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Chandelier Lights Versus Pendant Lights: All You Need To Know

Chandelier Lights Versus Pendant Lights All You Need To Know

The luminous world of lighting only seems to be getting bigger and better!

But there are a few old-timey classics that have had our hearts for decades – chandelier lights and pendant lights. Budget and space constraints wouldn’t be a problem in an ideal world, but in the world we’re living – we need to make a choice.

So, what would you choose between chandelier lights and pendant lights?

One typically extrudes grace, and the other – well, the other does too!

One is found in funky colors, and the other – right again, it can be found in every color just as easily!

The choice seems hard, but at the end of the day, you need to choose a lighting element that fits your needs and wants.

Understanding The Terminologies

Chandeliers in a dining space

Source: Ciseern by Designer Furnishings

·        Chandelier Lights – A suspended lighting fixture with multiple light bulbs incorporated into a single fixture.

A chandelier is an easily identifiable lighting fixture; the grandeur and elegance of a chandelier is pretty hard to miss! Which might be the entire point of owning one at all. The lighting element is meant to stand out and it does a pretty good job of it by having several light bulbs incorporated into it – grabbing your attention right as you walk into a room.

·        Pendant Lights – A suspended lighting fixture with a single light bulb incorporated into a single fixture.

A pendant light is also easily identifiable, although the element hasn’t traditionally been used to showcase elegance. It can, however, be the epitome of elegance – or it could just as easily be the fixture that brings together a funky-looking room together.

How Are They Similar?

  •       Both chandeliers and pendant lights are suspended lighting fixture.

How Are They Different?

  •       Chandeliers have multiple light bulbs in the same fixture; pendant lights have singular bulbs in singular fixtures.

Different Lighting Elements And Different Lighting Solutions

Cool chandelier in dining space

Source: Letz Interior

There are, however, several pendant lights that incorporate multiple lightbulbs. For example, a bar light would have a singular, bar-like suspension, and then individual pendant lights hanging from it. By all means, that lighting element is a single lighting element with multiple bulbs – yet it’s still a pendant light.

If the definition doesn’t help much in separating the two, maybe this will help:

·        Chandeliers provide general illumination. They function primarily as ambient lights that can be used to light entire spaces. Their prime use is to make sure that you’re able to visualize every corner of a room.

·        Pendant lights provide task illumination. Their function is to provide a focused light onto a projected surface. Think of reading corners, workstations, and kitchen counters.

·        Pendant lights can alternatively also be used for both accent and ambient lighting. Accent lighting is mood lighting – the basic aim is to create a diffuse light that shines dimly, but just enough in a room.

What’s the takeaway here? Both chandeliers and pendant lights can function as ambient light sources, but pendant lights are chiefly used for task lighting and mood lighting.

Answering A Burning Question

Pendant lights on top of table

Source: MMJ Design

We just went over this, chandeliers are only used for general illumination, and pendant lights can do it all! The question then becomes: Why invest in a chandelier at all then? It’s a pretty valid question considering the fact that chandeliers are a lot more expensive and trickier to install than pendant lights. Why go through the trouble of having one when a pendant light can do just the same for a whole lot less?

Here are a few arguments for chandeliers:

·        Chandeliers are both functional and aesthetic lighting fixtures. They can provide illumination and be the focal point of a room.

·        By installing a dimmer, you’re effectively turning the ambient light source to accent lighting. Task lighting might be something you’d have to forgo with a chandelier because they’re typically over heading the center of any space they’re installed in.

·        The elegance extruded by a chandelier is unparalleled. There’s something about a lighting element that’s as timeless as a chandelier that’s unmatched by the modern-day pendant light.

Analyzing Costs

Candle holder inspired chandelier

Source: Mr. Shopper Studio

Pendant lights tend to be more cost-effective than chandeliers.

  •       Cheaper fixtures.
  •       Cheaper installation.

Chandeliers are typically bigger and bulkier which means that not only do the parts cost an arm and a leg, but installation would cost just as much. This isn’t to say that there aren’t expensive pendant lights out there. There are, but even the most expensive of pendant lights won’t compare to a mid-size chandelier.

·        Chandeliers – Buy one when you have the space to let them shine in, and the balance to match their cost.

·        Pendant Lights – Buy one when your room has ample ambient lighting and you need task lighting.

Pendant Lights Are Need-Based

Pendant lamp in a sitting space

Source: Vitas Design

To be fair: Chandeliers are also need-based. In fact, all lighting solutions besides the everyday light bulb are need-based. A light bulb is the core component of any lighting fixture – everything that surrounds it either adds to the illumination or adds to the appeal of the fixture.

There’s one important thing to remember before buying a pendant light: Does your space need task lighting?

For context, you wouldn’t want a pendant light overhanging your bed unless you read, write, and such on your bed. That is, you don’t need task lighting there – but you might need ambient lighting.

Pendant lights are versatile in their use, but they aren’t to be installed where they aren’t necessary!


There’s a case to be made for both chandeliers and pendant lights. The bottom line is that they’re both excellent lighting solutions that serve different functions in different ways. The only real similarity between them is the fact that they’re suspended from the ceiling!

Chandeliers are more expensive, but they’re worth the price. Pendant lights aren’t as traditional in their use, but who doesn’t love versatility and range? Consider your needs, your space, and your budget before you make a decision.

·        Ample space – ample budget – need a more traditional look: Chandeliers

·        Limited space – inflexible budget – the world is your oyster: Pendant lights

Visit Light Vault where you can browse through our catalog and make the choice a whole lot easier!