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Please help; I've fallen down a rabbit hole of kitchen pendant options

2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

EDIT: Here's our kitchen:

I'd be grateful for all your thoughts and opinions. I find most pendants beautiful - that's not the problem. It's the light they create: the vast differences have thrown me for a loop. We have can lights and natural lighting and I'm wondering: what could or should the light be like that pendants create?

I'd like to create a cozy, intimate wine-bar-like atmosphere on the kitchen island seating. Am I crazy?

I started my journey with the popular clear glass or exposed bulb style:

Schofield Patent Residence · More Info

Farmhouse Kitchen · More Info

These are beautiful to look at, but I now think they're totally impractical. (?) They're really just 'accent' lights. Even in these photos, the pendants aren't contributing to the light of the scene. And it stands to reason: The light from a naked suspended bulb is very ugly. So are people really spending $100's or $1,000's on strictly accent lighting ... and lighting the island instead with can lights?

I tried blue colored glass pendants — we really had our hearts set on Bicycle Glass:

But the ones I tried cast a cold, creepy blue glow on our neutral white-ish cabinets. Not warm & cozy at all. So unfortunately, while these are essentially works of art, I think they're impractical for actually lighting the island surface.

I moved on to glass pendants with gray+black swirls. And these still create the lightbulb-on-a-string look in the room.

Moving on, I'm trying opaque, metal pendants like these:

Geddes Ravine Residence · More Info

This style definitely does create intimate pools of light. They can be turned up and used to actually illuminate the surface. But, I discovered the problem of the visible (glaring) bulb like the second one in the above pic. And I realized that with this style, I need to pay attention to where the bulb is mounted; maybe rethink their height; definitely finding decorative bulbs.

Finally, finally, I've decided — my very opinionated view, lol — that these are the only perfect pendant types ... based purely on the quality of the light they create:

Metal/industrial style with diffusers to remove direct glare from the bulb:

Cottage on Keowee · More Info

Pendants that channel the light straight down and have very dark colored glass for effect:

Organic Modern Mountain Home · More Info

Some variation on barrel shades, with diffusers on the bottom. They also provide attractive bounce-lighting off the ceiling.

Kensington · More Info

Thanks for thoughts! Anyone else embark on this journey, discovering the vast differences in the quality of the light itself?

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