20 Brilliant Pendant Lamps Real Simple

August 21, 2018 2:12 am by sandiego
Clear glass prism pentagon pendant light
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20 Brilliant Pendant Lamps Real Simple

These lights hang down a foot or so from the ceiling. Generally more charming than standard flush-mounts, they have a bit of the glamour of pendants but are short enough for head clearance in most spaces.

These are adjustable two ways: You can slide each fixture to where you want it, then angle it to hit a specific area (great for accenting art or objects). Opt for small units in a finish that matches other metals in the room.

Emits a gorgeous, rosy glow. Perfect for mood lighting in the living room, the dining room, or a bedroom. Once you switch, you’ll never go back. (Sylvania soft pink bulbs, $5.50 for two, hardwarestore.com.)

There are two rules of thumb: You should have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambience, and you need appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space (reading, sautéing, getting dressed). Here are tips for five key spots.

Before You Buy a Bulb, Know This: The goal is to create an intimate atmosphere where you gather for meals, so dimmable bulbs that give off a warm yellow glow are ideal. Vintage-style or candelabra bulbs are a sophisticated choice for chandeliers or pendants.The Pros’ Pick: “If you want to give an open fixture a vintage vibe, this fully dimmable bulb looks quite authentic. It has LED strips arranged to resemble the thin, glowing filament of an Edison-style bulb—and the amber-tinted globe design gives it that old-fashioned look.” —Terry McGowan, Director of Engineering at the American Lighting AssociationTo buy: Bulbrite 776609 7W LED Bulb, $13; commercialbulbs.com.

They should clear the head of the tallest family member and not obstruct views—figure 36 to 48 inches from the top of the counter. Start the row of lights 12 to 15 inches from either end of the island or table, and space them evenly within that span.

To prevent eye fatigue, keep the light in the room no brighter than the screen. Sixty watts in a desk lamp, supplemented by soft, ambient light (from outside or overhead) will do the trick.

The best choice for applying makeup is sidelights, such as a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. An overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room (important when cleaning). In a large space, you might also want a light directly over the shower.

Circalighting.comUpscale but not over-the-top, this site features a well-edited selection of classic fixtures from designers such as Thomas O’Brien, Alexis Hampton, Barbara Barry, and Ralph Lauren.Home GoodsA great place to score affordable traditional-style one-off lamps (you might even find a matching pair).IKEAVery inexpensive, mostly modern lighting that looks far pricier than it is.Lampsplus.comYou’ll find an extensive, well-priced selection of lamps and mounted fixtures in every style. A bit of a time commitment to browse through, but worth it.Urbanelectricco.comBest known for its retro handblown glass pendants. If you’re looking for a showstopper for your entryway, this is the place. Also sells vintage bulbs.

Before You Buy a Bulb, Know This: Warm lighting is helpful for nighttime, when you’re getting ready to sleep; in the morning, cooler, brighter light can help you feel alert. Dimmable soft white bulbs offer both.The Pros’ Pick: “This bulb works with any kind of dimmer. It’s designed to change ‘color temperature’—from a standard soft white to a warmer, more amber-toned light—as it dims. Not all dimmable LEDs do this. Many others just lower the level of light output without actually changing the appearance of the light.” —Tim Rider, LED Product Manager at Philips Lighting North America To buy: Philips Dimmable LED Warm-Glow-Effect Bulb, $8; homedepot.com.

Mount sconces on either side of the mirror (36 to 40 inches apart is ideal) to cast even illumination across the face. Position the fixtures so the bottom edges of the shades are a little below eye level, or approximately 60 to 65 inches from the floor.

Melanie Freundlich creates custom light schemes for luxurious residences, galleries, and libraries. Here, she shares bright (and affordable) ideas to expertly illuminate any home.

You’ll need 60 to 80 watts of light. So a 40-watt bulb in each of a pair of sconces or three to four 25-watt bulbs above the vanity work well. Add the overhead if you need more.

Aim for a cozy, insular atmosphere: Place reading lamps or sconces by the bed—but not pointed directly at it. If you have recessed or track fixtures, angle them away from the bed, toward the dressing area. On a low table, include a small, intimate lamp with a tinted low-wattage bulb to mimic candlelight.

Before You Buy a Bulb, Know This: This hangout hub calls for warm, yellow light, to create a cozy atmosphere and flatter skin tones. Choose a bulb that’s dimmable, too, so you can amp up lighting when you need it—say, for family game night.The Pros’ Pick: “This works in almost any space. It looks like a traditional incandescent bulb and replicates the light of the soft white bulbs you’re probably used to. But it uses 80 percent less energy and lasts 10 to 20 times as long as those incandescents. Plus, it’s dimmable and very affordable.” —Dean Kochalka, Merchandising Vice President at Lowe’sTo buy: Utilitech Soft White LED Decorative Bulb, $9; lowes.com.

Embedded in the ceiling, recessed lights (a.k.a. high hats or can lights) are sleek, inconspicuous, and ideal for low ceilings. When it comes to size, smaller (about three inches in diameter) is chicer. Directional recessed lights can be set to beam toward a certain spot.

Looking to create a flattering glow yet still have enough wattage to see what you’re doing? This speedy lesson in lamps, fixtures, and bulbs (plus some room-by-room tips) will illuminate the way.

Focus on overhead lighting (on a dimmer that you can crank up when cooking), and add lower sources to illuminate work surfaces. Use pendants, under-cabinet lights, or a sturdy table lamp (kept away from the sink).

They’re your best friend when it comes to illumination, because they let you effortlessly adjust the feel of a room for mood or activity. Changing from switches to dimmers is a quickie job for an electrician, and it’s fairly easy to do yourself. For a demo, go to video.about.com. A tip: Dimmers are not just for overheads. You can put a lamp on a dimmer or even opt to have the whole room’s “lightscape”—ceiling, table, and floor lamps—all on a single dimmer switch. Dimmers also save energy and extend the lives of bulbs.

Before You Buy a Bulb, Know This: Some experts suggest using “daylight” bulbs, or bulbs with cooler lighting, in the bathroom, as they show colors more accurately. But there’s another school of thought: “You may find a soft white bulb more flattering,” says Rider. (In other words, just how much precision do you want in the bathroom mirror?)The Pros’ Pick: “For a classic look in a bathroom vanity, try an LED globe light. This one has a frosted finish that cuts glare. It also works well in pendant fixtures in work spaces, like above a kitchen island.” —Joey Corona, Lightbulb Merchant at Home DepotTo buy: EcoSmart Soft White G25 Dimmable Frosted LED Bulb, $20 for 3; homedepot.com.

Before You Buy a Bulb, Know This: Floodlight-shaped bulbs focus hall lighting on the floor, making nighttime navigation easier. Consider installing a motion-sensing fixture that turns on the light automatically whenever there’s movement—you won’t have to grope for that switch in the dark again.The Pros’ Pick: “This bulb is compatible with fully enclosed fixtures, meaning it won’t overheat and damage the wires. It’s fine for a kitchen or dining room but especially effective in a hallway, where a soft white glow helps the whole house feel welcoming. It’s also dimmable—great for a light you may want to leave on at night.” —Joey CoronaTo buy: EcoSmart Soft White Dimmable LED Bulb, $30 for 6; homedepot.com.

Fixtures like these hug the ceiling. In a bathroom or a kitchen, their bright, whole-room illumination is useful; elsewhere they can be harsh. Calm one down by swapping in low-wattage bulbs, aiming for a total wattage of about 60.

Light three of the four corners, focusing one of those lights on an object (art, a plant, a striking chair). Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward. Allow for reading in as many seats as possible with down-glowing lamps on three-way switches. If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer (see What’s the Deal With Dimmers?).

A metallic finish on the top half of the bulb softens the light. A great solution for overheads with exposed bulbs, especially if there isn’t a dimmer. (Halco clear silver-bowl globe, $3, 1000bulbs.com.)

Try these in a modern chandelier. Or, for a surprise, swap them in for the flame-shaped bulbs in a traditional chandelier. (GE crystal-clear globe lightbulbs, $3, amazon.com.)

Go for a fixture one-half to three-quarters the width of the table; anything larger will cast shadows on faces. Hang the light 36 to 48 inches above the table. Choose the lower number for more intimacy, the higher one if you want to stand when toasting.

How did you get started in this field?I was a stage manager and lighting designer for dance companies; my degree was in theater design. I became interested in architecture, so I took a few courses, then went back to school for an M.F.A. in architectural lighting design, which focuses on aesthetics, technical application, and environmental factors, among other things. After I graduated, I worked for an international architectural-lighting-design firm in New York City for 10 years, then started my own business.When you walk into a home, do you critique the lighting?Only in my mind.What makes you cringe?Glare. Think of a dining-room pendant hung too high, so that from a seated viewer’s sight line, the bare bulb isn’t shielded by a shade or a globe.Why is it so hard to pick the right fixture?Because people tend to focus too much on the fixture itself. What you should really think about most is what you’re lighting—how light lands on a surface, what it does to the space.What’s the secret to a beautifully lit living room?Variety. The key is to have a range of lighting heights and locations. You don’t want to have only table lamps or only floor lamps with light all on one level. Instead, have a mix that includes a light on top of a shelf and something low, like a glowing cube on the floor—which also adds a nice, contemplative touch.Anything else to think about?Bring more light to certain spots and favorite objects. It’s important that different parts of the room are at different brightness levels to prevent lighting fatigue.What is “lighting fatigue”?Imagine the feeling of being in a conference room where everything is at the same light level and there are no shadows—that’s lighting fatigue.Speaking of bad lighting, what’s your take on CFLs?People are really afraid of CFLs because many of them are harsh and make everything around them look bad. It’s hard to identify the good ones without an understanding of color correction. Labels like “daylight” are meaningless—kind of like “all natural” on food packages. But some CFLs give off nice light.

To draw people in, make the table the brightest spot in the room. Use a chandelier or a pendant above the table, limiting the total wattage to 100. Elsewhere in the room, indirect lighting is best—it’s relaxing and flattering. Give the space a subtle glow with a pair of small table lamps on a sideboard or matching sconces on the wall above. Battery-powered votives inside a glass-front china cabinet can be a nice touch.

To buy: EcoSmart Bright White Dimmable LED Bulb, $33 for six; homedepot.com.

When you hunker down in bed to read, you want the bottom of the shade to be a little below your line of sight, or about 16 to 18 inches from the top of the mattress. A table lamp that’s 26 to 28 inches tall (base and shade together) usually works well.

Before You Buy a Bulb, Know This: This task-oriented room demands a high-quality light. Bulbs labeled “HD” generally offer the most clarity. If you regularly eat in your kitchen, consider a dimmable bulb.The Pros’ Picks: “A light that brings out colors and definition in food is helpful for meal prep and presentation. This LED bulb is made with the rare-earth mineral neodymium, which creates a stronger separation in the way your eye views reds and greens. The result is that all colors look more vivid and whites more brilliant, allowing you to see in sharper detail.” —Carmen Pastore, Consumer Marketing Manager at GE Lighting

Use a 40- to 60-watt bulb. To prevent shadows, the lamp should be between your head and the page. A lamp with an opaque shade, like a metal reading lamp, cuts glare.

The term applies to any fixture suspended from a chain or a cord, including chandeliers. Best over tables and counters or in rooms with ceilings nine feet tall or higher. Tip: Add up the length and width of the room in feet and use the same number in inches for your fixture’s diameter.

Or try this energy-saving superstar: “Mood lighting it’s not, but if you want to save on electric bills and not have to buy a new bulb till your 401(k) matures, this is the one for you. It lasts about 20 years and uses nearly 85 percent less energy than a standard incandescent.” —Joey Corona

Can you point to a couple?There are two bulbs I would use at home to replace a common 60-watt bulb, but only in fixtures that hide the bulb: Philips EnergySaver Twister Warm White 13W ($5, lightbulbsurplus.com) and a newfangled LED, Philips AmbientLED 25W A19 ($14, homedepot.com). LED bulbs cost more but last about twice as long as CFLs.What about lights in the bathroom, for makeup?A perfect scenario is lights on both sides of the mirror and above it, so light lands on your face from three directions, which will help fill in shadows.What’s the most common mistake you see in kitchens?Many times when people renovate, they put a grid of recessed lights in the ceiling in the middle of the room. That doesn’t light the space—it only lights the floor. You don’t need lights in the middle of the kitchen. You need directed light on counters, on islands, and on the fronts of cabinets. And I think halogen lights under cabinets are a mistake. They’re too hot. I would use a linear fluorescent or LED lights instead.Any easy pro tricks?Light vertical surfaces, like art or even the wall itself. It makes a room feel bright. (Envision an art gallery: The walls are always bright.) For drama, try placing an uplight on the floor behind a piece of furniture.Tips for outdoor lighting?You need task lighting for the grill, step lights for stairs, and some ambient lighting, like wall sconces. But don’t overdo it—you don’t want to kill the feeling of being outside at night. Then there’s lighting for nearby plants or trees. You might want to uplight a few trees farther out, too. In some settings, it can be spooky when it feels like there’s this great dark beyond.Do you use solar lights?They don’t seem to work very well, so I don’t use them.What inspires you most?Natural lighting events, like sunrises, sunsets, light on water.What’s the cheapest, quickest fix with the most impact?Changing all your switches to dimmers.Describe the least flattering lighting you can imagine.A bright overhead downlight without any other light sources in the room. That gives you a long shadow under your nose and deep shadows under your eyes. Then again, a single light shining up at your face isn’t great either. It’s like a horror movie. But if you want to tell a scary story, that’s the way to go.

Overwhelmed by the options in the bulb aisle? Our room-by-room guide makes it easy to pick the right bulb for the right job, improving your home’s mood and safety—and your bottom line. Not all are created the same—you wouldn’t want to use a bathroom vanity bulb for your bedroom lamp and vice versa. When choosing a bulb think about what kind of mood or lighting you’ll want to have in a specific room: calming or energizing; a dim, cozy glow or a bright and vivid light. Keep in mind that in a bedroom you’ll want to have a versatile bulb that will help you go to sleep at night, but will energize you when you wake up (especially on those early winter mornings when the sun isn’t up yet). On the other hand, in a kitchen, you’ll want to choose a brighter light that provides clarity for cooking and other tasks. When purchasing a bulb at the hardware store, abide to the recommended-wattage label taped to the lamp cord, or specified on the lighting fixture. It’s a safety issue—that label lets you know how much heat the fixture can handle without damaging the socket and internal wiring. If you’re using a standard incandescent bulb, you should be especially obedient about the wattage guide. With CFLs and LEDs, you have a little more flexibility: “They use significantly less energy than standard bulbs, so you can go up in wattage if you want a brighter light,” says Tim Rider, LED product manager at Philips Lighting North America. No label on your lamp? “Use a CFL or LED to avoid exceeding its wattage,” he advises.

Inspired by Thomas Edison’s original design, it has a visible filament and a rustic glow. Pricey and low-wattage, it’s worthwhile only in lamps where the bulb is exposed. (Triple-loop bulb, $25, rejuvenation.com.)

To buy: GE Lighting Reveal High-Definition Dimmable Bulb, $10 for two; homedepot.com.

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