Erin Doman on April 22, 2016 0 Comments Changing the lighting in your home can completely alter the atmosphere of the room, and pendant lighting can help create a sophisticated and modern environment. Pendant lighting has recently become exceptionally popular among homeowners, with many newer houses featuring pendant lights in their bathrooms, kitchens, entryways and entertainment areas. The good news is that pendant lights are not difficult to include in your own home, even if you have an older house. Whether you are looking for an affordable way to up the value of your home or you simply like to get your hands into a do-it-yourself project on the weekends, installing pendant light fixtures is a relatively simple task. Most homeowners use pendant lights as a way to add a touch of beauty to a room that is a little too bare or to add functionality to a room that doesn’t have enough light on its own. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to install your own pendant light fixtures. 1. Select Your Fixture Finding the best pendant light fixture for your home is likely going to be harder than the installation process itself. Most pendant light fixtures use the same basic wiring setup and work in just about any home, so your choice is really based on personal preference. Choose a fixture that fits your size and shape preferences and that matches the room’s color scheme. A flared shade or one that is transparent will light more of the room while a solid shade will illuminate the surface directly beneath it. There are two main types of pendant lights: down lighting pendants and up lighting pendants. Both of these types of pendant light fixtures offer their own benefits. Down Lighting Pendants Down lighting pendants are the more common type of pendant fixture. This type of fixture allows lights to be directed directly downward from the hanging light. This allows more light to be shed on the area, making these great for rooms that see more activity or do not already have a decent amount of natural light. You often see this type of light in areas like the kitchen, where more light is required for cooking precision. Up Lighting Pendants Up lighting pendants are less common than their counterpart, mostly because they do not provide the basic function of lighting a room quite as well as down lighting fixtures do. However, this does not mean these aren’t a good lighting option; up lighting pendants are great for adding ambiance to a room that doesn’t require much additional lighting in the first place. These lights work well in bedrooms, where strong and direct lighting isn’t needed, and where a comfortable atmosphere is desired. 2. Gather Your Tools and Materials It is a good practice to gather all of your tools and materials before beginning any DIY project. This ensures you don’t find yourself in an inconvenient position and without the tools you need, or worse, without a part of the light fixture that should have been in the box. It is always good to double check that you have everything you could possibly need before beginning any home renovation project. For this project, you will need a screwdriver or cordless drill, a set of wire cutters, a ruler and a pair of needle-nosed pliers. The box for your pendant light should include several components: Wire nuts Mounting bracket Pendant fixture Shade Always check to make sure that all of the parts listed on the instruction manual are included in the box and that none of the pieces are damaged. 3. Cut the Power and Remove the Fixture Safety should always come first. No matter what type of lighting or appliance you are working with, never begin an electrical installation project without first turning off the power at its source. In this case, the source is your home’s main circuit box. Once you turn off the proper breaker, cover it with tape to ensure nobody else in the home turns it back on while you are working. Use a circuit tester to ensure there is no power flowing to the area in which you’ll be working. Installation Tip: Sometimes circuit boxes aren’t labeled the way they should be. Although a little-known fact, labeling is required by law, so if yours aren’t, you should take the time to do so as you work to find the breaker you need. If you are replacing an old light fixture, you should remove it at this point. The exact method will depend on what type of light fixture is currently installed. Twist old wire connectors counterclockwise to remove them, disconnect the wires and remove the entire fixture, including any trim or base. 4. Prepare the New Fixture Unpack your new pendant light fixture and ensure all parts were included and intact. If the light is adjustable, or if you intend to adjust it yourself, use a ruler to measure how high or low you’d like it to hang. It’s easier to do this now, than try to do it while you are in the middle of the installation process. Don’t forget to account for any tall people in the house. It might help to ask someone to hold the pendant light for you as you decide which height you prefer. 5. Check the Support Before continuing, check the support at the electrical junction. It should have a beam or similar support system to hold the light in place. It is against building codes to secure something to the ceiling if there is only drywall to support it, so if you don’t have the proper support, you will need to stop the install project until it can be fixed. 6. Attach the Mounting Bracket, Wires, Cover & Shade Now comes the steps where you actually attach the pendant light fixture to your ceiling. This step will sometimes require more than one person helping, so make sure you have extra helping hands, as well as all of the required tools before you begin. Bracket: Using your screwdriver and the screws that came with the pendant light, first you must attach the mounting bracket to the ceiling. It should be flush with the ceiling and look even, and the heads of the screws should face you. Wires: Next, you must ensure that electricity can get to your fixture. Begin by attaching the ground wire. You should always do this first in order to prevent lethal shock in the rare event that power is somehow still flowing. The rest of the wires are usually attached by color, but check the manufacturer’s directions to prevent problems. Twist the wires together and then twist a wire nut on in a clockwise motion to secure them. Light and Cover: Now it is time to attach the pendant light. This part is more simple than you may think: simply line the pendant light up with the screws you placed in the mounting bracket and screw it into place. Sometimes you will need to adjust the screws’ lengths so they can reach the fixture and still be attached to the bracket. The cover should line up against the mounting bracket, should not feel wobbly or otherwise insecure when touched and should not have any exposed or pinched wires when screwed in. Shade: The last step is to attach your pendant’s shade, if it has one. Your pendant light’s shade probably has a nut screwed on to the shade mount. If it doesn’t, check the box. Unscrew the nut from the mount and slide the shade over the fixture. Secure it into place by re-screwing the nut into place. Some styles of pendant lights have shades that simply screw on, so if you don’t have a shade nut, double-check the manufacturer’s instructions before you panic. If your pendant fixture uses a cord to hold it in place, it might be slightly curved because of how it was packaged. It will become straighter in the coming days and weeks as it becomes weighted down by the shade. 7. Install the Lightbulb Now it’s time to screw in the light bulb in your light fixture. Always use the size, type and wattage recommended by the manufacturer to prevent shorting the fixture or causing the bulb to break. If your fixture is clear, be sure you use a clear bulb to avoid clashing of styles. Luckily, this is the part of the installation process where you get a bit more freedom. There are many different types of lightbulbs on the market today, from LED to OLED to some more traditional types of bulbs, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Many newer styles of lightbulbs offer energy-saving assets, which is always something to be on the lookout for. Be sure to do your research before deciding on the type of bulbs you plan on using in your pendant lighting. 8. Turn the Power Back On From here, it is time to turn the power back on. Return to your home’s circuit box, remove the tape and flip the appropriate breaker. Go back to the room in which you installed your pendant light and check to see if it is on. If there is no power, you should re-read to ensure you didn’t miss any steps. Once the light is working, install any trim or other adornments that were included. If none were, you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy your handiwork. By following these eight steps, you’re setting yourself up for an easy pendant light installation.