Can pendant lights be used in a bathroom? And more FAQs about pendant lights

Need some expert lighting advice about pendants? Pooky answers some of the most common questions...

With such a wide variety of shapes, styles and materials available, pendant lights and chandeliers are brilliant for lighting all sorts of spaces within the home, from hallways and kitchens to dining rooms and bedrooms. But can you fit pendant lights in a bathroom? And how can you use pendants to layer lighting and set the right mood? We answer some of our most frequently asked questions about pendant lights...

Can pendant lights be used in a bathroom?

It’s fine to use standard light fittings in some areas of the bathroom, but there are safety regulations covering the installation of electric light fittings in certain designated ‘zones’. So the short answer is yes, pendant lights can be used in a bathroom as long as they’re not too close to water sources. Any lighting positioned close to a water source such the shower, bath or sink needs to use ‘ingress protection’ or IP rated fittings. In nearly all cases this will be a wall light rather than a pendant, and for most purposes a rating of IP44 is sufficient - but you can find out more about IP rated fittings and designated zones in our bathroom lighting safety and style guide. If, as in most cases, you’re fitting your pendant lights outside the designated zones, it’s fine to use non-IP rated fittings so you can choose any pendant you like. Brass pendant lights are a good choice for adding warmth to a bathroom setting, while glass pendant lights bring a sense of elegance.

Dahlia pendant

How can you use pendants to layer lighting?

Using a range of light sources can help to create atmosphere in a room. This is known as ‘layering’ your lighting. Pendant lights are a very versatile form of lighting, and can be used as part of your lighting design to create a variety of different moods and effects. There are three main types of lighting: ambient lighting, which refers to the overall level of light in a room (including the main light); task lighting, which is more targeted lighting for practical tasks such as reading or working; and accent lighting, which highlights particular areas or features within a room. Pendant lights work well as a main central light fixture, for providing general ambient lighting in a room. As well as being an excellent source of downward light, many pendant lights are also designed to reflect some light up towards the ceiling, helping to illuminate a wider area. Pendants are also great for supplying effective task lighting in a particular area, such as above a kitchen sink or island, above a table, or by the side of the bed for reading. Meanwhile, pendant lights can also be used as low-level accent lighting to help create atmosphere in a room. Try using a set of matching pendant lights in place of wall lights in the living room or bedroom, to create a relaxed vibe. Read more in our guide to layering light in the home here.

How can you use pendants in a kitchen?

Pendant lights make a fantastic feature in the kitchen. As well as providing good ambient lighting, they’re handy for providing focused task lighting over a sink or kitchen counter, to help with those practical tasks such as washing up or chopping vegetables. Pendants can also make a striking design statement when suspended over a kitchen island or dining table. When using pendants over an island, it’s best to use odd numbers: hanging three pendant lights in a row gives a balanced look, provides plenty of task lighting and acts as a great focal point. When hanging pendant lights over an island, it’s important to take into account the size and scale of the space, as well as the diameter of the island - and your own height! As a general rule, you should aim to hang your pendant lights so that they sit at least two feet apart for an even effect. Most pendant light fixtures can be adjusted to the desired height if necessary - speak to your electrician for further advice. Meanwhile, if you have a dining table in your kitchen, hanging a single pendant light or a row of pendant lights over the table can also be a stylish way of delineating the dining area from the rest of the kitchen. We have a range of super stylish pendant lights which are perfect for the kitchen, from the slick solid brass Dexter to the elegant clear glass Espere. For more kitchen lighting inspiration, see our guide to pendant lights and islands.

What's the best kind of pendant light to use in a dining room?

The dining table is the focal point of a dining room, so you should base your lighting design around this point. Using a single pendant light as the central lighting feature in the dining room can really help to add a sense of elegance and intimacy - and if you want to make a dramatic style statement, we think there’s nothing that beats a striking chandelier suspended over the centre of the table. For example, the multicoloured Orb chandelier is a real show-stopper which will give an instant ‘wow’ factor - and the glass roundels can even be customised with your choice of colours. Chandeliers are like works of art in their own right, from traditional crystal style affairs to minimalist contemporary designs using brass, metal or coloured glass. And you may be pleasantly surprised by how affordable they are. Browse Pooky’s range of chandeliers here.

For more dining room lighting inspiration, see our tips for lighting a dining room.

Where should you hang pendant lights in a bedroom?

The main source of ambient light in a bedroom normally comes from the ceiling light. Hanging a stylish pendant light or a statement chandelier over the bed can provide a beautiful decorative focal point. You should look to position the light around 8-12 inches from the ceiling for maximum effect. Pendant lights can also provide excellent task lighting in a bedroom - in place of a bedside lamp, or above a dressing table, for example. Meanwhile, introducing some dimmable pendant lights as accent lighting in corners of the room will help to create a relaxed ambience and offer a lower-level alternative to the main light.

Percy pedant. Image @tessuto_interiors

At Pooky we make affordable designer lighting for beautiful homes. Browse our full range of pendant lights here.