3 Fritz Hansen Orient Copper Lights hanging over dining table

Top tips on using pendant lights effectively

By Steve Davey

3 Fritz Hansen Orient Copper Lights hanging over dining table

Our top tips on using pendant lights effectively.

We are passionate about lighting and know it can be daunting to decide exactly what look you want and how to use lighting so your home looks stylish, cosy and atmospheric. It’s so important and worth careful consideration to get it right. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of your lighting choices, but as they can dramatically enhance your home, this is one area you can really shine, show personality and add that special touch to your design scheme.  Our customers often ask advice on where to use a light, what size, how many and so on, so we thought we would give some tips on “how to” get the most from your lighting, to make your home an even lovelier place to live, work and relax.

light years carravaggio

Caravaggio matt grey pendant light

Design rules:

There are a number of interior design rules and best practice guidelines to make your lighting scheme work harder for you.  Good lighting design is all about layering.  Clever layering of light allows you to create atmosphere, change the mood, perform tasks and draw attention to desirable features of the room with the flick of a switch.  For a truly layered look you should have light from above, below and from the sides.

Broken down, there are 3 main types of light: ambient, accent and task lighting.

AMBIENT.  This is the base layer of light for overall illumination.  This can come from a ceiling pendant, floor lamp, recessed lights or wall lights or a combination of these.  The level of light should be comfortable and widespread.

ACCENT.  This is directional lighting to highlight certain aspects of the room such as a fireplace, artwork or piece of furniture.

TASK.  This is to add extra brightness for daily activities such as over a kitchen worktop, a reading corner or work desk and dining table.

Multiple light sources can be mixed and matched to enhance your room and create zones.  They can transform your kitchen/diner from practical workspace to inviting entertaining space to a calm and cosy chill out zone.

Danish hadn folded le klint 172 pendant light

Cosy reading corner with pendant lighting Le Klint 172

Pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling in most cases and direct light downwards.  They can be used to create ambient lighting or task lighting depending on how you use them.  They can be used for comfortable overall lighting for your room or hung in specific spaces to create extra light such as over kitchen worktop.  They can be used alone or in groups with dramatic effect.  Think about whether you want to make a statement or use pendants to subtly enhance your room design scheme.


Iconic Flowerpot pendant as a cluster – or a single for a minimal look


Acorn pendant by Norther.no Danish lighting

The Acorn for a minimal mood

Give a room the WOW factor! Oversize, sculptural, textural, it can say so many things, but it will be the centre of attention in your scheme and a strong focal point.


Vita Eos XXl Statement lampshade

Vita Eos Statement lighting

It can be hard choosing the right pendant light but we’re here to help!  Here’s a few technical pointers:

What do you want to achieve?  Are you looking to highlight one specific spot, or create a general glow, do you need to perform a specific task using the light emitted?   Once you’ve decided this you can choose the aesthetic style.  The design of the pendant will impact on its function.

Le Klint carronade spotlights Danish lighting,

Spotlights, downward, angled directional task lighting

Get your proportions right: Too big and it will overwhelm your space, too small and it might be a bit underwhelming.  You can get very technical with this, as there is plenty of advice out there with specific calculations and formulas.  We like to be a bit practical however, so a great top tip is to cut out an old cardboard box in roughly the right height and diameter of the pendant you are considering and ask a willing helper to get up the ladder and hold it where you want it to be hung.  This is a great tool to see how the size works in your space and helps with seeing what height looks good as well. You might want to be a little different with scale as part of your scheme and this will help you decide if the size will achieve what you want in the space.

What height should I hang my pendant?  This is a tricky one!  The pendant’s primary function will play a part in this.  Task lighting will lose brightness if hung too high but can end up in your line of vision if it’s to perform its function properly.  Over a kitchen island for example where you are using a group of pendants you could choose something slim so it isn’t too intrusive.  If you hang pendants higher be aware that the bulb and inside of the shade will become more visible.  Good practice suggests therefore choosing a long narrow design so the bulb cannot be seen as easily.

Northern.no dokka pendants, Scandinvian lighting,

Dokka Pendants

Or choose something with an interesting finish on the inside of the shade.  Decorative pendants can be hung higher but play around with the height so it looks visually pleasing and not too close to the ceiling. This Mater light below also has perforated holes in the top, so shines rays of light upwards for interest as well as downwards, where it will reflect of the hammered silver interior and add interest,

Mater metal shade pendant black, dansh lighting, Scandinavian lighting, dome shade, reflective lighting

Mater Shade Light Pendant Black

How many pendants?  This depends on taste as well as function.  You can have a single statement pendant, a row of matching pendants, a mismatched cluster or individual ones in multiple spaces within a room, there are many options.  Be careful not to overwhelm a room and bear in mind you will most likely be adding lamps into your scheme to perform different functions.  A dramatic statement with multiple subtle additions is often the best way to go.  Try to keep some continuity by choosing match metal finishes or some other detail across all your lighting.


Mater pendnat lights Terho, Liuku danish lights

Different shapes and sizes coordinated by material

A pendant such as the Socket pendant below can be used in so many different ways, so think outside the box….. the relaxed and easy hung bedside light fitting is great if you do not want to get the electrician in, like a contemporary feel or live in a rental house.

Ferm Living Socket brass pendants

Socket brass pendant as a  minimal & simple beside light hung from a hook or as a sculptural statement piece


Danish pendant lighting, how to use pendant lights, Scandonavian lighting, h top tips on pendants

Bedside hung pendant, not the normal place, but saves space and keeps a simple minimal feel


Norther.no bell pendant Scandinavian lighting, how to use pendant lights

Same Bell pendant, multi colours for interest & fun, choose colours from your scheme to link through with the lighting…..

If you room is very plain, maybe the lights and their colours will be the interest and focal point, you can use a few colours to thread through the scheme of your room as the design of the light brings the harmony of them being clustered together. The different colours you choose, will then coordinate with other items of the same colour throughout your room giving it all a thread and a link which your eye will pick up throught the decor.

Ferm Living Collect lighting series, Scandinavian lighting, pendant lights, how to use pendant lights

Bespoke pendant lights by Ferm Living Collect Series allows you to create your own bespoke pendant


Top Tips:

Pale or translucent shades will emit a soft ambient glow, while dark shades will channel the light down for a completely different look.

Andtradition Blown Pendant opal glass, Scandinavian pendant lights, how to use pendant lighting,

Translucent mouth blown glass glass pendant

Don’t forget to play around with different bulbs to find the perfect quality of light for your look.

Install multiple light circuits for versatility.

Install a dimmer switch on all circuits to control the mood.

At the point of renovating a room is the perfect time to install multiple circuits.  In practical terms though, for most people this is a bit daunting and for a quick fix this is too big a project.  Consider some more laid back, contemporary solutions, such as exposed cables and a hook to reposition a ceiling light.

Or if you don’t like the effect of a ceiling light as your ambient lighting, change that for a purely decorative feature and use a mixture of table and floor lamps around the room to create your ambient, accent and task lighting.  Read more about this in the next part of our “how to” series.

Light years Suspense matt black pendant lgiht Danish lights, how to use pendant lights,

Mood lighting, a decorative part of the scheme, but not the main source of light


At Cloudberry Living we have an exciting and contemporary range of lamps and pendants to enhance your room design. Take a look at our curated pieces on the carousel below or for more inspiration, browse or shop our lighting selection here> https://www.cloudberryliving.co.uk/scandinavian-lighting

We’re full of bright ideas!  Sorry, we couldn’t resist that one! Please do contact us for any more advice and we’ll be more than happy to help.