surface. Fixed any higher and you’ll be able to see inside the fitting, so choose a design with a decorative interior. A linear fitting, with several lights on an elongated bar, gives a good distribution of light above a rectangular dining table or island unit.
Is it bright enough?
Image: Bert Frank
Allow for around 250 lumens, or 25 watts, of light in total for every square metre of space. So if your room measures six metres by four metres, you’ll need 6,000 lumens. It’s a good idea to use different types of fittings to reach this level overall. This way you can control the light where and when you need it.
A ceiling pendant can be supplemented by wall lights and table lamps, for instance. Bar fittings, multi-light clusters and chandeliers, with anything from two to 30 or more individual lights making up the design, tend to have a greater output than single pendants and can reach 10,000 lumens, or 1,000 watts, or more. For greater control of the light level, look for fittings that can be adjusted via a dimmer.
All in proportion
Image: Cox & Cox
It’s important to select a design that’s the right size for your room. Too big and it will dominate the space, too small and it will look lost. ‘A solution is to add the room dimensions together in feet and convert the results into inches,’ says Chris Jordan, managing director at Christopher Wray. ‘This will equal the diameter of the fixture you need.’
A feature ceiling light can be a useful way to give a big room or hallway a point of interest. In an open-plan space think about sight lines and views from elsewhere in the room and hang pendants so they look striking from any angle. In a double-height hall consider how the fitting will appear from an overhead viewpoint, such as the landing.
Image: Original BTC
"All installations should be completed by a registered contractor with an approved body such as NICEIC. To find an electrician in your area, visit niceic.com,"says Darren Staniforth, senior group technical presenter at the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting.
"Bespoke fittings are often heavier than standard fittings. Check if additional supports above the ceiling are required as screwing into plasterboard might not be stable enough. Isolate the electricity supply at its source (fuse board/box) before attempting installation or maintenance. Turning off at the light switch is not safe enough. Check at the light fitting to make sure the correct circuit has been isolated."