There’s a new kind of light fixture elbowing its way into territory once dominated by the chandelier. You may have already spotted it, spreading out above dining tables and cascading down stairwells: the multi-light pendant.

Rather than dangling a single cluster of crystal or a circular armature of bulbs, these fixtures suspend light over a large area, with an arrangement that can be customized and sometimes resembles an art installation.

“It’s a nice way to replace the traditional chandelier, and gives the space a different point of view,” said Jessica Wilpon Kamel, a partner at the New York-based design firm Ronen Lev.

Ms. Kamel frequently uses multi-light pendants in her projects. But it’s not always easy. As she cautioned, “There is an art to it.”

Specifically, she said, “The challenge is always balancing the size of the light fixtures with the scale of the room.” Also, you have to choose the right number of pendants and hang them at appropriate heights.

In general, the larger a room is — and the higher the ceiling — the more pendants it can accommodate, and the bigger they can be.

“You don’t want it to look oddly small, or overpowering,” she said. “You want to attain a harmonious balance.”


  • Will multi-light pendants work above any dining table? “They work well with an oval or long rectangular table,” Ms. Kamel said. “They don’t always work so well with a circular table.”

  • How far above the table should the pendants be suspended? “You never want the pendants so low that it will block views,” she said, adding that it’s also important to sit at the table when you’re hanging them, to ensure no one will be blinded by direct light.

  • Do all the pendants need to be wired to a single ceiling canopy? Not if an electrician can install ceiling boxes where you need them. “You can do single pendants, spaced out,” Ms. Kamel said. “It has the same effect as multiple pendants from a single canopy.”


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Credit…Piero Fasanotto

Aluminum and polycarbonate pedants with adjustable height and tilt by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

From $895 at Flos: 888-952-9541 or usa.flos.com

Etched-glass pendants with woven-brass cords

From $2,640 a pendant at Apparatus: 646-527-9732 or apparatusstudio.com


Steel-and-copper pendants with adjustable cords by Studio Anansi

$249 at CB2: 800-606-6252 or cb2.com

Blown-glass and copper-mesh pendants by Omer Arbel

From $550 a pendant at Bocci: 604-639-5195 or bocci.com


Pendants with metal-plate connectors in various configurations

From $1,425 at Lambert & Fils: 514-394-0762 or lambertetfils.com


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