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Pendant Lights over a kitchen island: How do I do it?

Pendant Lights over a kitchen island: How do I do it?


This past week, I worked in two different projects. While both projects are very different, they share a common theme: pendant lights over a kitchen island.

What I typically suggest

When I manage renovations, I like to have everything all sourced out, purchased, and onsite for the particular trade. That includes pendant lights over a kitchen island. Why?

There are so many sizes and styles of kitchen pendant lights. Take a look at a few of these beauties!

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pendant lights for a kitchen
Purchase here
Height: 17.0″
Width: 11.5″

pendant lights for a kitchen
Purchase here
Height: 9.26″
Width: 4.16″

pendant lights for a kitchen
Purchase here
Height: 23″
Length: 25″
Width: 25″
Depth: 25″

Size Matters

Did you happen to also read the sizing for the 3 pendant lights above?

  • The first light is 11.5″ wide.
  • The second light is 4.16″ wide.
  • The third light is 25″ wide.

When it comes to placing pendant lights over a kitchen island, the spacing and heights need to accurate. What do I mean by that? Here is the plan that I created for our ‘Patient Kitchen Project’ that currently is under construction.

Pendant Lights over a kitchen island
Kitchen Design: Sheri Bruneau|Get It Together

For this particular project, while the pendant lights over the kitchen island island were not chosen when the rough-in electrical occurred (which typically never happens), we decided to use 3 lights. In our search for lights, we are using these measurements to guide us in our selection. While we may not find pendant lights that are exactly 14″ wide, this is our guide.

Common pendant lights over a kitchen island measurements

Here is what I typically follow:

  • Find the centre point of the island. That means the centre point in the length and the width.
  • Measure 30″ – 36″ apart from the centre light depending on the style of the light.
  • The light should hang 30″ – 36″ off of the counter. Keep in mind, the cabinets and counters are typically not installed for rough-in electrical. That means measurements have to be accurate. Counter tops and flooring need to be considered in these measurements (if they are not installed at the time of rough-in electrical).

What can happen if you don’t think ahead?

Can you image if my client wanted to pick something like the third option? This is what it would look like.

Pendant Lights over a kitchen island
Conceptual drawing with 25″ wide pendant lights

Can you imagine a couple of things with this scenario:

  1. How much light these suckers would give off?
  2. The visual ‘clutter’ that these would create?

The opposite would hold true if a too narrow pendant light were chosen. I’m thinking of something like these:

pendant lights for a kitchen
Purchase here
Width: 6″

While this is a very cool pendant light, it’s only 6″ wide. Here is what the same kitchen plan looks like with 3 of these narrow lights:

Pendant Lights over a kitchen island
Conceptual drawing with too small of pendant lights.

While these cute little pendant lights are still centred over the island, the bulb wattage is 3W which means that these are not great ‘task’ lights. With the size of this particular island, task lighting is essential!

Eye Candy

I relate pendant lights over a kitchen island to jewellery. It’s a great place to add a little bling, add a bit of character, and add a bit of beauty! Here are a few pendant lights to go over a kitchen island that caught my eye.

I’m a sucker for black and chrome:

This one reminds me of the ocean:

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing pendant lights over a kitchen island. There really are two ways to select pendant lights over a kitchen island.

  1. This is my first preference: As there are so many different styles and sizes, pick out the pendant lights BEFORE the rough-in electrical occurs. That way, your interior designer can plan out how many pendant lights you will need and how far they should be spaced.
  2. IF you are unable to make that decision prior to the rough-in electrical, then have your interior designer plan out what they believe will be a good size (guide) for you to follow. Then, it is up to you to find pendant lights that will be a good fit for your kitchen island.


Sheri Bruneau Get It Together

Looking to manage your own renovation project(s). My new e-book series is just for you!

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