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No space is finished until it’s been outfitted with lighting, and as far as fixtures go, pendant lights are some of the most versatile around. Pendant lights can brighten up your kitchen, illuminate your nightstand, and add ambiance to your bedroom. If you need to hang one somewhere else, rest assured knowing there’s probably a pendant light up to the task.
When shopping for pendant lights, you’ll want to consider a few things, like size and setup. Pendant lights come in a range of sizes and lengths, so double-checking your measurements can help you avoid a headache later. You’ll also want to pay attention to how the pendant light is set up (can it plug into the wall, or does it need to be hardwired?) And if the pendant light is going in a wet location—like a bathroom or covered porch—you’ll want to make sure it’s water-friendly.
Of course, pendant lights aren’t merely practical. There are tons of stylish options that will add form and function to your home in equal measure.
Interested in scoring one of your own? We’ve rounded up some great pendant lights worth considering as you outfit your space.
Best Overall : West Elm Build Your Own Sculptural Glass Pendant
Ever wished you could customize your own pendant light from scratch? West Elm’s Build Your Own Sculptural Glass Pendant makes it easy to do so. Start by choosing your hardware style, and then customize your shade. From there, you can even adjust the length of your pendant light—and choose whether you want a hardwired or plug-in option.
All this variety may seem a little overwhelming, but if you’ve been struggling to find a pendant light that perfectly suits your space, it’s a gift. Ssince all those options cost different amounts, you can mix and match until you’ve got a light that suits your budget, as well as your aesthetic.
Best Budget: Tomshine Metal Pendants Light
Amazon’s Tomshine Metal Pendants Light is a budget-friendly pendant light set that looks more expensive than it is. The set ships with two metal dome lights, each of which boasts a matte black exterior and a striking gold interior. The lights are crafted from metal, so they feel durable and look industrial. And their two-toned palette lends them a kind of versatile warmth.
Hang them over your kitchen island, your dining room table—or even over your bathtub. Since they’re so simple, they should play well with a variety of decor schemes, and they’re sure to look particularly great when paired with other black accents.
Best for Kitchen: Globe Electric Nate 4-Light Oil Rubbed Bronze Pendant
Home Depot’s Globe Electric Nate Pendant replaces the need to stock up on several different pendant lights. With just one fixture, you can illuminate your entire kitchen island or dining room table. The pendant light descends from the ceiling and then branches out into four smaller lamps—which are displayed in a row. This mimics the look and feel of a row of pendant lights, but lets you skip out on the process of installing more than one fixture.
At 44 inches wide, this light will demand a fair amount of space in your kitchen. But since it’s designed to replace four different pendant lights—rather than just one—it ends up being a pretty space-efficient pick.
Best for Bathroom: AllModern Alex 1 - Light Single Globe Pendant
AllModern’s Alex 1 - Light Single Globe Pendant is a classic globe light that would look good anywhere in your home, although its sleek profile makes it a particularly great pick for your bathroom. The light is crafted from metal, and it’s “damp location rated"—while that may sound complicated, it really just means the light can have some contact with water, meaning it’s suitable for use in bathrooms and on covered porches.
Since the light’s globe is relatively opaque, it should disperse ambient light throughout your space. And you can dim it any time you want to make it darker. Hang two in your bathroom to frame your vanity, or simply hang one in the corner of your space. With a light this versatile, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
Best for Bedroom: AllModern Corey 1 - Light Single Bulb Pendant
Many of us place table lamps on our nightstands. But hanging a pendant light above your nightstand can accomplish a similar look and feel. And since it’s a less obvious way to illuminate your bedroom, it makes for a pretty bold design choice. AllModern’s Corey 1 - Light Single Bulb Pendant is vibrant enough to bring into your bedroom but low-profile enough to stay out of your way. The sleek light is crafted from brass, and even better: it comes with a built-in LED light you can dim to customize the ambiance in your space.
Best Plug-In: Anthropologie Eloise Pendant
Plug-in pendant lights can be a solidly practical choice. But Anthropologie’s Eloise Pendant proves they can be an incredibly pretty one, too. The pendant’s base is crafted from plated metal, which is coated with an oiled bronze finish that leaves the lamp looking antique. Take a closer look at this metal, and you’ll notice that ornate leaves have been carved into it—only furthering its vintage appeal. The lamp’s shade is crafted from cloudy milk glass—an opaque material that promises to spread light throughout your space. This cloudiness makes the lamp a great pick for rooms where you crave diffused, ambient light, like in a bedroom or living room.
Best Farmhouse: Pottery Barn Farmhouse Glass Pole Pendant
Pottery Barn’s Farmhouse Glass Pole Pendant offers a minimal take on the classic dome light, making it a versatile yet farmhouse-friendly pick. The light's shade is made of clear glass—a material that'll increase the amount of light in your space. Though the design can complement other design styles as well, the lamp's bronze, nickel, and brass hardware options leave it with a more warm, rustic feel.
Best Industrial: Sea Gull Lighting Dormer 1-Light Pendant
Industrial pendant lights aren’t hard to find. But Home Depot’s Sea Gull Lighting Dormer Pendant makes a particularly eye-catching option, thanks to its striking silhouette. The lamp’s shade is made up of two parts: a steel ellipse that matches the lamp’s base and a metal shade that fans out. This shade is relatively short, so it exposes the bulb underneath it—adding yet another geometric element into the mix. The fixture is crafted entirely from steel, and it’s available in three sleek finishes: solid brass, solid silver, or black and brass. All three of those options could add some industrial flair to your home, but the black and brass option looks particularly sleek.
Best Modern: Tomons Pendant Light
The lamp’s shade is crafted from sleek black metal, and its interior is a warm metallic gold. At the top of the shade—where it meets the lamp’s base—you’ll find a textured wood grain lacquer. This striking touch adds warmth to the lamp, making it feel more dynamic—and also more versatile. This pop of wood grain lacquer keeps the lamp from skewing too industrial, making it an easy addition to a variety of different spaces.
Best Rattan: Highland Dunes Medrano 1 - Light Single Bell Pendant
Rattan pendant lights can be a great way to add some texture to your space. And since Wayfair’s Highland Dunes Medrano Pendant comes in a light beige finish, you don't have to worry about it looking too bohemian in your space. The lamp is crafted from woven rattan, and its long dome shade promises to provide a blend of targeted and ambient light. This design makes the light a great pick for a variety of different rooms, and its gentle palette makes it an even more versatile option. Pair the piece with vibrant prints to make it feel a little more bohemian, or use it to add a welcome dose of texture to an otherwise minimalist space.
Our best overall pick is the West Elm Build Your Own Sculptural Glass Pendant (view at West Elm) for its customizing abilities. Since you can pick your hardware style, shade, size, and even the power source, you're sure to create a pendant light that's perfect for your space. Of course, if you need a more budget-friendly option, you can't go wrong with the Tomshine Metal Pendants Light (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Pendant Light
Pendant lights come in an array of sizes and lengths. To ensure the pendant light you’re eyeing will fit in your space, be sure to double-check its shade size and its length before buying. And remember that some pendant light cords are adjustable, so you may be looking at a length range rather than one specific length.
There are all kinds of pendant lights out there, and they come in different shapes, materials, and styles. All that variety may sound overwhelming, but it’s actually great news: it means you can reliably find a pendant light that’ll suit your space.
Plug-In vs. Hardwired
Some pendant lights can plug into a nearby outlet, but many others need to be hardwired. If you’re looking for a lower-maintenance (or more temporary) option, you may want to choose a plug-in pendant light. If you don’t mind the possibility of a more involved install, either option should do.
If you’re planning to install a pendant light in your bathroom, on a covered porch, or in some other potentially wet spot, be sure to check whether it’s “damp location rated.” If it is, you should be able to store it in a damp location without issue. If it isn’t, you’ll probably want to pick a different light.
How do you install a pendant light?
Typically, it’s a good idea to have an expert install your lighting for you. But if you want to install a pendant light yourself, there are a few steps you can take. Start by making sure the power to your light is turned off. Then, connect the wires in your ceiling with the wires in your pendant light. (Often, these wires will be color-coded, and you’ll want to connect wires that match.) Then, mount the fixture into your ceiling. Once you’ve done all of this, you may want to consult your specific pendant light’s installation instructions—just in case there are additional steps you need to take to finish the job.
How low should pendant lights hang?
Typically, you’ll want to leave 30–36 inches of clearance between your pendant light and the surface beneath it. So you’ll want it to be 30–36 inches above your kitchen island, your dining room table, your nightstand, etc.
How many pendant lights are right for an island?
The number of pendant lights you should hang over a kitchen island will vary, based on how big your kitchen island is. One rule of thumb is to leave 24 inches of clearance between pendant lights. So you might consider starting with two, and adding more if you can do so while maintaining this clearance.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Lindsey Lanquist, a seasoned lifestyle writer who has contributed to The Spruce since 2019. She's covered a variety of home decor topics and understands what a difference a great product recommendation can make—that’s why she makes sure to recommend products that are sleek, reliable, and well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them. To make this list, she considered each pick's size, style, plug type, and water-friendliness.