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How to Choose Kitchen Pendant Lighting

Kitchen Pendant Lighting

The Kitchen is the heart of the home. It is used not only as a cooking hub but also as a social place, display area for decor and transit zone. Proper lighting allows you to cook with greater precision and safety, make your kitchen feel and look larger, and create a relaxing atmosphere around the kitchen table.

Pendant lights can play a vital role in creating a functional and comfortable environment in and around your kitchen. As such, you should include them in your scheme of things.

But what are pendant lights exactly? More importantly, how to choose kitchen pendant lighting and install them? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.

What are the Pendant Lights?

A pendant light is a lone light fixture that is suspended from the ceiling using a chain, cord, or rod. Pendant lights are available in a wide range of styles, meaning no matter your preferences or kitchen ambience, you will be easily able to find options that are a perfect match.

Generally, pendant lights are hung over the kitchen island. That said, it is not the only place where you can use them. When used intelligently, kitchen pendant lighting can look just as stunning over a kitchen sink.

Kitchen pendant lighting is a great option for all those who are not a fan of wall lights. Because pendant lights provide a strong focal point, they can beautifully complement and highlight stone counterparts when hung over a kitchen island.

Want to boost the interior design of your home? If so, consider hanging a pendant light or chandelier above the kitchen table.

With kitchen pendant lighting, you enjoy greater control over which part of the indoor space gets highlighted. If one or more areas of your kitchen don’t get much natural light or the kitchen corners are not adequately illuminated, pendant lights could set things right. That’s because pendant lights allow you to efficiently direct light exactly where you need it.

When shopping for hanging lights for kitchen, make sure you choose those with dimming capabilities. Equally importantly, always use compatible dimmer switches with your LED pendant lights.

LED Pendant Light

How do you choose the size of kitchen pendant lighting?

One of the most common questions homeowners ask is: How to select the size and scale of kitchen pendants?

Well, this depends on two things mainly:

  • The available space
  • The desired number of displays

In most cases, a single statement light or 2-3 pendants are good enough. To determine, consider the kind of effect you want your kitchen pendant lighting to have.   

Want to create a strong design statement? Then large fixtures may be right up your alley. Large fixtures also work out pretty well when providing a focal point or separating the kitchen island from the other parts of the kitchen is a priority.

In contrast, small pendant lights might be perfect for those who love subtle lighting or want the lighting fixture to not be the most dominant element of their kitchen.

Just a word of caution: If you have decided in favour of a small pendant light, make sure it provides adequate lighting. On the other hand, if you are opting for a big fixture, ensure it won’t overwhelm the kitchen space.

Different Types of Kitchen Pendant Lighting

There are many different types of kitchen pendant lighting, the most common being the following:

  1. Track Lights

If versatile task lighting is what you want, kitchen track lighting pendants might be right for you. Consider installing them above the kitchen island and bar.   

  1. Drum Pendant Lights

As the name suggest, the light is enclosed a shade which resembles a drum. The cylindrical enclosure is usually made of fabric, stainless steel, or glass. You can use drum pendants for ambient or task lighting in both a contemporary or traditional setting.

  1. Multiple Pendant Lights

This lighting fixture has two or more lights. Available in a range of styles, multiple pendant lights provides a focal point to the kitchen space.

  1. Exposed Pendant Lights

If a rustic, industrial, or minimalist decor is your thing, look no further than exposed bulb pendants. That they are very budget-friendly is an added bonus.

  1. Mini Pendant Lights

Because these pendant lights are small, they are more suited for task lighting. This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t use them for ambient lighting. Multiple mini pendant lights bundled together or evenly spread in a straight line can provide adequate ambient lighting.

  1. Abstract Pendant Light

Abstract pendants are used for decorative purposes than for illumination. Think of it as an artistic lighting fixture hanging from the ceiling.

  1. Globe Pendant Lights

These fixtures have a circular enclosure surrounding the light bulb and offer soft light for dining areas or kitchen. Globe pendant lights look equally good in contemporary and traditional spaces.    

How to choose the placement?

Here are some tips to help you correctly place your kitchen pendants:

  • If you want to light up a medium- to full-sized kitchen island, a large pendant is a better option, compared to a small pendant.
  • You should hang pendants approximately 70-80 cm above the kitchen island
  • Make sure the kitchen pendants are at least 30 cm away from each edge of the kitchen island bench
  • For small islands, one standard-sized pendant might be enough, but for long islands two pendants or a one long pendant will be needed. Generally, two pendants are enough; three may look overcrowded

How to choose the materials?

Pendants are lighting fixtures that hang from the ceiling and provide overhead illumination. They come in a wide range of styles, shapes, and sizes. Many pendants have drums or shades made of materials like metal, fabric, or glass, which help filter and direct the light. Since pendants are often a prominent feature in a room, it's important to choose a style that complements your decor. For a sleek and modern look, chrome or glass pendants are a great choice. Woven shades, on the other hand, can add a coastal touch, while exposed bulbs or industrial-style metal shades work well in farmhouse-style kitchens. When shopping for pendants, keep in mind that most lighting showrooms offer customization options to match your style and lighting needs.

How big should pendant lights be? 

To determine how wide the pendant lights should be in centimeter, first find out your island’s width. Next, subtract 30.48 cm from this number. The resulting number is the recommended width (or diameter) of the kitchen pendant light in centimeter.

For example, let’s say your kitchen island is 68.58 centimeters, the maximum width of your pendant is 38.1 cm (68.58 – 30.48).

As far as the minimum width is concerned, avoid using a pendant that’s too small. It will not only look awkward but also look out of place and awkward.

How high off the counter should pendant lights hang?

As a general rule of thumb, hang pendants approximately 70-80 cm above the kitchen island. Also keep in mind that the kitchen pendants should be at least 30 cm away from each edge of the kitchen island bench.

Kitchen Pendant Lighting Features

Looking for smart features in your pendant lighting? You’re in luck. Pendant lights come often with useful features that make it easier to adjust the light to suit your varied needs. For example, some pendant lighting fixtures have retractable cords, allowing you to pull the fixture close for things like intimate dining or retract the fixture when you want diffused lighting.

LED pendant lighting fixtures commonly have dimming capabilities, enabling you to adjust the brightness level as per your requirements. Some also boast smart capabilities which enable you to switch the light on and off and adjust its temperature and brightness through voice or a mobile device.


Kitchen pendant lights, typically hung over a sink or island, not only provide brilliance but also can make a strong design statement. These lights are available in many styles and shapes. If you are wondering, “How to choose kitchen pendant lighting?” this lighting guide can serve as a good starting point since it covers all the bases.