3 Tips for Lighting a Kitchen Island Using Pendant Lights

Using pendant lights over a kitchen island is an effective way to provide task lighting, while creating a stylish focal point. If you don’t have a kitchen island, you can create the same effect above a breakfast bar or dining table. In order to help you choose the correct pendant lighting for your home, here are our top three tips…

Tip 1: Kitchen islands are often multi-functional spaces that require versatile lighting solutions. When choosing lighting for this area, it is important to consider what you will be using your kitchen island for. If the main function of this surface will be to prepare food, then you will need to ensure you have adequate task lighting. If it will also be used for entertaining, then you may wish to adjust the light to a softer, more ambient level. A great solution for lighting multi-functional spaces is a 'rise and fall' light whose height can be adjusted according to the task required or, simpler still, ensure the light will be compatible with a dimmer switch, this will give you the flexibility to alter the brightness to suit your needs (*always ensure you use a good quality dimmer and suitable bulb to avoid flickering).

You should also carefully consider the material of the pendant lights you choose. In a kitchen or dining area we would recommend metal or glass shades (as opposed to ceramic) as they will be easy to wipe clean and maintain.

Tip 2: Create a point of interest using the lighting above your kitchen island. To compliment your kitchen design, try to incorporate the materials already found in the room, with the style of your pendant lights. For example, you could choose a silver pendant light to tie in with nickel, aluminium or chrome kitchen utensils or cupboard door handles. Alternatively you could add a splash of colour by matching your lighting with your dining chair fabric or kitchen tiles.

Tip 3: When hanging pendant lights, or chandeliers, over a table top it is vitally important that these lights are the right size. As a general guideline, to find the approx. diameter of the light you should add the length / width of the room together in feet, this will give you the approx. diameter of the light in inches. For example, a 32-inch pendant light would look great in a 12ft wide by 20ft long room.

You will also want to ensure that your lights are low enough to provide the right amount of light to aid your task (e.g., cooking, serving, eating), without being in the way. Again, as a general guide you can apply a rule that 3x the height of the room in feet will equate to the drop required for the pendant in inches. E.g. a 10 ft ceiling height, multiplied by three, would mean a 30-inch drop from the ceiling to the pendant.

Of course, to be sure, you should ask a helper to hold your lights up over the area you wish to hang them before installation to determine the perfect height for your pendant lights.

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