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
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.
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 it 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)
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
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
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. It’s also available via the official dealer, Divine Lighting.
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.Want more? Don't miss the subscriber-only articles in the newsletter Join the mailing list