In Home Style Tips, My Key Pieces

How to decorate with a low pendant light in a living room

Why I chose a low pendant light instead of a TV

Do you remember this Friends episode? Joey is describing his TV acting job to a woman. But she doesn’t have a TV. Confused he reacts: “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?”

Now, you may laugh — but it’s true. Nowadays, everything seems to gravitate towards the TV in a living room. Electronics are popping up in every single room. All your gadgets can stream films and series as well. And this can kill the old art of conversation.

Learn how you can transform the focus (and even purpose) of a living room by adding a single piece. A low pendant light. And get it right the first time by avoiding the huge mistakes I made!

Don’t let the TV ruin your room

It’s not about getting rid of it. The key is to shift the focus of the room. Stop glorifying that 52-inch TV and start admiring everything else around you. This is essential if your space is open plan or multipurpose. You want to enjoy each zone of the room without that massive black rectangle staring at you. Yes, Poltergeist traumatised me a little.

Let’s be honest here. I have a TV in the main lounge. Occasionally, I watch documentaries/shows and the odd DVD in the Winter. Definitely not worth the TV licence, but that’s another story. Funnily enough, I don’t spend that much time in that room. There is another small living room. And I decided that no TV shall invade this territory.

So where does the furniture face to then? Well, each other! Sometimes you need a space where you can relax and enjoy the view through the window. Not only that, you want to entertain and have engaging conversations with friends — or at least try to. And this is where the pendant light plays a role.

Design with a purpose

The central piece in my small living room is a round coffee table. Because of its’ shape, you can move around it without having to avoid sharp edges. But the ceiling is high, and the room is open to the hallway. Basically, it’s a neglected high traffic area.

STYLE TIP: The right furniture arrangement with a low pendant light can bring the room together. Like the glue that sticks all the pieces in place.

The style tip above goes beyond visual balance. The position of the low pendant light literally makes people’s faces glow. Only when they’re sitting down. It’s an interesting mixture of ambient and task lighting.

Let’s picture it.

So you’re sitting down on the sofa or armchair with your friends. All around the coffee table. Thanks to the low pendant light you can see their faces clearly (ambient lighting). You can look through magazines or books if you’re shy (task lighting). The rest of the room is darker with subtle lights in some corners.

The focus is on the people around the coffee table. This is what promotes conversation. What you talk about makes a difference too — but let’s not go into that.

An elegant Scandinavian low pendant light

Why I chose a low pendant light instead of a TV - sofa detail

In my mind, I knew what I wanted. A black low pendant light with simple forms. But where to find it? It took me months of endless Pinterest and Google searches (slight exaggeration). Plenty of decent designs, sure. Nothing stood out. The solution was straightforward. The Nordlux Artist 40 pendant light ticked all the boxes.

According to the manufacturer, its design resembles a drum kit cymbal. The original 2015 model was made with a polished copper finish. So I can vaguely see where they’re coming from. In 2016 they relaunched it in smooth black to my delight.

Why I chose a low pendant light instead of a TV - whole light

Multi-disciplinary designers Bønnelycke MDD are the masterminds behind the product development. Whilst the Danish company Nordlux is the manufacturer of this pendant light. The Artist is part of their Design for the people range. They work with Danish designers to provide innovative Scandinavian design at a reasonable price. Yes, please.

Sometimes less is more. No hanging crystals, loud patterns or unnecessary distractions. Few plastic lights can look this elegant. Simplicity brings harmony, and that resonates in the room. It’s there — yet you don’t notice it.

5 Steps to get the low pendant light right the first time

Installing a low pendant light is not rocket science. Whether you do it yourself or get an electrician in, check these practical tips to avoid disappointment:

1. Careful with the height

Too high and everything will be flooded with light. Too low and it will make your tea boil again. The sweet spot is 90 cm (35 in) above the coffee table, which in my case is 45 cm (18 in) high. Experiment first to see what works for you.

2. Don’t spoil the look with an ugly ceiling hook (gratuitous rhyme there)

Why I chose a low pendant light instead of a TV - hook detail

For some reason, my light fitting is not in the centre of the ceiling. It’s easy to re-centre with the right tool. I got mine from an Italian company. It blends in beautifully with the black fabric cord.

3. Avoid the dull office effect

Take into account the colour temperature. The Artist 40 has 2700K. It translates to a subtle warm white. This is ideal as it will not feel sterile or cold. Note that the colour temperature will affect how you perceive the colours of the room.

4. Energy efficiency is a must

Why I chose a low pendant light instead of a TV - light detail

Luckily, it has LED technology with 24W. However, the LED bulbs are built-in so you can’t remove them. This allows a streamlined design. But if the bulbs go, you have to replace the entire light.

5. Always use a dimmer switch

I put into practice all the style tips and had a lovely chat with some friends… But the light was off all evening! It was way too bright without a dimmer switch to adjust the intensity. Don’t make the same mistake.

Get the Nordlux Artist 40

Why I chose a low pendant light instead of a TV - living room detail

You’re in luck because it’s available through multiple retailers and dealers. A quick Google search of “Nordlux artist 40” will reveal a selection of options. Shop around and make sure you choose the appropriate size (40 cm or 25 cm). I bought mine from Lighting Direct.

What are your thoughts on low pendant lights?

Have you considered getting one? Whatever you do, take your time to decide what works in your space. The situation may be different if pets or children are around. I can imagine two cats lying on the light minding their own business.

Don’t forget to check out the final living room makeover featuring my Nordlux artist 40 low pendant light!

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Juan Sandiego

I’m an Interiors & Wellbeing Coach with a passion for design and the science of happiness. I help home renovators create their ideal home and lifestyle so they can live happy and stress-free. Want to try it? Book your free session today.

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  1. Anne Marie
    7 years ago

    This little thing looks very smart! And it fits with your room beautifully! And I totally agree with you on that TV aspect. We’ve put ours on the wall lately but I’m already thinking about painting the wall behind it black so it’s less obvious when people walk into the room.

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thank for your comment, Anne Marie! That sounds like a great idea to make it blend with the rest of the room.

      By the way, I’ve been stalking your blog tonight… I love it!

  2. Candy Pop
    7 years ago

    That’s such a stunning pendant. Great post!

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, Natasha! I fell in love with it at first sight ?

  3. Sarah Vaz Te
    7 years ago

    Love it wish I could but how to convince the other half!!!!. Be careful Anne Marie painting your wall black … I tried that and it was awful. I now have the to in the centre of a black and white picture wall which works better in my house . Being black and white it really mixes in well.

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, Sarah! I think you’re right. The shape of the light is subtle and minimal already. I like the contrast against the white wall.

  4. Jenny Kakoudakis @Seasonsincolour
    7 years ago

    Juan I love your photos, always such good attention to detail. I have decided that in the current state of our home, low pendant lights will not be possible, because the other half does love his tv (and he last threatened to gate a 50+ inch one…. WHHAAAAATTTT?” Having said that, I don’t see why I could not follow your advice for our dining room 😉 hehe!

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thank you so much, Jenny! You may have lost the living room battle… but gotta fight for the dining room! ?✨

  5. Athina
    7 years ago

    Another great post Juan. Really great advice and I think this is very true! Can’t wait until the next post

    1. Juan Sandiego
      7 years ago

      Thank you, Athina! I’m glad you enjoyed it ?

  6. Donna
    6 years ago

    Hey Juan! Came back to find this post as a client wants a central point in a large living room that isn’t the TV! Great idea and love the details on getting it right (my husband is a lighting guru so very aware of colour temperature for the right mood). Thanks again! x

    1. Juan Sandiego
      6 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, Donna! I’m so glad you found it useful. The temperature is key. I thought it would be too cold but it’s actually warm (without being yellow).

  7. Abi | These Four Walls blog
    6 years ago

    I love this post Juan – you’re spot on! We have a TV in our lounge but the pendant light and the fireplace are definitely the focal points. The TV is an addition, not the reason for the room. And the light you’ve chosen is lovely.

    1. Juan Sandiego
      6 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, Abi! You’ve just condensed the blog post brilliantly. Completely agree, the TV is an addition. I’ve already saved your room makeover blog post to read later. Can’t wait!


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