pendant lighting over island

Best Pendant Lighting Ideas for Kitchen Islands

Whether you have a traditional kitchen, contemporary kitchen, or rustic kitchen space, pendant lighting has taken the world of kitchen design by storm!

The most stylish item to have in your kitchen these days is the kitchen island, and of course, the best way to accessorize it is with big, statement pendants.

I’ll show you some of the best Pendant light fixtures out there for any design style.

Table of Contents

Pendant Lighting Over an Island

lighting over island

A Rule of Thumb that you need to know is that the pendant light fixture should be placed above your kitchen island. This will allow ambient light to cover your workspace. Plus it’s such a cool design feature with many different styling options and a vast variety out there for you to choose from.

The next step would be determining how high up from the floor the pendant needs to go. You want this to be at eye-level so that everyone can see what they are doing while cooking on their island. Check your ceiling height. If there isn’t enough space between the ceiling and the top of the island, then you may have to consider installing recessed light instead.

If you decide to install pendant lighting over an island, make sure that you choose a pendant at least 13 inches wide glass as these will spill light across your island (depending on its size), making everything look brighter and cleaner.

How to Space Pendant Lights over an Island

You can probably see where you want the pendants placed in your head, but here are some great tips on making sure that they’re placed perfectly.

  • Use helium balloons for positioning and size reference to obtain the greatest sense of what your pendants will look like over an island–a fantastic visual technique to help you decide!
  • Use three smaller lights, depending on the size. It is sometimes assumed that odd groups are more aesthetically appealing. However, this is simply a personal choice. Whatever number of lights you use, they must be spread out with proper symmetry.
  • At least two pendant lights are required for an eight-foot island.
  • To balance out the length of your island, go with three pendant lights for a 10-foot island. If you wish to use huge pendant lights (at least 25′′ in diameter), you might want just 2 pendant lights.
  • You can still have kitchen light pendants when you have a vaulted ceiling for your kitchen ceiling. You will just need to pick pendants that have a rope or chain so that they can hang down over your perhaps granite countertops.
pendant lights over island

Choosing Kitchen Pendant Light Fixtures

2 pendant lights over island

Picking the right pendants can be tricky.

For Example, a contemporary kitchen design kitchen lighting needs to have a strong design aesthetic. Look for light fixtures with clean lines and a sharp, minimalistic look for a simple, understated design.

Glass Pendant Lights

2 pendant lights over island

If you need to make the island brighter or need more light in the kitchen in general, then glass shades should be a go-to. It will allow for better light distribution than an opaque metal shade.

So if you want a bright kitchen, you might want to have a translucent shade, like glass pendants, rather than something opaque.

Another important factor when choosing pendant lighting fixtures is the size of the light bulbs and wattage used. But that seems pretty obvious.

Linear Chandeliers

kitchen island pendant lighting

A linear suspension pendant lamp or linear chandelier looks great in a kitchen with enough space to accommodate a larger light fixture. They work best with large-scale islands and in spaces where they can be center stage. And you wouldn’t pair a linear chandelier with another pendant in the same space.

Multi-Light Pendants

Multi-light pendant lights provide ambient lighting with three, sometimes up to 10, light sources stemming from the same fixture. They are also usually a smaller size of pendant.

Brass Pendants

2 pendant lights over island

Brass Pendants are a staple in a traditional kitchen design. That vintage flair in the more classic design has been used in homes for generations. But you can also get brass in more modern shapes due to people loving the tones from the brass.

Mini Pendant Lights

If you’re using multiple mini pendant lights for your island lighting, you’ll want the distance between them to be roughly equal to the width or diameter of each island light. And you’ll want an odd number for it to be aesthetically pleasing.

Your Kitchen Style

When choosing the style of your light fixtures, you need to look at your surroundings. Your kitchen sink and cabinet hardware, in particular. Look at the material of your taps and door handles. If they’re gold, you will want to avoid a copper color pendant. And opt for either more gold, black metal, or a glass shade.

Also, think about your backsplash; your eye level will have the pendant lighting and the backsplash in the same view. Make sure that they complement each other.

If you need some ideas for a subway tile backsplash, check out our article.

How To Install Ceiling Lights Over Island Kitchen

lighting over island

Installing ceiling fixtures is one of the best ways to transform any room. You may think that installing new light fixtures would require a lot of skilled labor, but now you know how easy it can be to install these types of fixtures yourself. If you wish to add additional illumination throughout your home, this guide will help you choose which fixture to use based on your needs.

To install pendant lights, follow these steps:

pendant lights over island
  1. Measure where you plan to place the pendant. Make sure not to put it too far away from your island if possible. A good rule of thumb is about 18 inches from the end of the countertop.
  2. Cut out a hole using tin snips or a hacksaw blade. Try to avoid cutting through electrical wires since this could cause serious damage to your house.
  3. Drill holes into the wall using a drill bit no wider than 1/8 inch. Use drywall screws to secure the fixture to the studs. Be careful to keep the screw heads below the surface so that water doesn’t get underneath them.
  4. Attach hooks onto the backside of each lampshade. Hang them by threading the hangers through the hook on the bottom edge of the shade. Then hang the shaded part of the installation upside-down.
  5. Screw the pendant directly to the ceiling joist. Be sure to remove any existing nails before inserting the screws. Also, ensure that the ceiling has been properly prepared to prevent moisture from getting behind the plasterboard.
  6. Add two coats of paint to finish the project. Once dried, cover the entire area again with another coat. Paint helps protect against mold growth.
  7. Finally, replace the decorative plates covering the hanging socket outlets. These can easily be removed using pliers.

Pendant Lights for A Dining Room Table

It’s not only on the kitchen island that we see pendant lighting. The humble dining table has gotten the treatment too. This is due to how brilliant and atmospheric pendant lighting can be eating dinner surrounded by your family and friends.

A dining room table is often considered a focal point in many homes. Whether you have a large family who eats together regularly or just enjoy entertaining guests, having a nice-looking dining room table adds value to your home. The right set of pendants over a dining table can help brighten it up without being overpowering. They also add ambiance around the dinner tables.

Here are some tips on selecting the best pendant lighting fixtures for a dining room table or breakfast nook:

  1. Choose pendant lights that match the style of your dining room. For example, lantern-shaped ones work great in formal settings but don’t fit well in casual rooms. Pendant lights designed specifically for dining tables tend to come in circular shapes due to their inherent usefulness. Some people love chandelier designs, whereas others prefer simple straight lines. There are even modern pendant lighting options available today that incorporate LED technology.

  2. Keep the number of lights low. Too much overhead lighting can be overwhelming above a dining table. Consider the brightness of the bulb and its distance when determining the total amount of light required, such as if you prefer to read or work at the dining table.

  3. Consider the placement of the pendant lights. In general, placing them higher to the ceiling gives more light coverage. However, depending on the design of the table and the length, certain spots might require additional illumination. So maybe you need a 3 pendant light fixture that runs the length of the table, rather than just one larger pendant in the center.

Basic Rules for Lights

Find below some helpful tips about lighting and LEDs that may help you choose your desired bold pendant lights.

pendant lighting over island

Accent Lighting

If you don’t have an abundance of natural light, a great way to add ambiance to any room is by using accent lighting. Accent lighting adds dimension and depth to a room without taking away from its overall design.

There are many different types of accent lighting available, including sconces, chandeliers, track lighting, under cabinet lighting, as well as kitchen islands with pendant light fixtures and pendant lights over kitchen islands.

A note about color temperature

Color Temperature refers to the “colorfulness” of a bulb. Colorful means warmer, whereas cooler colors appear bluer. Typically incandescent bulbs run around 2700K, and fluorescent tubes run closer to 5000 K. CFLs come in anywhere from 2000 – 7000 Kelvin. I recommend staying below 3000K since warm whites tend to age faster and yellowish tints look bad after a few years.

lighting over island

Do LEDs save you money?

pendant lights over island

There has been quite a bit of discussion lately regarding whether or not LEDs actually save money. While most agree that LEDs cost significantly less than traditional lighting choices, most experts say they don’t necessarily pay for themselves within 10 years. Many believe that LEDs only really start paying back their initial investment once you reach 20+ years old. However, there are still huge savings to be had when replacing regular halogen bulbs with compact fluorescents. Here’s why…

LEDs consume far less electricity than older alternatives. According to Energy Star 5.0 data, an average of 60W Halogens consumes approximately 740 Watts. That works out to roughly 860 kWh/year.

A 40W equivalent Compact Fluorescent lamp uses just 200 Watt-hours per year, according to Energy Star 6.1 Data. So, we’re talking about a whopping 1,500% decrease in power consumption!

Not only does this mean fewer costs associated with running air conditioning units, but LEDs also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. And finally, let’s talk about longevity. Most modern halogen bulbs contain mercury. Mercury poisoning effects can take decades to manifest themselves, but eventually, those little guys release toxins into the environment.

With no mercury involved whatsoever, LEDs simply won’t poison anyone. They’ll continue to work until they burn out. How often does that happen anyway? Well, the typical lifespan of a halogen bulb lasts somewhere around 13,000 hrs, meaning that it burns through 2 full days’ worth of energy every month.

Compare this to the 50,000-hour life expectancy of a standard Cree XM-L2 series LED, and you’ve got yourself a winning deal. These numbers aren’t made up either – both Energy star ratings cite actual real-world testing results.


How big should a pendant light be over an island?

A basic rule of thumb is to utilize around 25% of the island’s length to select the correct size pendant. My island measures 8 feet or 96 inches long. I looked for a pendant with a diameter of 24 inches / 2 feet or a square pendant with a diameter of 24 inches / 2 feet.

How many pendant lights do I need for a 6-foot island?

If your island is six feet long, you might place a light every three feet for a total of two pendants, one in each half of the area.

What color LED light is best for the kitchen?

  • Warm white (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) has a yellowish cast to it. These bulbs are ideal for use in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Bright white (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) is a color effect that exists between white and blue tones.