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Chandelier vs Pendant - The Difference
Choosing a Chandelier or Pendant


Nothing adds instant elegance to a room like a beautiful chandelier.  As a source of light, it automatically attracts the eye; as art, it attracts the mind.  Scintillating, sparkling, dynamic or still, it sets the tone for the whole room.

This is especially important when you have purchased a new home.  You can settle for what you’ve been given, or you can create something all your own; something that speaks to your personality and style.  Nothing makes those elements clearer to your guests than lighting which says "This is my space—I did this."

You are unique – just like everybody else

That old joke leads us to differentiate ourselves.  We wear different clothes than our friends or co-workers; we buy different cars, or diverge completely and only ride bicycles.  Much as we humans want to be part of a group, we also long to stand out from the group and be noticed.

For some, our homes are quietly separate from our daily lives; a peaceful retreat where we can let our guard down and relax.  For others, it can be the focal point of much social interaction.  No matter whether we do it for ourselves and our comfort, or as a declaration of individuality, we decorate our homes.  We can wallpaper, paint, and put up wainscoting to our heart’s content, but it is all useless without good lighting.

In the olden days of gas lighting and early electric bulbs, people probably never knew the true color of anything when they were indoors.  Only natural, outdoor light could reveal true colors.  That is no longer true since we now have wide-spectrum halogens, Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL), more sophisticated incandescent bulbs than ever before, and even Light Emitting Diodes (LED).  LED light fixtures last for tens of thousands of hours without bulb replacement.  We’re no longer in the dark about light!

Making a statement

You’re looking for a new ceiling fixture, but there’s no reason to settle for the flush-mount dome light that all the house builders seem to think is de rigueur for the modern home.  Given a choice, what would you choose for dining room lights?  A chandelier, of course!

How about your bathroom lights?  Getting rid of dreary old bathroom light fixtures and replacing them with a pair of small, twin chandeliers would be just the thing to give it an air of distinction.  Likewise, a chandelier in the foyer to greet your guests would certainly establish the mood.

While chandeliers and pendants don’t ordinarily lend themselves to use as outdoor lights, they can still add an element of class to your covered deck.  You could have the most elegant barbecue people had ever been privileged to visit.  Many can be had in combination with a ceiling fan for increased comfort.

Choosing a Chandelier or Pendant

What is a chandelier?

Chandeliers are distinct in that they use a multiply-branched support system.  They possess one or more lights per branch, often reminiscent of a growing thing such as a tree, or a plant.  They are most often made from wrought iron, brass, steel, and bronze, and sometimes supplemented with crystal or glass. Crystal chandeliers are both eye-catching and enchanting, giving the room a romantic feel.

Chandeliers are generally quite ornate, complex, and formal.  They tend to be more expensive than a pendant type light.

What is a pendant?

Pendants are single lights, each suspended on their own rod, wire, or chain.  You can have single pendants that are quite small to add dynamic lighting to a tiny area, such as an art piece. Large pendants can provide copious light to large areas.  Multiple light pendants can be extremely striking in just the right place.  They are made from a variety of materials, based on the artist’s needs, including blown glass, brushed steel, nickel, and stained glass, nickel, and stained glass.

Kitchen lights & Island lights

Pendant lights are often favored in the kitchen because of the inevitable airborne particulates.  They’re very easy to keep clean.  Crystal chandeliers, on the other hand, would dull quickly and require constant cleaning in such an environment.

Island lights, as you can imagine, are quite suitable above a kitchen island, but they also have their place in a recreation room above a snooker, pool, or billiard table.  They should be placed 30-36” above the surface.

Drum Chandeliers and Drum Pendants

These designs are similar but have shades to obscure a direct view of the lights.  They are more subtle, cozy, and intimate.  You might recognize this style from your favorite French restaurant, or Italian bistro. 

Sconces are available in mirror-bright chrome, to maximize their lighting effect, or an antique, brushed, burnished, oil rubbed, polished, satin, stainless, or weathered styles to suit your décor.  And they can be powered by traditional incandescent, CFLs, or even LED lights.

Properly integrated, your choice of lighting speaks volumes about your taste and style.  Whether you choose the classic design, dripping with cascades of expensive crystal, scattering rainbows in every direction, or a post-modern creation of square tubular aluminum, LED-lit, complete with acrylic shades, suited, perhaps, to a sparely decorated gallery, you’ll be recognized as someone bold who isn’t afraid to make a statement.

It’s time for you to show people your inner self; to invite them to meet the artist inside...  It’s time for you to step into the light!

To see our wide variety of Chandeliers and Pendants, check out our website GoingLighting.

To learn how to determine the correct size and placement of a chandelier check out our blog post How to Size a Chandelier.