Having the right lighting in your kitchen is incredibly important. Especially in a larger kitchen, or one where you do a lot of entertaining, just your standard bank of fluorescent lights probably isn’t going to cut it. Good kitchen lighting comes in layers – that means different types of light different quantities of light, and light in a lot of different areas, not just in the center of your kitchen. Adding more light to your kitchen makes it feel warm, open, and inviting. One of my personal favorite ways to pull this off is by using a lot of pendant lights.
Why pendant lights, you might ask? Simple, glass-shade pendant lights like this Arco Baleno are simple and unpretentious, but cast a warm, inviting light. Where a florescent light won’t quite do, but even a simple chandelier is a little overblown for your taste or your space, putting up a trio of pendant lights is a great way to add visual interest without being gaudy or overly ornate.
In a way, island lighting can serve the same function, and there are plenty of gorgeous and playful island lights out there, but pendant lights are a lot more flexible. Take this Elysburg Light for example – it’s a relatively simple, pendant-like island light, not quite a chandelier but a little more complex than a simple hanging light. The problem is that the size of an island light dictates the space you can hang it in. Because this one is relatively small, it would be dwarfed by a large kitchen island – you’d have to save it for a smaller space, or find another piece entirely.
Pendant lights, on the other hand can be affixed any distance apart from one another, in a string of any number of lights, and even at varying heights for a little extra visual flair. These simple Billiards Pendants from Landmark Lighting are a great example. Because they’re three individual lights rather than a single unit, they can accommodate the curve of this angled kitchen island/bar no problem. Where a more traditional island light (or a billiard light) would have to sit awkwardly over the angle, or only light one half of the island, a trio of pendant lights gives you the same colored glass look, but with the flexibility to accommodate the entire length of the bar.
Similarly, pendant lights aren’t restricted to kitchen islands. While island lights like this Tea Swirl Island Light tend to be pretty low hanging (read: perfect for bumping your head on) and a little hefty in size, delicate, dainty pendant lights are the perfect way to visually transition a space. Especially if you have a kitchen with an open floor plan, and want to visually connect your kitchen, breakfast space, and dining area, repeating matching pendant lights is a great way to draw the eye through your entire room.
Pendant lights also have the nice advantage of often being a part of matching sets. That means that even if no quantity of pendant lights can accomplish quite the right amount of kitchen lighting you need, chances are you can find a few larger or smaller pieces that match. This is really the perfect way to do your kitchen lighting – pick a Barrister Chandelier for your dining table, dot the walls with matching Barrister Sconces, and cover your kitchen island and the open space in between with a set of Barrister Pendants to round out your collection. It’s absolutely the easiest way to trick the eye into seeing a matching decor.
That said, while big sets of pendant lights are great for a larger kitchen, single pendant lights are perfect for a smaller space. If a chandelier, island light, or anything you might find in a formal dining room is just a liiittle too big for your kitchen, a dainty, elegant pendant light like this Franklin Creek Pendant can be a perfect alternative. The simple but stylish decorative swoop on the stem lends enough elegance to an otherwise simple light to make it a lovely centerpiece for a small dining table or kitchen island – the perfect way to get the style you want when you don’t really have the space.
Really, though, probably my favorite thing about pendant lights is that, for as simple as they are structurally, they come in such a huge variety of styles and colors. These tubular Maple Amber Pendants from ELK Lighting, for example, change up the shape of the shades. Rather than a simple dome shade, they opt for long, tubular glass covers. But even your traditional scoop-shaped, glass shade pendant lights come in a rainbow of colors, ranging from simple primary (gasp!) plastic shades to gorgeous hand blown glass with one of a kind patterned colors, and even some hammered metal shades, so it’s easy to get a style you like without having to get too ornate (or break the bank!).
Last but certainly not least, pendant lights are great for any kitchen because… they’re much easier to change. This is true for a couple of reasons, not the least of which that they’re much, much less expensive than your average large sized decorative light. While laying down the dough for a chandelier – especially a really nice one – is going to mean you’re stuck with it for a while, even really nice pendant lights like these Encapsulate Pendants rarely bust the $100, $150 mark. More than that, if you pick the right style, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to replace the shades without changing the whole fixture, meaning you can mix up the look and feel of your kitchen lighting as often as you like – seasonally, annually, for special occasions, or as often as the mood strikes you. This is a great way to make your kitchen lighting custom to your entertaining needs, and ensure your kitchen is always lit exactly the way you want it.