So, you’re redesigning your interior spaces and the subject of lighting comes up. You want to go with a more contemporary look, and are intrigued by the idea of pendant lighting. But which lighting solution is best for you – pendants or mini pendants?
That’s a good question, and one with no simple answer. That’s because there’s no real standards regarding what is and what isn’t a mini pendant. All pendant lights are designed to shine light on a specific area. Think of them as spotlights in a theater. They can be used as your primary lighting for a room or they can be used as supplemental lighting to create drama, add more light to a specific area, such as a kitchen counter top, or create focal points in the room, such as adding pendants over a buffet in the dining room or over your desk in your home office.
If there is a general rule of thumb about what constitutes mini pendant lights, it’s that they are usually less than 12″ in size. Three to four mini pendant lights cast about as much light as two regular pendants that have two bulbs each. The beauty of minis, however, is that you can use more of them over a greater area, creating innovative lighting solutions for a room that really make it stand out. If you want to conserve energy, there is a wide selection of low voltage mini pendant lights to choose from.
When shopping for and selecting mini pendant lights, you want to consider a couple things. First, you want to consider how the light is cast downward as well as in other directions. In some cases, you may need to have additional lighting in the room, such as recessed cans or a central chandelier. If your lights don’t have a lens, you may find that glare is a problem, particularly with mini pendant lights that use higher intensity bulbs.
Speaking of bulbs, mini pendants are available with incandescent, halogen and energy saving compact fluorescent lights. Using a dimmer can help you get the most out of whichever bulb you choose.
Installing dimmers is easy and you can do it yourself without having to call in an electrician if you’re simply replacing an existing light. You want to start by shutting off the power to the room on the circuit box. Ideally, you want to use a circuit tester to make sure the power is off to the light before touching the wiring. Assuming the power is off, start by removing the old fixture. If you’re replacing a ceiling fan with a pendant, remove the blades first. It makes the process much easier.
Remove the plastic wire nuts from the wires, disconnect the wires, then remove the mounting bracket. Replace the bracket with the new bracket that came with the light. Once the bracket is installed, it’s time to connect the wires. Follow the diagram that came with the light. In most cases, white goes to white, black to black and ground to ground, but every house, especially older ones, can be a bit different. The ground wire connects to the ground screw on the bracket. Before you slide the new mini pendant lights onto the mounting bracket, add new wire caps to the connections.
That’s really all there is to it. If you are adding new junction boxes where none existed before and haven’t done that before, you may want to call in a trusted friend or a professional electrician to help you as you’ll need to figure out the wiring in your home and how to run the wires to the location of the new fixture.