The kitchen is the hardest-working room in your home—and your kitchen island is at the center of it all. From serving as a casual gathering spot for your family to meal prep—make sure your island is illuminated with layers of light that spotlight every role it needs to play.
Keep the layout of your kitchen in mind when selecting pendants to hang over your island. With an open-concept kitchen that is connected to your living or dining areas, it is also important to look at the space and consider every visible fixture. Coordinating all your lighting can help create a more cohesive look. Once you select a style that works with your aesthetic, there are still some other important points to consider. Here’s what you need to know to make sure that your kitchen island is getting all the light it needs.
Determine Size & Scale
Start by figuring out how many lights you’ll want to hang over your kitchen island—this is determined by the size of your island, and your aesthetic preferences.
● When using multiples, choose a simple style so that they don’t overwhelm your space.
● When hanging more than one pendant, your electrician will need to install junction boxes for each light—unless you use a multipendant like our Edendale Clear Glass 3-Light.
Consider Shade Styles
Shade style affects the amount of light a pendant provides. Here's our breakdown of how each type of shade changes the amount of light your space receives:
Metal shades: These durable shades provide focused light that is great to highlight specific tasks like food prep.
Glass shades: If you are looking for ambient light to brighten your entire space, glass is a perfect option. Choose between opal glass shades that diffuse light or clear glass shades that project light and allow you the chance to showcase a decorative bulb.
Linen shades: Linen shades add a refined look and give off a soft, relaxing light. Because linen naturally diffuses light, choose a bulb with a higher amount of lumens in order to properly light the space.
Check Your Lumens
Another way to determine how much light your space needs is by looking at lumens—the amount of light emitted by the bulb—which might affect how many fixtures you decide to use above your island. Unlike wattage, lumens are the most accurate way to determine the output of light in a space because they measure a fixture's overall brightness.
We recommend providing anywhere from 35 to 50 lumens per square foot of island. The higher or lower end of that range depends on the size of your space, other lighting in the room, and the ambiance you're looking for.
Example: For a 15-square-foot island, you need between 535—750 lumens. A 60-watt bulb produces about 800 lumens. This means that one 60-watt bulb—or two for brighter light—above your island will give you enough light, or you could use 3-4 smaller lights with lower wattage bulbs.
Whether it's an exposed bulb fixture or a standard shade, the right light bulb provides the ideal finishing touch to any light fixture. Explore our selection of light bulbs.
Measure Your Space
Before ordering, it is important to make sure that you are measuring your space correctly so that you order the right light—especially if your lights are custom made. Here are some of our top tips to help you properly hang your pendants. Remember, exact measurements are a personal decision and can depend on the size and scale of the lights that you choose.
● We recommend that lights should sit around 30 to 36 inches above your countertop.
● If you have multiple pendants, 26-30 inches is the ideal distance (with a minimum of 24 inches) between pendants so that light is evenly distributed.
● Leave at least six inches between the edge of the island and your first pendant on either side. And at least 12 inches from the edge of the island to the light fixture.
● The overall length of our lights includes the shade.
Test out your measurements by hanging a piece of paper or a balloon from a string taped to the ceiling—this will help you visualize how much space the light will take up and the right distance it should be from the floor or your workspace.
Find timeless selection of pendants , chandeliers, and everything else you need to light your kitchen island. Plus, learn about lighting other areas of the home like your dining room, bedroom, or outdoor spaces. If you need additional guidance determining how to light your space, our Design Crew is always here to help.