Today we wanted to share some tips with you on how to correctly hang pendant lights over an island and a round-up of some of our favorite pendant lights on the market right now.  One of the keys to a well-design home is layered lighting.  You want lighting from different source and coming from different heights.  Pendants over the island are a great way to provide task lighting, while serving as visual and design focal points in a room.  When we are selecting and hanging pendant lights over an island there are a couple of rules of thumb that we use to make sure the lights are sized, spaced and hung appropriately.  In general, pendant lights over an island should hang 28-34 inches above the countertop of the island.  This height provides a close enough light source without people bumping their heads on them or staring straight into the light source.

DESIGNER TIP:  Make sure before you determine the final height of your pendants that you need to consider your sight lines into and out of the kitchen.  You may need to adjust the height of the pendant lighting to insure that you are not obstructing sight lines.


circa lighting two pendant - HOW TO HANG PENDANT LIGHTS OVER AN ISLAND by popular home design blogger E.INTERIORS

After you have determined the height to hang your pendants over an island, you need to determine what size pendant light to use, how many to use, and how  far to space them.  As a general rule of thumb, measure the width of the island and subtract by 12 to determine the maximum width your lighting should be.

DESIGNER TIP:  Keep in mind that the busier or more complex the design of your light, the larger it will appear so you may need to scale yours down some.  You want to space your pendants approximately two feet apart.  That means that if you have a smaller island that is in the 4-5 foot range you need two small or two medium pendants.  If you have a larger island, you will need three medium or three large pendants.

circa 3 - HOW TO HANG PENDANT LIGHTS OVER AN ISLAND by popular home design blogger E.INTERIORS

For spacing your pendant lights over an island, you first want to find the center point of the island.  For a smaller island that only requires two pendants, you want to find the center point and then space the lights 30-36 inches apart with the widest part of the pendant being 30 inches from the other pendant.  If you have a larger island that requires three pendants, you want to hang the first pendant directly over the midline of the island.  Once the middle pendant is established, hang the other two at least 30 inches apart.

We also wanted to share with you guys a round-up of our favorite pendant lights.


Pendant Lighting_edited-1 - HOW TO HANG PENDANT LIGHTS OVER AN ISLAND by popular home design blogger E.INTERIORS

No. 01|No. 02|No.03|No. 04|No.05|No.06|No. 07|No. 08|No.09



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    • Anyone else looking for this, I found at least 6″ from the edge and no more than 18. I would think 9″ is optimal as many eating bars are designed to be 18″ deep.

  • 10’ Island with sink dead center looking into family room. I don’t want to block sight line from sink. Is it ok to go with two large pendants balanced on each end of island instead of x3 across?

  • I understand the comments : the eye level of a tall person 6.6 ft tall should be able to look below the level of the lamp shade or cap , in that case the height above the counter may have top be 6 ft minimum above the floor and likely 3 ft above the counter!
    Our counter is 15 ft wide and we don’t want more than 3 lights: the distance we plan on using is 50″ between hanging lights (on center)
    Also we would like to hang the lamps a bit away from the center of the cabinets for example on a 40″ width 24″ from the front and 16″ from the back. We believe that it looks better , because there are 3 strong lamps in the ceiling above the center of the walkway between the counters.

  • We have an island 108” x 40” at its widest point – the granite curves out to 40’ deep. Do we center the pendants at the center of the base of the island which are about 31” 0r off the 40”

    • I have similar problem. cabinets are 8′ and centered in the space. Granite extends another 12 inches to one side. Don’t know whether to center over cabinets or center or granite.

  • Thanks for the useful info. I am having a big dilemma with my pendant light selection. I have to choose between a 7″ diameter bowl light, or a 12 inch diameter bowl light over an 80 inch long peninsula. The holes are 36 inches apart, meaning the 12 inch bowls will be 24 inches from touching each other. Is this too close? Is 12″ too big for this peninsula? Is it better to have the 7 inch one, which may be too small? Thanks a bunch!

  • Thank you for the information about how to space pendants apart from each other.

    I have a question regarding the placement of pendants across the width of the island. In the pictures I’ve viewed, it seems they are closer to where stools or chairs would be placed. Is this the rule of thumb? I’m not sure I’m having counter stools, so if my island is purely for prep, does that mean I center the pendants both lengthwise AND width wise ?

    Thank you so much!

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  • I need help as well…but I’m confused by all of the comments above (so I apologize if this has already been answered)…I have an island that is 74″ long and appx. 40″ wide. I picked out two pendants that are each 10″ in diameter…my questions are:

    1. Do I use 2 or 3 pendants?
    2. If I use 2…how far should I space them?
    3. If I use 3…how far should I space them?

    We have installed 2 can lights in the kitchen area and 6 can lights in our living room…so the pendants are more for decorative purposes versus lighting.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Did you ever get a response? My island is 76″ long but only 28″ wide (sort of long/narrow), but the pendant lights I chose are 10″ in diameter (clear glass). I want to hang 3 because I like the balance, but don’t want it to look too crowded. What did you end up doing with yours?

  • Confused. Article says keep pendants 2 feet apart. And in previous paragraph and in diagram, it says 30″ apart. And in lady paragraph, article states 30-36″ apart. Which is best? 24″ or 30″ or 36″? Haven’t opened my pendant box yet, but believe they are 6.5″ wide. I have a 90″ island with approx 2.5-3″ countertop overhang. A sink will be in center of the 92.5″ length. How many pendants should I do (given each is 6.5″ wide), and how should I space them?