As a new CountryWide homeowner myself, I know selecting and installing light fixtures is at the forefront of the to-do list. Being aware of a few basic guidelines can prove to be very helpful, not only when selecting a fixture for a specific location, but when deciding how high they should be hung.
Over a Table
The recommended height to hang a pendant above a table is 28 to 32 inches, but the fixture can be hung slightly higher or lower depending on personal preference, fixture size and ceiling height. A large drum pendant hung over a table not only anchors the vignette but if placed on a dimmer the fixture can provide either brighter or softer light.
In the Hallway
Fixtures hung in an entry or hallway can add a lot of drama and beauty, casting shadows while providing light. In spaces with tall ceilings, it is important that the fixtures not be hung so high that they are outside of the line of sight while standing in the space. Hanging a series of identical fixtures down the length of a hall creates a classic look. It is important that there be approximately 7' feet of clearance above the floor, and take note of any doors that will extend under the fixture when opened, ensuring there is enough clearance.
In a Stairwell
Fixtures hung in a stairwell can add a sculptural element to the area, as well as provide needed lighting. The key is to hang the fixture high enough so that there is plenty of clearance while walking up and down the stairs. I recommend at least 18 to 24" of clearance between the bottom of a fixture and the height of a fairly tall person. While less may do the job, visually it will cause most people to feel the need to duck when walking under the fixture.
Over an Island
Pendant lights are a great solution for providing adequate task lighting while also presenting an opportunity to enhance or reinforce the kitchen design. Typically pendants should be placed 28 to 34" above the countertop. Another tip in hanging pendants above an island or peninsula is to hang the fixtures high enough so that, while standing, you are not staring directly into the lights.
When hanging a pendant fixture above the foot of a bed, the fixture must be hung high enough so that there is no risk of hitting your head and high enough, also, so as to not block the view of the TV.