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A High-Impact & Actually “Doable” Lighting Trend We’re Seeing Everywhere

photo source | design by ashe leandro

What’s “trending” is a regular topic around EHD headquarters. Well, less “trend” and more “we’re seeing this and we’re loving (??) this.” Today, we’ve got something for you that’s not necessarily “new” but its constant presence is something we’ve absolutely taken notice of: Pendants. And yes, again, not a novel design concept, however what is new is their sneaky, almost total world domination. When Arlyn first told me she wanted me to talk on this topic (after buy-in/validation from Emily as well as the design team), I was hesitant because I wasn’t convinced this was a trend…at first. But she was right (of course) because ummm, where are the chandeliers all of a sudden?? Obviously, they aren’t gone from the design scene and there are still beautiful ones coming onto the market constantly but man oh man are pendants currently getting top billing in terms of ceiling fixtures. We used to see them mostly atop kitchen islands, maybe down a hallway, but right now, they are the new chandelier, being used over tables, in foyers and bedrooms.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 3
photo source | design by jack ceglic and manuel fernandez-casteleiro

So now that they have perched proudly onto the Iron Throne (just trying to prove my social relevancy despite never actually seeing a GOT episode), we’re breaking down the types of pendants that have grabbed our attention: May we present the dramatic mini pendant, the VERY oversized pendant and the cool multi pendant. Yes, all three of these beauties have taken over our Instagrams, Pinterest pages and general lighting brain space. With these three types being quite opposites in many ways, it’s a trend for the masses or more so, a pendant for everyone. Are you curious to see which one you are??

The Baby Pendant

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 4
photo source | design by viktor korchinskyi

Ok, “baby pendant” might not be the actual term for this style (mini pendant feels more appropriate) but these very minimal, very delicate pendants are very “in” right now. They definitely have a Scandinavian feel to them but as I will show you in a mere second, have recently come out of their little shell and flawlessly transition into almost every kind of style.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 14
photo source | design by olivia thebaut

What I love most about this style is its quiet drama. They are small (as you can see) but demand attention (also as you can see). You can’t help but to love their elegant yet unassuming charm. So often, we feel like we have to fill a space with dramatic moments, but sometimes what’s most dramatic is unexpected subtlety.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 21
photo source

Their long cords are what really kick up the dope factor. In case you were curious, dope is the EHD term we use when something is extremely cool and or special. So yes, those long cords make these mini munchkins very dope. They simply wouldn’t have the same effect if the base of the fixture was close to the ceiling. This obviously requires you to have semi-tall ceilings because the last thing you want is to hit your head or try to look at your loved ones across your dinner table but instead be blinded by a light bulb.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 20
photo source | design by tribe studio

As I originally stated, their ability to translate to any style is clear and is the actual best part of this trend. It’s not just for the super modern or super minimal. It can go traditional, coastal, mid-century modern, you name it. Plus this type of fixture lends to being both plug-in and hard wired. A real trend for all (renters, homeowners) if I do say so myself. 🙂

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 1
photo source | design by jack ceglic and manuel fernandez-casteleiro

This clear step up from the run of the mill pendant has another sibling it would like you to really take note of…

The BIG Pendant

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 15
photo source | design by clare kennedy interiors

When I say big I mean BIG. When something in design is oversized and done right (not just lighting), it’s undeniably cool or dope. 🙂 Really oversized pendants are amazing and are currently very much in the design zeitgeist.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 12
photo source | design by weil friedman architects and cece barfield

Now I LOVE my Noguchi Akari Pendant in my living room. But she (and her copycats) have been kind of the oversized pendant for some time now. And while I get it, because she is awesome, I am very happy to see some more diverse newcomers on the scene. It’s about time.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 11
photo source | design by loft kolasinski

One of the reasons why chandeliers are so great is because they are able to cover a lot of square footage (in the air) and are visually very powerful. But now that pendants have bulked up and can carry the same if not more visual weight, people are excited about this new transition. So am I. 🙂

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 8
photo source | design by hanna nova beatrice and annaleena leino

I mean if you are looking for some real design drama, almost nothing does it bigger and better than a huge pendant. This giant black cone from Wasterberg has my eyes and heart lit up like an oversized Christmas tree.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 10
photo source | design by robert young architects

Now that oversized pendants are here for the long haul (I hope), what’s also happening??

The Multi Pendant

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 22
photo source | design by olga engel

Yep. We went from the most streamlined kind of pendants to the most extra. But I gotta say we are kind of into this multi pendant look, too. NOTE: When we say multiple, we are talking at least four pendants. This is the major leagues.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 17
photo source | design by julie greenhouse

So funny story. Arlyn and I were having a discussion about trends a few weeks ago and talking about what we had been seeing lately. Then nearly at the same time both of us showed two different pictures from our Instagram saved photos with the same multi-pendant fixture! We laughed as we both felt very validated. But there is a twist to this trend. Well, actually it goes for most trends. This particular lamp (shown above and below) is not new. It’s actually a few years old. But that’s very normal because while the internet makes things feel fast, it still takes a while for high-end trends to trickle down…which is why both Arlyn and I both individually saw these photos just now in various awesome spaces.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 23
photo source | design by chris and arabella wilson

While it’s not for everyone’s home (in style and price) this fixture is pretty spectacular and had us noticing some other pretty great contenders…

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 18
photo source | design by briony delves

This deflated woven bag look is kinda great and looks like it could be a very doable DIY if you were feeling crafty. It’s just such a textural, high impact fixture.

Emily Henderson Pendant Trend Inspo Pic 5
photo source | design by ferm living

This multi-pendant look lends very seamlessly to the more earthy, boho style as pictured in the previous photos above but I also reeeally love it in a modern aesthetic. It brings in so much dimension while still letting the space be minimal.

Now, I didn’t want to leave you in the lurch and only show you beautiful photos and no way to get these looks into your home. So here are a few of our favorites:

Emily Henderson Design Trends Pendant Lights

1. Swag Pendant | 2. Sully 42″ Pendant | 3. Hector Medium Pleat Pendant Light | 4. Headlands Bell Pendant | 5. FOLK Abigail Angular Cylinder Pendant | 6. PET Lamp Chile | 7. Macadam Pendant | 8. Jenkins Cone Pendant | 9. Calyx | 10. Daigneault Pendant | 11. Metal Dome Pendant Lamp | 12. Monike Pendant | 13. Love One Another Pendant Light | 14. Lesley Pendant | 15. W151S1 Extra Large Tall Pendant | 16. Composers Pendant | 17. Equator White Oversized Pendant Light | 18. Aim Small Multipoint LED Pendant

This trend is clearly more versatile than say sea shells but are you on board? Just so you know our love for lighting is vast and diverse. We still love chandeliers but boy are we in love with all these trends. Do you have a favorite style? Have you already jumped in on one of these trends? Let us know in the comments how you FEEL.

Love you, mean it.

For more lighting, head to our Shop page for hundreds of other options. 

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3 years ago

Honestly, I get very annoyed when a lighting fixture is the star of a shot and it’s but even on. I understand the logistics behind it, but to me, ask the mini pendants look great as art buti can’t imagine them bring any use on. Bare bulb glare and nowhere to hide? Next.
Now if the light was on in the photo, then an argument could be made. But as it is, glary until proven practical.

3 years ago
Reply to  Ren

I’m the same opinion. Those mini /bare bulb pendant are not practical : either too bright, but if you lower the watts to lower the glare : not useful.

They fit nearly any style because they have none. However, I’m all for « real » pendants! 😉

3 years ago

while these posts are fun i’m not really getting anything out of them as someone who’s trying to learn more about designing my own home! Would love to see more practical usages (like in normal homes…) of these cool light trends! All of these homes are definitely #inspo but obviously extremely high end and not really doable for the average person. 🙁

3 years ago
Reply to  vr

I disagree. I think the idea of using a pendant (probably also less expensive than a chandelier) over a dining table is quite doable for the average person. That’s all this is really saying.

3 years ago
Reply to  vr

+1 — 11 foot ceilings & empty rooms.

3 years ago
Reply to  vr

I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Replacing a light fixture is an inexpensive upgrade that anyone of ANY income bracket can do. There is a wide variety of pricing options. Don’t look at the house — look at the light fixture. I mean, I can find inspiration in a castle and in a tiny apartment. I don’t have to have the images cater to my particular home and budget.

Plus, I don’t get the point of complaining about FREE content on a FREE blog, especially when it’s as consistently good quality as it is here.

Nancy in WA
3 years ago
Reply to  vr

I also disagree! This is a very helpful post for me, and helps me have a more informed eye as I seek out thrifted options. I see a lot of value in being exposed to high-end homes; sooner or later what sensibility we aspire to will work itself out in our reality to some degree.

3 years ago

I love this look so much. I have had a huge rattan pendant light over my dining room table for years and it still makes me grin when I look at it. I love oversized lighting in general but man those mini pendants got my heart racing too.

3 years ago

Really like the pendants. Not as formal as chandeliers, much more fun and versatile. What I really don’t like are the exposed light bulbs that are everywhere these days. The glare makes me wince, the lighting is harsh and it pulls focus. I know you can get a bulb that is painted silver and hides the filament but what is the real point of that unless you just want the light directed up to an area or as fill light? Exposed frosted bulbs are also too harsh.

Also have to admit I still prefer incandescent bulbs too, warm, full light spectrum, bad for the environment, more expensive and hard to find then ever, incandescent bulbs. The guilt! Would so appreciate a post on bulbs. There are so many choices and most of them are so bad. And yes, I am way too sensitive to light but we all have our issues.

3 years ago
Reply to  j

Young House Love talks about light bulbs a fair bit and has this post that I’ve found helpful:

3 years ago
Reply to  Cecilia

Thank you. Very helpful.

3 years ago

I’ll give a quick pass to the mini pendants and a definite hard pass to the multi’s, but those large pendants are GORGEOUS! That massive brass one is *swoon*…

3 years ago

Being in decorative lights business it’s a great help to update ourself

Amy E Jones
3 years ago

Nope, not on board. I think most of these look ridiculous! Not a trend I’m going to try at home.

3 years ago
Reply to  Amy E Jones

agreed. I think that enormous brass pendant in a regular dining room (meaning not hyper styled and with high ceilings) will look silly and like a mistake. Same goes for the mini pendants-only work on a 11+ foot ceiling. Otherwise, what happened? why is this light so small? Are you saving money? The multi light pendant could be pulled off in any house with any ceiling height but also, proceed with caution.

3 years ago

I have a feeling that the gigantic brass pendant over the kitchen island look will be dated in five years. I’m just not feeling it at all. It almost already looks dated. But how about that built in banquette! So cozy. Inspiration for the MH maybe?

3 years ago

I’m with other commenters – these are nice to look at when off, but I cringe at the idea of an exposed bulb – even when you’re not directly looking at it, the bright filament leaves spots in your vision, especially for clear glass bulbs. It’s just not a pleasant experience. And most exposed bulbs these days are Edison style, which are so dim that they are pointless. I’m probably on the extreme end of the practical spectrum, though! Love the eclectic designs of the rooms and fixtures, though.

Janice Campbell
3 years ago

Giant group of dust collectors. Not for me

3 years ago

I hate the bare bulb idea…harsh, sterile, tough on the eyes; but love pendants with a shade that focuses light into a pool. It is very cosy and intimate over a dinner table in the evening. I am a big fan of Christopher Alexanders Pattern Language, and this modern idea of over-illuminating rooms with lights everywhere is unnatural (and wasteful!) . Humans evolved with candlelight.firelight.moonlight in the evening and all this artificial light at night is suppressing our night-time melatonin surge with unhealthy consequences. So, I say: bring on pendants with appropriate wattage bulbs for the task at hand!
this blog about pattern language is a great intro to the book.

3 years ago
Reply to  Mims

I, too, am a fan of Christopher Alexander’s work. A Pattern Language has had a huge impact on contemporary architecture. And his work in building small homes in poor countries is inspirational. Thanks for the info about the blog.

I agree with your points on light. One of my migraine triggers is too bright lights, so I avoid bright light like a vampire.

As a general comment – the multi-pendant light looks messy and like the designer could not decide which light to pick. Here’s hoping it’s a flash in the pan design wise.

3 years ago

Very timely post!! We have been going back and forth on a dining room light installation. I like the multiple pendants but we, sadly, only have 1 junction box. Some of the bigger pendants only take 1 bulb and usually a 60 watt which doesn’t seem like enough light if it’s going to be used as light and not just art. Any recommendations on figuring out how much light (as in wattage) a room needs? Thanks for all the recommendations. Many on the list we haven’t seen yet and we have been looking at light fixtures from MONTHS.

3 years ago
Reply to  Heidi

Check out Pablo Designs “Swell” light. It is a modular pendant system that runs off of one junction box. We have it for our dining room. Very nice.

3 years ago

A little bit off topic, but the L-shaped banquette in the mini-pendant section is screaming Emily’s mountain house! It would be perfect there. 🙂

3 years ago

I’m not sure many of us would be interested in a multiple light pendant especially if it required multiple electrical boxes to be installed in the ceiling. As for the other two options, if they often only accommodate 1 bulb and usually a max of 60 watt, that sure doesn’t provide much light. Maybe that’s why we like chandeliers with multiple bulbs we can dim if needed.

3 years ago

Ok the lights are amazing but can you speak to the incredible tables featured?

Paula Carr
3 years ago

The multi pendants look cool, but I wouldn’t want that many holes in my ceiling for what is, essentially, one light fixture. If you decide to change you furniture arrangement, that’s a potential pain in the you-know-what of patching and repairing.

Gotta say the pics that most caught my eye were the ones designed by Jack Ceglic and Manuel Fernandez-Casteleiro.

Monique Wright Interior Design
3 years ago

I LOVE pendants. I have an oversized drum pendant in my kitchen. (Looks almost identical to #8) They’re so versatile!

Allison Bell
3 years ago

The first favorite listed (the $8 target one) is battery operated and so not really what I would consider a fixture like the rest of the list. I realized this only after ordering a few of them.

3 years ago

Traditional gal, myself. I lived thru the horror of spaceship decor and murky green, orange and mustard colors growing up in a supposedly on trend home. Gawd, how uncomfortable Danish modern furniture is! Bare bulbs may be all the rage, but give me a lite fixture with the softness of a lampshade. Glare belongs to the sun… just sayin’, ya know?!

Erin Walker
3 years ago

These look interesting in the daytime, but wouldn’t these one-bulb light fixtures be completely useless when they are actually needed when it’s dark outside? I like my living space to be bright and inviting in the evening, so I know it would drive me crazy to have a light fixture that was purely art and no function, casting a gloomy dim glow when I want to turn some lights on in a dark room. Am I the only one who feels this way?
But as far as inspiration some of these lights are… interesting… although not something I would like to incorporate in my own home (either because they aren’t functional or because I don’t like the style). To be honest, few of these styles/pictures appeal to me but maybe some readers like them. In any case, thanks for the roundup. 🙂

3 years ago

I’m not even looking fir a replacement light fixture any more in my dining room but I LOVED this post. I settled for an 18” globe with a brass stem. It looks incredible and timeless in my 1919 Row House. Honestly, I must admit that I poured over thousands of lighting options and couldn’t be happier with this simple yet impactful choice.

3 years ago

My Herman Miller saucer pendant is one of the best piece in my house. (Got a really good deal over a year ago in a shop where I live). I agree with the pendant trend, but totally disagree with bare bulbs! Of course it can fit anywhere, but only in pictures, it hasn’t got a style and it’s not practical!

Susie Q.
3 years ago

Just spouting off my own opinion: I have never liked chandeliers. I like a big lantern–that would be choice. I like the tiny pendants, but I’m not sure if that is me. And re the multi pendants–I really dislike that look. To me it looks sloppy–the cords draped across the ceiling look terrible.

Roberta Davis
3 years ago

I love a pendant in the right place, used in an effective way. However, I see so many lights, pendants or otherwise, in design photos that I think must be absolutely terrible in real life. The most important thing about lighting is getting the right kind and amount of light to the place where you want it, NOT how a fixture looks in the room. Ideally, you will get a great combination of both. That’s why lighting is not easy to accomplish successfully. If I had to choose functionality or looks, when it comes to lighting, I’d definitely pick functionality every time. So to me, what type of fixture is trending is interesting but not that important. Use the right type of fixture to meet the need. I mean, I can’t think of anything more awful than one bare light bulb hanging in the middle of a room. And that’s what a lot of these are. The glare alone is going to be an awful experience to look at, and then there’s probably not enough light, and/or harsh shadows, if it’s the only source of light for a large area. Also, one pendant that is putting light straight down is… Read more »

3 years ago

I agree with many of the comments–love the look of the mini pendants, but the practicality is not there. The large pendants, on the other hand, love them.

3 years ago

The Multi Pendant
photo source | design by olga engel
I don’t agree:

– Constance

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