How to choose them. First, consider the scale of the room. Does it call for wide, prominent shades or slender, unobtrusive ones? How many do you need to illuminate your target surface? Choose fixtures that will neither overshadow the most subtle elements of the space nor get lost amid the strongest ones. One good rule of thumb: Scale them directly to the surface they'll illuminate (a dining table, for instance). Decide, too, how transparent or opaque you want the pendant shades to be. A clear glass shade will allow light to spread throughout the room, while a metal or porcelain one will keep the beam focused downward. Similarly, do you want the bulb exposed beneath the perimeter of the shade or recessed entirely within it? Shades with open tops will allow light to flood the ceiling above.Now you can get to the fun stuff: the decorative aspect. Pendants can be a prime opportunity to add top notes of color and sparkle: blown or milky glass, shiny and matte metals, fabric and paper.