How Many Lights Should Go Over a Kitchen Island? [Solved]

Last updated on April 10, 2024

In short, you’re looking at 2-3 pendants over the kitchen island. But it’s not set in stone, and the exact number depends on your needs and requirements.

kitchen island pendant lighting

The answer depends on who you ask. Some designers claim you should always have your kitchen pendants in threes. Others will say that 2 pendants over the island are ideal. The real answer is then different on a case-by-case basis. That is, you have to make this calculated decision yourself to find the ideal option.

This short guide will help you do that. We will choose the number of pendants of the maximum allowed size. Then we will consider the table size and the ceiling height to establish our choice.

Let’s get counting.

What's Inside

How Many Pendants?

kitchen island pendants

The number and placement of the pendants will be determined by the size of the table or countertop, for instance, an odd number over a dining table. It is most likely that they will be hanging around the middle to create focal points and balance.

Before deciding how many and what pendants to hang, consider the spacing between them. It can be the same as the dimensions of each fixture. For example, if you have 12-inch pendants, the space between each fixture should be about 12 inches. This is true even for fixtures hung at different heights.

Here’s a simple way to determine the allowable pendant size (measured by its shade size). While the shades come in several shapes (circle, globe, square, and so on), you need to measure them by their largest dimension.

If you want to hang pendant lamps over your kitchen island counter or dining room table, measure the width and length of the table. A rule of thumb is to have the maximum pendant size as the 25% of the table size. In the case of a 10 ft by 4 ft table, consider the maximum size of a 30-inch pendant.

Now, to determine how many pendants can fit over your kitchen island, divide the length of your table (inches) minus 12 inches by the allowable pendant size (determined previously), then divide that number by two again. This is the number of light fixtures or pendant lamps you can put on that particular surface.

For example, let’s say your table is 10 feet by 4 feet. The allowable pendant size would then be 30 inches. That means you can use pendants that are 30 inches in diameter. How many of them? Divide 120 inches (10 feet) minus 12 inches by 30 and then by 2, and you get 1.8. That means you can use 2 pendants sized 30 inches over this table.

Here are some things you should also think about when determining the number of pendants or lamps that would be appropriate for a certain area. The first consideration is the size of each pendant.

Generally, you want the dimensions to be small enough so that they do not extend beyond each side of a table’s length by more than 10 inches. But they shouldn’t be too large to be able to hang a desired number of pendants.

Pendant Light Size

The pendant light size should be based on the kitchen island size. After noticing an increase in the size of kitchen pendants and kitchen islands, it is important to know how to select the appropriate diameter of a light fixture properly.

Every designer has a different opinion on the measurements of pendant lights when an object like a kitchen island is illuminated. Kitchen islands are long, narrow rectangles that hang out in the middle of your kitchen.

This poses some challenges for designers because they may have to deal with measurements like width and length in furniture or wrong-sized lamps. You can do the math to find out how big the pendants should be.

A rule of thumb is using 25% of the length of the kitchen island to find the right-sized pendant light. If the kitchen island is 10 ft or 120 inches long, search for a 30-inch or 1 ft diameter or square pendant. If you have a 5ft or 60-inch long island, an ideal pendant would be no larger than 15 inches in width and height.

Pendant Light Length

The measurement from the floor to your ceiling is a proportional representation of what height you should buy a pendant light. Measuring from floor to installation point: multiply the number of feet by 2x and 3x number to determine the inch range appropriate for ceiling height.

The ideal height is 69-72 inches from the floor to the bottom of the pendant so that people can’t stare at a light bulb. If your ceilings are 10 ft, you can use the full 6 ft or 72 inches.

Distance Between Pendant Lights

The key is having a balanced source of light for task lighting. So if you have a long table and are placing 3 pendants on the table, use the following formula. The average distance (in inches) between two lights should be one-third of the way to the next light. The same rules apply when placing 4 pendants or more: calculate by one-fourth to ensure spacing is comfortable.

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