The Ultimate Guide To Pendant Lighting In The Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important areas in a family home. Meals are prepared here with love, homework is completed here before dinner, and memories and heartfelt conversations are shared here with friends that are remembered for a lifetime. Sometimes we forget that the most unassuming features in this room are creating the beautiful ambiance we experience in these moments. Lighting can truly enhance the room while setting the stage for families to effortlessly enjoy the beauty of this space.

Pendant lighting is one of the most popular lighting choices for over the kitchen island, as it provides the most flexibility to the ever changing tasks of the room. Pendant lighting also provides the opportunity for visual interest that compliments the design of the kitchen and overall style of the home.

Pendant lighting in the kitchen

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions in regards to hanging pendant lights in the kitchen: 

Where do I start? What style would work best in my space? How many pendants do I need? How big should they be? 

While every space is unique, we can rely on a few guidelines to help get us started. These guidelines are a pretty universal rule of thumb among designers, and will certainly help you too!

Size + Style

When it comes to the size and style, keep in mind the size and layout of your kitchen. If you have a larger kitchen, with a large island, you will have more freedom in the size of the fixtures you choose. If your space is on the smaller side, opting for pendants with clear glass, or lanterns with no glass at all will help your kitchen look larger. Fixtures that don’t block sight lines helps maintain an open feel while still drawing subtle attention to the kitchen island.

large glass lighting over kitchen counter

How Many

The size of your island will help you determine how many pendant lights you will need to properly illuminate the space.

Frosted glass pendant

Generally, a shorter island would need 1-2 pendants, while a larger island provides the opportunity for larger, or several pendants.

Rustic gold pendants

Larger pendants are a trendy choice this year, so long as they are in line with the scale of the kitchen, and everything remains balanced.

Large black pendant lighting


Spacing is key when hanging pendants, and these spacing guidelines will also help you decide how many fixtures you need to achieve the look you are going for. 

All pendants should be hung between 30-36” from the top of the countertop. The outside edge of the pendants should hang between 12-18” from the edge of the countertop. 

pendant kitchen lighting - spaced out gold kitchen pendants

Two pendants should be at least 30” apart, centering from the middle of the island, keeping in mind the rule that the edges should be at least 12-18 inches from the edge.

Spaced out white pendants over island

Three pendants should be at least 28” apart, with the center fixture hanging in the center of the island. Again, the outside pendants should be at least 12-18 inches from the edge.

Pendant kitchen lighting - three gold pendants evenly spaced

Now that you know how to hang pendant lights over your kitchen island, here are our top lighting picks that would look great over your island.


Consider installing dimmer light switches that offer opportunities to adjust the level of light to suit a task or mood. While full light may be needed for tasks such as cooking, the ability to adjust the lights to a lower level can come in handy, especially for late night chats or early morning coffee. Dimmer switches also save energy, so this is a great all-around home upgrade.

Stop by the showroom to see our full selection of pendant lighting and to chat with a seasoned design specialist about installing the perfect pendants over your kitchen island.