Lighting Your Kitchen: A Guide to Pendant Lights

Lighting Your Kitchen: A Guide to Pendant Lights

Pendant lights have become a staple in the kitchen, acting as a great light source and beautiful decorative pieces. Whether you’re renovating your kitchen or replacing your lights, here is your comprehensive guide on kitchen pendants!

How big should the pendant lights be?

For kitchen islands, bigger pendants tend to look best since they create an eye-catching focal point. To estimate the maximum pendant size for your kitchen, subtract 12” from the width of your island (in inches). For example, if your kitchen island is 27” wide, we suggest using a pendant light 15” (or smaller) in width.

Island Width (in) - 12" = Max. Pendant Width (in)

Kitchen Pendant Size

How high above the counter should the pendant lights hang?

We recommend leaving about 30”-36” between the base of the pendant light and the countertop. This is to ensure that the pendant lights do not hang in your line of sight when you are sitting or standing next to the kitchen island.

How much space do I leave between each fixture?

Generally, 30” of space between each pendant looks best. For smaller pendants, it is recommended to leave double the width of each pendant. For example, if your pendant is 12” wide, the pendants can be 24” apart. 

Diagram of Pendant Placements and Measurements

How much space do I leave on the edge?

We advise leaving a clearance of about 6-10” between the edge of the island and the light.

Clearance between kitchen counter and pendant

How many pendant lights do I need?

The number of pendant lights you install depends on the length of your kitchen island.

Small vs. Large Islands

A general rule of thumb is to select fewer pendants for shorter islands and more pendants for longer islands.

Large vs. Small Pendants

We also recommend selecting less pendants if each light has a larger width and more pendants if each light has a smaller width.

Refer to the table below for our recommendations:

 Kitchen Island Length
Recommended Number of Pendants







10ft or more

3 or more


For smaller islands (less than 5ft), you can use two smaller pendants. One large pendant would also look great above a small island.

Small island options

For an 8-9ft island, you can consider 2 or 3 pendants. Two larger pendants will typically provide adequate light for your kitchen island. Depending on the size of the pendants, three smaller lights will also be suitable. The “rule of three” is a popular design rule stating that odd numbers are more visually appealing, however, when it comes to your kitchen, it’s up to your preference!

2 vs. 3 Kitchen Pendant Lights

Pro Tip: You may find it helpful to place helium balloons (about the size of your desired pendants) on your counter, then standing back at a distance to get an idea of what the lights will look like.


Now you are ready to choose your kitchen pendants! Take a look at our pendant lights here. We have a variety of pendant lights for all styles. You can also check out our blog on Picking the Perfect Kitchen Pendant for more ideas.

Feeling inspired? If you'd like to consult our team of experts, contact us! We're more than happy to answer questions and support you in your next lighting project.