What is a pendant light? Well, the term covers many types of lighting, but simply put they’re any light fixture that’s suspended from the ceiling by a cord, chain, or rod. The size, number of lights, and number of total fixtures also come into play. Most pendants, though, will feature just a single bulb. While that may seem to cut down on how complex they can be, you’ll see that couldn’t be further from the truth as you read on about all the different types of
1. Dome Pendants
Dome pendant lights are a perfect mix of form and function. Imagine a circular pendant with the bottom half cut off, and you’ve got a dome. They work wonderfully because the shape allows for a directed light while still having plenty of shade for the designers to get creative with, making them a great fit over your kitchen island or dining room table. You may also consider looking into larger dome pendants to make a stylish yet functional statement in your living room or entryway.
2. Drum Pendants
It’s not tough to figure out that drum pendants are named as such because that’s what they resemble. They’re typically assembled with fabric stretched over a circular metal frame, though you will sometimes also see the drum made of metal or other materials.
While they can be used in any setting, they are mostly chosen for ambient lighting rather than for tasks, since they’re usually open on both the top and bottom. If you’re wanting a drum pendant and need it with directed light, make sure to find one with a closed top.
Most drum pendant lights will be on the larger size, so you’ll normally only see them hung individually, rather than in twos or threes. Choose the color of your drum’s shade carefully based on your needs, as darker tones will let less light pass through.
3. Bell Pendants
These obviously take their name because of their resemblance to bells, but you may have also noticed their similarity to dome pendants. While this is true, there are a few important differences. First, bell pendants will normally be less wide at the bottom, and have a steeper slope. Second, you’ll commonly (but not always) see bells with a change in slope, with it softening before becoming more vertical again as it comes closer to the fixture’s top. Bell pendant lights are a wonderful mixture of style and utility, with great looks and downward-focused illumination.
4. Bowl Pendants
One of the most popular types around, bowl pendants are loved because they are both great to look at while also providing a beautiful ambient light. This makes them wonderful for settings like the foyer or living room, where both style and a soft light are important.
Their popularity makes the amount of choices available in bowl pendants practically unlimited. If you’re hanging them in a room with a particularly high ceiling, make sure to go with a bowl pendant light with a long, adjustable cord. This will allow you to have the fixture at just the perfect level for both appearance and function.
5. Hanging Bulb Pendants
Also frequently referred to as “exposed bulb,” hanging bulb pendants have really grown in popularity in the past decade as minimalist and industrial decor styles have become more common. They’re also a great addition for the simple fact that the small amount of materials used typically makes them much cheaper than other pendant types.
While it may seem like hanging bulb pendants don’t allow for much versatility, this couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re available in many different colors, and can be completely transformed just by switching out the bulb shape. You can also purchase them in multiples, then give each one a different hanging length for an eclectic clustered look.
6. Mini Pendants
It’s easy to figure out what a mini pendant is, but you’re probably still curious about what exactly makes them miniature and how they should be used. Smaller in size than your typical pendant light, the term mini can refer to the size of the actual fixture, the length of the hanging device, or the bulb. You’ll almost always see these used for task lighting, since they’re so great at providing a focused source of light.
Regardless of whether they’re being used for task or ambient lighting, mini pendant lights are usually seen in multiples. Try them in a straight line when placed over something like your kitchen island, or clustered and close together with varied hanging lengths when placed in a location such as your foyer.
Now that you know the various types of pendant lights out there, the real fun begins: the search! Major pendant lighting sites like
Pendant lights are a fantastic quick and relatively cheap way to completely redo the look and usage of a room. Now that you’re more informed, your search should be much more painless and go much more quickly. Good luck!