19 Aug Choosing pendant lighting for your new extension or self-build project
Pendant lights add a lovely, stylish finish to a room. We often see them places elegantly over dining tables or kitchen islands in the extensions we design. There is good reason for this – they look great! Whether you decide to make a statement with your lighting or subtly complement your colour scheme, there is a pendant lighting style for everyone’s taste. If your budget is IKEA or a high end designer supplier such as Chaplins, there are some beautiful options available. However, it is important to ensure your proportions are correct. Our 3D modelling software makes it easy to understand the dimensions of your project (whether it’s a self-build, extension or loft conversion) and build your interior design scheme. Ask your architect about this if you are not confident about the size of your spaces.
Choosing a pendant light that is too big may overwhelm the space and a smaller option may end up looking lost.
Width of pendant: If you add the length and width of your room together and then divide this number by 12, it will give you an ideal pendant width for your space. For example, if your room measures in at 3m by 5mm, added together this makes 8m. 8m divided by 12 = approximately 67cm wide. If you are thinking of opting for a multiple pendant light, you can simply divide this by the number of pendants you’d like. So, using our example, a three pendant piece should measure in at around 22cm per shade.
Height (or drop length) of your pendant light: Firstly, multiply the floor to ceiling height of your space by 3. For example, a room that is 3m high would equal 9m. Next, divide this measurement by 12 to give the ideal height of your pendant light. Our example would therefore need a drop of 75cm to suit the space.
How low can you go? Can you go down low?
Ensuring you have adequate clearance for your furniture and family, these rules are helpful:
Where people may walk underneath your light, allow 2.13m from the floor to the bottom of your pendant. If you’d like to place your pendant above a dining table or kitchen island for example, allow around 71cm to 91cm from the bottom of the fitting to the top of the surface. For a hallway, your pendant should be at least 15cm higher than the top of your front door, unless you have a very large amount of floor space of course.
Choosing the right style
There are so many different styles of pendant lighting, so it’s wise to begin by considering the function of your lights. Thinking about the type of illumination you want for the space will also depend on the other light sources in the room. A room with large windows or bi-fold doors will need less illumination for daytime use, however you may also require task lighting in certain areas and ambient lighting in others.
Types of lighting
There are four basic forms of lighting: task, ambient, accent and decorative.
Task lights are functional, helping you to see clearly whilst working (chopping, writing etc.) If your pendant lighting will help illuminate tasks such as children completing homework, reading or chopping food, you want a fixture that aims light downwards, preferably with an open bottom. Open bottom fixtures can create too harsh a light if paired with powerful bulbs, so bulb choice is also important. If the light proves too severe, you can always swap in a lower output bulb or install a dimmer to adapt to the use of the space and time of day.
General lighting which gently illuminates a whole space is called ambient lighting. A softer, ambient fitting will create a nice intimate mood for socialising.
If you want to highlight a design feature such as an art piece or an interesting building material, you could use accent lighting. Typically, accent lighting will be a picture light, however you can target your pendant lighting if you want to draw attention to the material of your worktop or table for example by having it closer to the surface or with a brighter bulb.
For simply adding a bit of sparkle and interest, decorative lighting is effective. These do not usually cast targeted light or serve any particular purpose other than to add to the feel or mood of the room.
We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things lighting and would love to discuss your project with you in detail.