13 Bright Ideas for Pendants, Chandeliers & Sconces


I know I say this every month, but can y’all believe it’s mid-October already?? Over here that means football season, pumpkin patches, and another trip to High Point Market. We’ll also be changing our clocks in a couple weeks, losing an hour of daylight, and heading back into cozy-at-home mode. After the hot summer we’ve had, these changes sound pretty welcome to me!

When it comes to design, another thing autumn always makes me think of is — lighting. No surprise, right? 

Fall is when we see the most drastic transition in daylight. Suddenly, it’s dark by 5pm and our bodies are saying, “Wait, it’s bedtime, right?” (Any of y’all struggle with this, too?) This is the time of year when I depend on my home’s lighting to keep me awake and moving. BUT…

…that’s not all we want our lighting to do, is it? Lighting also plays a BIG role in the style and feel of our homes. 

You can think about it like jewelry. Your home is like that little black dress: plain yet classic on its own, but when paired with the right accessories, it turns heads! As I always say, it’s the details that make the space. 

So, let’s talk about lighting today and get y’all ready for this fall. And not just inspiration, but some real actionable tips. Here’s what we’ll cover today:

  • 6 different types of lighting in a home
  • The 3 layers of lighting
  • 13 bright ideas for pendants, chandeliers, & sconces
  • My current faves for statement lighting

P.S. You’re going to want to bookmark this one for later!


A transitional over-island chandelier blends the fresh look of new countertops and subway tile with the traditional details in these original cabinets our clients were eager to preserve!

6 Types of Lighting & When to Use Them

Chandeliers: Chandeliers come in many shapes and sizes, but their key defining feature is that they have multiple bulbs, or light points. They are usually the largest type of lighting you can find for your home.

Pendants: Pendants and chandeliers are often confused, but the important difference is the number of bulbs. Pendants will have only one light point that hangs at some distance from the ceiling. These are great for lighting smaller areas or used in pairs, or trios, to beautifully illuminate a larger area.

Flush mounts: Like pendants, flush mounts also have one light point and are also installed in the ceiling. The difference is that they are mounted flush with the ceiling, not hanging, making them perfect for places where you don’t want a low-hanging light fixture to obstruct the view.

Sconces: Sconces are similar to flush mounts, but they are mounted on walls. While chandeliers, pendants and flush mounts are usually used to light a whole area, sconces hug the perimeter, bringing light to areas that centrally located lighting can’t reach. 

Recessed or can lights: These are the small lights that we usually install directly into a ceiling or under cabinets for lighting countertops. These provide an even distribution of lighting across your entire space, and you can install these in any room you like. 

Table lamps and floor lamps: Last but not least, the “mobile” lighting in your home. “Mobile” meaning that you can move it around — it’s not attached to a wall or ceiling, or hardwired into your electrical. Table lamps and floor lamps are perfect for focused task lighting, such as a floor lamp for reading next to the sofa or table lamps by your bedside or on your entryway console.


The 3 Layers of Lighting

Layer 1. Layer 1 is your recessed lighting, which ensures a space is evenly lit. These are not required, but are ideal for larger spaces, like a kitchen or family room. I also highly recommend going with dimmers for these, so you can change the brightness for family game night vs. intimate gatherings vs. winding down for bed.

Layer 2. Layer 2 is the rest of your fixed lighting — chandeliers, pendants, sconces, or flush mounts. These will help define a space, such as separating a living room from a dining room in an open concept space. They also create focal points in the space and bring out the style of your home. (P.S. For more tips on creating focal points with lighting, you can sign up for my free guide at the bottom of this page!) 

Layer 3. The final layer is adding in your accent lighting. Place these in spots where they will help with specific functions (like reading, lighting an entryway, etc.) and where they will more evenly disperse light throughout the room.

My advice? Even though I laid these out as 1-2-3, we always make a PLAN for all of these layers to make sure they work together before we install, mount, or hardwire anything. If you’re doing this yourself, I highly recommend making a plan before lifting a finger. (And I also recommend hiring a pro, especially for any electrical work.)

Okay, the moment you’ve been waiting for…. lighting inspiration!

13 Bright Ideas for Layering Lighting in Your Home


1. Dramatic living room chandelier (or two in this case!) 

2. Over island chandelier (best for smaller islands, or simply try to match the shape of the lighting with the island shape for balance)

3. Bedroom chandelier


4. Dining table chandelier (not too low or you’ll be squinting over your meal)

5. Over-bathtub chandelier (a pendant could be a great idea here, too)

6. Kitchen island pendants (best for long kitchen islands so the pendants don’t look crowded; you could add 2 larger pendants, like we did, or 3 slightly smaller ones)


7. Sconce lighting the double vanity

8. Sconces over bathroom seating, for your morning and evening routine

9. Over-sink kitchen sconce for style and function

And a few more ideas that we haven’t used in any of our clients’ homes just yet, but very well could…

1o. Waterfall pendants or a chandelier in a tall entryway

11. Bedside sconces (instead of table lamps)

12. Pendant over a beverage center

13. Sconces over a built-in bookcase or other exposed shelving

And that makes 13. I can practically hear your wheels turning from way over here! And now, here are some of my favorite light fixtures that y’all can pick up yourselves when the moment strikes…

Top Lighting Picks for a Fresh & Classic Home

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If you’re still looking for some tips you can implement on your own, be sure to download my Guide to Creating Focal Points with Layered Lighting at the bottom of this page. 

If you’re thinking, “Come on, E, you know I’d rather have you do it all,” I hear y’all loud and clear and would be happy to help. Be sure to get on my calendar quick, as the holidays are coming up fast and we’re filling up even faster!

Until next time, I hope y’all have a great start to the fall.

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