Before your skeptic mind starts wondering how many different types of pendant lights there could possibly be, ask yourself — what is a pendant light? The answer: Any light fixture that hangs from the ceiling on a chain, cord, rod, or any other suspension apparatus can count as a pendant light. Also, consider the size, suspension system, and bulb quantity when making a determination. This flexibility in definition makes it easy for avant-garde lighting designers to develop new and exciting pendant styles every day. For now, we've gathered seven of the most popular types of pendants for you to choose from when considering lighting solutions for your home.
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1. Drum Pendant
Drum style pendant lights are quite obviously named for their shades, which are fashioned much like drums — stretching cloth or another material over a circular metal frame. These fixtures can be used for either task or ambient lighting, depending on whether or not the bottom of the shade is open or closed. This handsome pendant style comes in a large range of colors and sizes to choose from, or you can always make your own. Bear in mind that darker colored shades will let less light shine through.
2. Globe Pendant
Whether you call them globes, spheres, or orbs, it's safe to say that this type of pendant is characterized by its round shape. This luminous pendant style really picked up steam in the late 1950s and '60s, so if you're going for midcentury, look no further. You can hang a few of them all at the same height (we'll talk more about hanging multiple pendants later). Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, try hanging a group of these beauties together to make a bold statement, and for the most dramatic effect, consider adding a little variety by alternating the drop length.
3. Bowl Pendant
Bowls are probably the most ubiquitous type of pendant light, probably because of their simple yet functional design. Most designated task lamps in the pendant family are of the bowl variety. Occasionally, however, you might see an inverted bowl used for pendant lighting, which casts light upward rather than down. The good news: Whatever shape, size, color, or texture you're looking for in a light fixture, you'll have no problem finding a bowl-style pendant to suit your fancy.
4. Exposed Bulb Pendant
The exposed bulb pendant trend hit hard a few years ago, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Consider this fixture for minimalist, industrial, or even rustic decor. These pendants are budget friendly, since basically all you need is the fixture and a bulb. Their minimal design also makes them a great DIY project. With no shade to speak of, these little guys are great for both ambient and task lighting. Available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, exposed bulb pendants are far from boring.
5. Multiple Pendants
By hanging multiple pendant lights you can essentially create your own lighting installation, á la the midcentury globe configuration that we mentioned earlier. Artistic arrangements of multiple pendants look especially snazzy in foyers, centered over dining tables, or above the kitchen island. When hanging multiple light fixtures, the goal is always balance. This holds particularly true for kitchen islands (along with any other task-oriented space that benefits from an even distribution of lighting).
6. Mini Pendant
There's not much mystery here. As advertised, mini-pendants are smaller versions of your standard pendant. The 'mini' can apply to the size of the fixture, the light bulb, or to the drop length. Individually, these are used for task lighting, since they're small, tightly focused sources of light. However, mini pendants are also frequently used in multiples, evenly spaced in a straight line or clustered together in a group, providing ambient overhead lighting.
7. Abstract Pendant
Lighting designers are constantly challenging themselves to design new and exciting pendant lights. Every material capable of safely housing a lightbulb and being hung from the ceiling has either been, or will one day be, molded into a unique pendant light. Depending on the fixture, an abstract pendant's unique construction may not provide the best illumination for task related areas. Rather, consider this option for more decorative ambient lighting. This type of ceiling light is another good option for hallways and foyers, or any other room where it can be the center of attention — like an artistic light installation hanging from your ceiling.