Pendant Lighting – What’s Trendy…Clustering and Layering

Lighting Tips for the Holidays

Photo of elegant San Diego staircaseWith the holidays coming up, you will want to create the perfect atmosphere for your friends and family to enjoy your home – a place where they will want to gather and feel comfortable. The best way to do this is to use inviting and ambient lighting. At Lighting Distinctions we can help you to furnish your house with the ideal settings for any holiday occasion.

One of the newer products is Light Charm holiday ornaments and crystals that magnetically attach to your light fixtures and create great decorative accents to other accessories. These are a quick and easy way to infuse seasonal charm into your home. The magnet easily clicks onto chandeliers or iron-based fixtures and can support one pound of weight, eliminating the possibility of damage from drilling or wires.

With the right type of chandelier, pendant or lamp you can create appealing and attractive lighting in each room in your home. You’ll want to create a flattering glow but still be able to see what you’re doing and enjoy conversations. One of our consultants can help you make the right decision.

Photo of dining area with warm tonesThe dining room is where you’ll congregate for festive meals so you want to make the table the brightest spot in the room and draw attention to the delicious spread. Chandeliers and pendants are perfect for this as they will draw the eye to the table. Be sure to limit the wattage to 100.

Indirect lighting is best in other parts of the room and creates a relaxing atmosphere with a subtle glow. Table lamps on a sideboard or sconces on the wall are recommended as are battery-powered votives placed in a glass-front cabinet.

After a hearty meal you’ll want to retire to the living room and unwind. In this room it is best to light three or four corners and focus a light on a particular focal point like a painting or chair. A combination of floor and table lamps can be used and you can mix downward and upward glows to get the lighting just right. You’ll also want to allow for reading in as many seats as you can and this can be done with down-glowing lamps on three-way switches. You can also put overhead fixtures on a dimmer to create a comfy atmosphere.

Photo of kitchen with spectacular lightingNaturally the kitchen will see much action during the holidays so focus on some overhead lighting that can be placed on a dimmer – that way you can increase the light while cooking and dim lighting when not in use to create a gentle glow. Lower sources like LEDs can be added to illuminate counter tops and pedants, table lamps and under cabinet lights are always ideal for the kitchen.

Guests will want to use your bathroom to freshen up and reapply make up. You’ll also want them to feel their best, so use sidelights like sconces around a mirror and overhead lights to fill in shadows and illuminate the room fully.

Guest room Interior Design IdeaIf you’re having guests stay over for the festive season, be sure to create a cozy bedroom atmosphere with reading lamps on either side of the bed and angle track fixtures away from the bed towards a dressing area. You could place a small lamp with a low wattage blub on a low table to mimic candlelight and create the perfect ambiance to the end of a festive day.
One of the most striking lighting trends at the moment is clustering pendant lights. Choose an odd number of pendants – three is a great starting point – and cluster them together at different heights to create drama. Choose either a family of pendants in different shapes, or the same pendant in different colors. This technique not only works well over a table, but can also be used to create a nook in the corner of a room, or cascade down a stairwell for a striking effect.

Using the multiple mini pendants to create a warm general light source and an inviting ambience is becoming the norm. More and more frequently they are replacing large island lights and chandeliers to create a sleek, modern look over bars or long tables.

Glass pendant lighting is a smart choice for interior lighting. Glass pendant lights provide function and style to not only home offices, bathrooms, and kitchens, but are becoming increasingly popular in commercial, restaurants and retail space; they are one of the most popular choices for decorative lighting today.

Glass pendants easily transcend many décor styles, are easy to clean and come in many shapes and sizes, including one-of-a-kind hand blown glass. Glass interior pendant lights can be used to offer a direct source of light to a particular task area or can be a decorative accessory to bring mood and color into a room. Some artistic styles of glass pendant lighting include stained glass pendant lights and art glass pendant lighting. For a rustic country style, a glass and rustic bronze pendant light or a pair of caged pendant lights will complete your look. Modern pendant lighting is a good choice for crisp and clean interiors. You can add a fresh look to your décor with a globe pendant light or clear glass mini pendant.

Now to the fun stuff! The decorative aspect of using pendants can be a prime opportunity to add fantastic notes of color and sparkle whether it’s blown or milky glass, shiny and matte metals, or fabric and paper. Pendants can define the space above a breakfast bar, take the place of reading lamps in a bedroom, extend into a foyer or stand in for sconces in a bathroom.

Pendants are often grouped in odd numbers — a single drum shade over a dining table, three slim lights over a kitchen island — for visual appeal. However, an even number is okay, as it’s more important to tailor the number to your space. If a kitchen peninsula has room for only two well-placed fixtures above it, that’s better than cramming in three just for the sake of design maxims.

Come see our revolutionary avant-garde pendant display and let it rejuvenate your passion for the multifaceted fixture known as the pendant!

October 2011

Light Bulbs Unlimited

Issue No. 23, Oct. 2011

Bulb Choices

Learn more about:
Get Ready for New Regulations
Learn Which Bulbs to Buy 
Get Answers to Your Questions

Bulb Basics
Beginning in 2012, new light bulb efficiency standards will affect which bulbs are available in stores. Here’s what you need to know.

Send us your design questions
For more great lighting ideas view our Lighting Videos
CHANGE A BULB: Which bulbs are being affected by new legislation? 

Contrary to what many people think, standard incandescent bulbs are not being banned, they are simply going to be more efficient. The bulbs most commonly used by consumers today will not meet the new requirements.

Over the next two years, the new requirements will affect 100-watt, 75-watt, 60-watt and 40-watt medium screw-base incandescent light bulbs. These bulbs will be replaced with more efficient halogen bulbs, which are a type of incandescent.

Timeline for implementing new standards for incandescent bulbs in the United States:

  • Jan. 1, 2012     100 Watt
  • Jan. 1, 2013     75 Watt
  • Jan. 1, 2014     60 Watt & 40 Watt

To read more about U.S. light bulb requirements, click here.
For information about Canadian light bulb standards,
click here.
Additional resources: and

For more information about all your light bulb options, contact an ALA-member showroom.


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Incandescent Bulb
Standard Incandescent Bulb

Halogen Bulb
Halogen Incandescent Bulb

TIPS ON TYPES: How will I know which light bulbs to buy? 

By January 2012, all new medium screw-base bulbs will have more comprehensive labeling to help consumers understand and compare each type of light bulb. Information on new bulb labels includes: lumens (brightness), estimated yearly cost, life expectancy, light appearance and energy used. For more detailed information, go to

New Bulb Labeling


Visit an ALA-member showroom for professional help selecting the right bulbs and fixtures for your home.


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LED Lighting Video
Click here to learn more about new lighting options.
Labeling on Bulb
New labeling requires that the lumen output be printed directly on each bulb.

EXPERT ADVICE: Still confused? Ask a lighting professional. 

Are CFLs safe to use, considering they contain mercury?
                                                                         – Ann W.

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) in the U.S. contain an average of 4 miligrams or less of mercury. For comparison, an old fashioned mercury thermometer contains 125 times more mercury than one CFL. For that matter, there is more mercury in one bite of albacore tuna than in one CFL. While there is no evidence that exposure to the mercury in a broken bulb presents a health risk, information for safely cleaning up when a CFL breaks is available from the EPA at

Do you have questions about new light bulb requirements or the best way to light your home?
Click here to submit your questions for an ALA-trained lighting professional.

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Compact Fluorescent Light

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