Cluster of golden pendant lights hanging above a staircase

Pendant lighting: a buyer’s guide

Make the right statement with a fabulous fitting by following this expert advice.

By Andrea Manley | 15 October 2020

Ideally, a ceiling pendant will do far more than simply provide background lighting. It can enhance a space by complementing a decorating scheme, create a standout feature or draw attention to a particular area. Some pendant lighting hangs solo, while smaller styles look great in a group, line or cluster. Several factors will influence which design you select, such as the fitting’s dimensions, its length and brightness.

Brass and opal glass pendant lighting hanging above a dining table

Brass and opal glass linear pendant from Bert Frank

Height and drop

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 will adjust sufficiently 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. Suspend it so that the fitting can be seen to its best advantage. If it is 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.

Several pendant lights grouped together and hanging above a stairwell

Brushed brass Ginger 32 suspension pendant lights from Chaplins