9 Ideas for Pendant Lights Over Islands

Pendant lights play a crucial role in the feel of a kitchen. Check out our ideas.

In a kitchen, proper lighting is crucial. You need task lighting to illuminate your counters when you’re cooking, in addition to your regular ambient lighting and natural lighting from the windows. This is especially critical over your kitchen’s central hub, the island.

Pendant lights are not only useful, but they also serve as a significant design feature that connects the entire kitchen.

When choosing pendant lights for your island, keep style, function, and the amount of lights in mind. Learn how to choose the best lights for your kitchen and look at our ideas below to get your creative juices flowing.

Choosing Kitchen Island Lighting

You don’t have to be an interior designer to choose the right lighting for your kitchen. Any decision you make for your home should be based on your aesthetic preferences. After all, you’re the one who has to live there.

That being said, if you’re looking for some pointers on how to choose pendant lights, here are a few things to consider.

Style of Light Fixture

Whatever lights you select should complement the overall design of your kitchen.

A sleek, modern design, for example, matches lights with basic lines and sharp corners. Pendants with wooden frames go well with a farmhouse theme. Chandeliers, on the other hand, add an unique touch to any room.

The materials used to hang the pendants are equally as significant as the fixtures themselves. Consider how the hardware used to hang your lights will look in your kitchen, whether it’s a bar, a chain, or something unique.

You want your pendant lights to stand out. Match them to your kitchen’s aesthetic, but don’t buy exact replicas of the rest of your kitchen lighting.

A very sophisticated overhead kitchen glass pendant light.

Pendant Size

How large your pendants depends on the size of your kitchen, the size of your island, and how many lights you want above your island.

Your pendant lights should be large enough to give you plenty of task lighting for food prep and cooking without overwhelming your island. They should cover the size of your island with enough room to leave 12″-18″ between each light.

Use painter’s tape on your countertop to measure how big lights will be with space between them to make sure they fit before you buy.

Certain factors such as your ceiling height and island height will determine how big you can go. Pendants should hang at least 30″ above the countertop to keep them out of the way while still providing plenty of lighting. If your family is particularly tall, you may have to hang them higher.

Light Bulbs

What kind of lightbulb you use in your pendant lights can change the effect they have on your island. Cool or warm? Bright or soft? These are things you want to test against your paint color and countertops to ensure you’re happy with the overall look.

More control is always better! Consider installing a dimmer for your pendant lights so you don’t always have to keep them on full brightness.

A farmhouse inspired kitchen interior with warm lighting.

How Many Lights Should You Hang Over Your Island?

The general rule of thumb for pendant lights and kitchen islands is the rule of three. This assumes that three groups are more appealing to the eye than two or four. But just like anything else, rules were made to be broken.

Smaller islands can’t always accommodate three lights without looking crowded. If you have a particularly large kitchen, you may want more lights as opposed to bigger lights.

Using two oversized pendant lights over each half of an island has come into fashion in recent years. If you opt for larger light fixtures like chandeliers, sometimes it’s better to stick to one piece that makes a dramatic impact.

9 Pendant Light Ideas for Islands

There are so many different styles of pendant lights that it would be impossible to give ideas for them all. But we can get you started with a bit of inspiration to take back to your kitchen so you can find the perfect pendant lights for you.

1. Glass Globes

These beautifully simple pendant lights follow the rule of three to cover a large surface area. Because they feature clear glass shades, they are virtually invisible in a clean white kitchen. They add plenty of light without taking anything away from the rest of the room.

If you’re worried about your kitchen looking cluttered, these lights are a great option to keep things open and airy.

A set of three very simple but elegant glass globe pendant light.

2. Long and Slim

If your kitchen has particularly high ceilings, long pendants are the perfect way to bring the light close enough to your island without having ridiculously long chains. The slender style of these shades keeps the lights from looking bulky despite their bigger size.

A sleek and modern high ceiling kitchen.

3. A Bar of Lights 

Instead of multiple pendant lights, a single fixture that holds multiple bulbs can light your entire island at once. The combination of metal and glass gives this hanging light a clean, sophisticated look that works well alongside the other fixtures in this beautiful kitchen.

A minimalist styled kitchen with complete appliances and an interesting overhead bar of lights.

4. Modern Cluster 

Cluster lights are stylistically interesting in a way that’s much more modern-day than your classic chandelier. You still get the benefit of one fixture with multiple lights, but the straight lines and dark metal keep this pendant light from looking like something out of a bygone era.

A luxury kitchen with lightwood, clean white and marble elements.

5. Stylish Statement

Here we have an example of two oversized pendants flanking a small island in the best way. The recessed lighting in the rest of the kitchen leaves plenty of space for these ornate globes to shine. Stand-out pieces like these will undoubtedly be the star of any kitchen.

A big glass globe pendant light above the kitchen sink.

6. Caged Candles

Caged or lantern-style pendant lights are unmistakable farmhouse chic. The lightweight metal frames make the perfect home for miniature chandeliers, which bring plenty of light for all of your kitchen activities along with their unique style.

A beautiful kitchen island with caged candles as chandeliers.

7. Dark Domes

The right dome lights pack a retro punch without getting in the way. They are clean and crisp without being sharp (and that smooth surface is easy to clean). Dark pendants in an otherwise bright white kitchen make an impact and perfectly match the backsplash and the black island stools to bring in plenty of contrast.

The use of dark dome-like pendant lights on a black and white kitchen.

8. Big and Bold

A long kitchen island requires significant lighting. So why not go big? This set of three pendants lights up the entire countertop with their large circular design. Getting them bigger means you don’t have to install a ton of lights, even if you want a huge island in your kitchen.

A modern kitchen with a long granite kitchen island and darkwood cabinetries.

9. Bare Bulbs

Exposed lightbulbs are loved for their simplicity. They are incredibly versatile, suiting styles from minimalism to industrial to vintage to farmhouse. Hanging a row of bulbs above your kitchen island shows you’re more interested in their purpose than their sense of style. 

Edison bulbs with a warm glow and their filaments exposed really work well in these scenarios. They can give a warm and moody feel to a kitchen. 

Just make sure the bulbs are strong enough to light your space properly!

Five bare or exposed lightbulbs as overhead kitchen pendant lights.
Sarah Wolfenstein
Sarah Wolfenstein is a mother of three and is skilled at DIY projects, design, and cleaning and organization. She never accepts a mediocre job - she is always challenging herself to make things appear better than even professionals with many years of training. Sarah has always strived for perfection in all her projects. She is also very active on Pinterest , where she posts tutorials, ideas, and home decorating tips that are simple enough to even be done at home by anyone with a moderate amount of experience doing basic DIYs.
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