Pendant lighting is certainly a very stylish way of illuminating your kitchen, but when you use it above your kitchen island, the effect can be truly stunning – there aren’t many illumination ideas which can beat such a composition.
It’s important to remember that pendant lighting above your kitchen island is not only a good choice from the interior design point of view but also a very practical solution – it provides you with light just where you need it, directly on the kitchen island.
Still, choosing just the perfect pendant can be a tricky choice – there are plenty of them to choose from, and while that’s usually a good thing because we can pick one that perfectly matches the design of our kitchen, the choice can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I created this guide, in which we’ll try to narrow down the ideal pendant lighting, for every specific situation.
Pendant lights differ
Before you can start picking from the plethora of shapes and designs, we have to define your needs, because pendant lights come in different types, designed to suit specific needs.
For a direct beam of light – target lighting
Pendant lights designed to provide you with focused, pointed light are the ones to choose when you need a very direct, efficient source of light which can be pointed exactly where you need it to be.
Pendant lights from this group are best to be installed when you’re cooking a lot, and the rest of your kitchen illumination isn’t very effective at providing you with enough light – if you like to chop, cut or slash on the kitchen island, it’s crucial that you have enough of light for all these actions to be safe.
It’s important to remember not to choose too strong bulbs in the case of this kind of pendant lights, as the focused light can be just a bit too strong at times – we want the kitchen to be efficiently illuminated, without blinding you. To lower the output of the light, you can install a dimmer, or change the bulb and install a softer one.
General illumination of the whole kitchen
If you’re looking for the type of pendant lights to illuminate not only your kitchen island but also some other parts of your kitchen, then the ambient pendant lights are just what you need.
Not only are they great as a general source of light in your kitchen, but they are also awesome for creating the atmosphere and mood in the interior.
When deciding on a specific model of such pendant light, keep in mind that the deciding factor should be your actual needs and habits in the kitchen – whether are you a person who cooks a lot, or just someone who likes to sit around your kitchen island, spending time and socializing, will determine what it is that you really need.
For people who cook a lot on their kitchen islands, it’s better if the ambient pendant light is actually quite efficient at illuminating the kitchen island itself, as well as the surroundings. However, if you’re the latter type of a person, who likes to play around the kitchen island, not performing any serious, restaurant-style cooking there, the best type of ambient pendant light would be one that’s better at creating the atmosphere and dramatic effect around the island. If that’s the case, maybe you should consider adding a dimmer to the pendant light.
Underline the focal point of your kitchen
It’s quite natural for the kitchen island to be the focal point of your kitchen – that’s one of their characteristics, and it’s really hard to find a kitchen in which the kitchen island is unnoticeable. However, sometimes you might still want to expose the island even more than that, and there is no better way to do it than with a smart use of pendant lighting.
While the main functions of pendant lights are creating the atmosphere and providing you with an efficient and focused source of light when you cook, it can still be used to highlight the kitchen island – in which case, go for the pinpoint lights.
Such pendant lights will make sure that the attention of your guests is focused entirely on the luxurious, stunning material from which the countertop of your kitchen island has been created.
Don’t forget about the design of your lights
While the light itself helps you achieve a certain style in the interior, it’s important not to forget about the design of the light – pendant lights come in plenty of shapes and forms, which allows for a lot of diversity. I’m sure you can find pendant lights appropriate for every style, so don’t worry if your kitchen is not one of the super modern ones, there are pendant lights even for cottage style kitchens.
Pendant lights can either be cohesive with the design of the rest of your kitchen, or entirely different to make the kitchen feel more eclectic and interesting.
Is all-in-one pendant light even possible?
Some of you might be wondering if it’s possible to find a multi-purpose pendant light fixture which would accomplish more than just one of these tasks. Well, of course, to some degree.
While it’s generally easy to find a pendant light that can both be used as an element of decoration in itself, as well as an efficient light source, finding a light that’s both a general source of light and a focused, targeted lighting fixture is a bit harder.
The reason for this is, of course, the strength and angle of light output, which varies between the aforementioned types of light fixtures. However, you can manipulate that strength through the use of a dimmer, or find yourself a light fixture with the option of regulating the output of light.
Before you choose one, find out the correct height for it
The crucial aspect of pendant lighting is the height at which it should be installed, as that not only impacts the design in your kitchen and the amount of clear view between your kitchen island and the light, but also the strength of light and how comfortable it will be on your eyes.
Because of that, the perfect height at which your pendant light should be hanging is indicated by the role it should be playing – if you want the light to be a general, ambient kind of light, then it should be hanging higher, to illuminate more of your kitchen, for example.
Focused, targeted pendant light fixture shouldn’t be too far from your kitchen island, as it’s the main role is to cast a strong, focused beam of light exactly where you need it to be cast – that’s why it’s generally best to hang such a pendant no higher than around 30 inches above your countertop. However, being so low, it can obtrusive your view range, so try to pick one that’s gentle on the eyes and slim, not to bother you when you’re talking or just standing next to your kitchen island.
It’s also important to remember that if you were to install such a task light too high, then you’d be able to see the bulb itself – and given the strength of light it emits, that wouldn’t be too comfortable for your eyes. Still, it’s possible to install light pendants higher, but then the design of the fixture has to be appropriate for that situation – the frame should be longer and narrow, to hide the source of light from your eyes.
When it comes to the decorative types of pendant lights, in which case the main deciding factor would be the design and now really how efficient it is at illuminating your kitchen and the kitchen island, there is a bit more of a leeway – you can hang it at any height that seems appealing to you, as long as it’s not blinding you when you cook. Just use a dimmer or a bulb that emits a more gentle light beam, to avoid any problems.
When talking about the decorative pendant lights, there is one more important aspect to them – the chain. Most of them come with a decorative chain which can be an important design element in itself, in which case you will most likely want to expose this chain for an additional effect.
As the general rule for hanging pendant lights is that they should be hanging around 14 inches below the ceiling, this might become a problem if the chain is either too long or too short – some decorative pendant lights are designed for high ceiling interiors, in which case the chains are longer than standard. Make sure you get yourself a decorative pendant with a chain of a proper length if you will want to expose it fully – buying a high ceiling pendant for a standard interior is something to avoid.
How to make it work design-wise?
Pendant lights generally carry a lot of visual weight, which means that they draw a lot of attention – which is a good thing if you want them to become the focal point of your kitchen, in the department of light fixtures, but can be potentially dangerous if you’d like it to be a more subtle source of light, with a chandelier or something else playing the main role.
Because of these chances and dangers, it’s crucial that you pick just the correct pendant light for your needs. Basically, you can either expose the pendant or try to hide it among other elements of your kitchen. How to achieve such effects?
Using more than one light pendant is a good way of achieving just the effect that you want – this way, you can either contrast them, which will make them more visible or to the opposite to create the feeling that they are nothing special.
Think about chairs, for example – if you use one chair of a very bold color in the room, it will instantly become the focal accent point of your interior, but if you add another, they both become less visible.
Heavy or slim?
Pendant lights come in plenty of shapes, but two most popular types are the very heavy, big pendants and the exact opposite, slim fixtures. Both have their ups and downs, of course.
If you’re looking for something to underline the style of your kitchen, it can be a good idea to go with the heavy, wide pendants – nothing enhances an industrial better than the copper, big pendants. Check out the photo attached to see for yourself what I’m talking about.
However, as I’ve said, there are also slim types of pendants, which aren’t that dependent on the interior design of the rest of your kitchen, and these can be used in a kitchen of any sort.
That’s not the only thing you should be thinking about when choosing between the heavy and subtle type of a light pendant – remember that a large kitchen pendant will show some of its inner side, in which case you should choose one with a rich finish on the inside – copper being the most popular, but that’s not your only option.
If you ain’t sure, go with the classic look
Most of the aforementioned types and shapes are pretty bold, which means they would alter the way your kitchen looks entirely. For those of you who aren’t very convinced yet whether pendant lights are for them or not, I’d advice to start slow – pick a gentle, subtle pendant, and see if you like it.
If that’s how things are with you, look for a minimalistic, subtle pendant, cohesive with the style of your kitchen both in color as in shape – this way, it won’t be the focal point of your kitchen, and the visual weight of such a pendant will be lower than that of your kitchen island, which will push the pendant to the background.
That’s it for today – I hope this guide managed to shed some light on the matter of choosing the correct pendant lighting for your kitchen. Let me know in the comments if there is anything I’ve missed!