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Contemporary Pendant Track Lighting

Add Modern Decor and Curb Appeal by Installing Classy Swag Light Fixture

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A pendant light in the living room

A pendant light in the living room

This article was updated on 10/27/20.

What could add more visual appeal than pendant lights or track lights? How about the combination of the two, modern pendant track and monorail lighting! When they’re used effectively, homeowners can easily address energy efficiency issues.

What makes pendant a track lighting lighting system so compelling? It's easy to mix and match visual accents and task lighting components.

The implication is that any living or work area can be illuminated as desired. For example, the kitchen, above the breakfast bar or butcher block countertop. It also lends itself to the home office.

First Things First; Planning the Pendant Track Fixture Layout

As is the case with other home remodeling jobs, careful brainstorming and planning are the most critical steps. Before installing pendantlights, take a moment or two to survey the room in an unbiased manner.

Does it call out for task lighting above a work station or a kitchen countertop? Do you have a wall dedicated to art work that needs accent lighting to show it off?

One interesting strategy is called “wall glazing”. It’s used to add a dramatic effect in rooms with vaulted ceilings. It’s being used more and more in contemporary homes that feature trendy “great rooms”.

I have heard it said that they’re a recent and sleeker version of those ornate chandeliers from yesteryear that only the well-to-do could afford. The connection seems close enough to me.

Focus on Light Track Geometry

The days when light track geometry had to be boring and utilitarian are long gone. Consider these options:

  • Straight run track. This is the traditional, simple layout that homeowners are getting away from, although it’s functional. Straight runs work well for task lighting in a work shop or garage.
  • Monorail style. These rails can be bent and will conform to unique situations to provide the desired effect.
  • Cross layout sectional. Use this configuration to spread light out evenly over larger ceiling spaces.
  • “T” style track. This configuration offers a focused lighting configuration.
  • Grid style. This is a track assembled in a grid configuration. It’s handy when the need is to provide measured light pockets.
  • 90 degree track using a flex connector. A 90 degree track is ideal for traveling up to the peak of a vaulted ceiling and then back down the other side.

Pendant Light Have Style

One of the advantages of pendant light fixtures is that they are extremely versatile. They can be suspended at almost any desired height. The light’s vertical cable can be designed to stand out and make a statement, or to be more subdued.

Remember to choose an appropriate light shade for the specific situation. For instance, colorful fabrics make for a homey-type mood, light-diffusing crystal glass appeals to a formal dining room, and stark metallic for a post-industrialist work area.

Monorail Lighting Fixtures

Monorails are bendable and are perfect for adding custom lighting patterns. Monorails work just as well for either task lighting or accent illumination. Their versitility is one thing that make them so popular. If you have a case opening with no header, you can even run through from one room to another.

These fixtures may be equipped with low-voltage bulbs. They utilize a power transformer to step the residential line voltage (120 volts) down to about 12 volts, so keep that in line.

Monorails are Stylish

It’s true, monorail lighting systems are a fashionable design choice! A few of the decorative finish choices for the systems are chrome, antique bronze, brushed nickel, and rich gold. In addition to the rail itself, there are many fixture options to choose from.

The fixtures may be aimed at almost any convenient angle. Also, the glass or metal fixtures and shades are available in a variety of different styles. These are available with descriptive names like Pod, Martini Glass, Spot, Pyramid, and the very cool Sportster (not to be confused by the Harley Davidson motorcycle model).

Installation Options

Many homeowners opt to do the contemporary pendant track lighting installation themselves and put the money saved into the fixture purchase. If you hire a professional electrician to do the job, be sure to check his insurance and bonding status. If you do it yourself, be sure to check with your local building code.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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