There are a lot of different, and different-looking, light fixtures that are called pendant lights. The most basic ones have a single light bulb mounted base up, inside a globe or under an open shade or open reflector. But lanterns, fixtures that take bulbs mounted base down—such as chandeliers—and many of the different heads available for track lights are also part of the family.
What Is a Pendant Light?
A pendant light is a light fixture that is mounted to the ceiling and hangs down from the ceiling on a rod, chain or, sometimes, on a few chains. It's suspended like the pendant on a necklace, and that's where it gets its name. The difference between a chandelier and a pendant is that the former includes multiple bulbs incorporated into a single fixture while the latter has only the one bulb incorporated into the fixture.
Pendant Lights for General Lighting
A pendant light fixture can be mounted as the central fixture in almost any room. Or one or more can be used to light a corridor or hallway. When a pendant light is used as a porch light, it is providing the general lighting for that porch.
One appealing quality of pendant lights, when they're used for general lighting, is that many of these fixtures are designed to throw at least some of the light up, onto the ceiling. As that light spreads across the ceiling and is reflected back down, it helps us see more of the room, or hallway, of course. But it also helps us see the room or hallway itself. It shows us the edges and corners of the space, giving us a better sense of where we are, and of the ways we might best fit into it and move through that space.