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Getting your kitchen island lighting right

Your kitchen island is almost certainly going to need pendant lighting, especially if it is the main area for cooking, eating and entertaining. The island is the gathering place for hosts and guests, parents and children, the generous cook and the eager other half waiting for a delicious meal. It’s the place you go to straight after a long day at work, to crack open a bottle of wine and talk the day through. But with so many lighting choices, how to decide which options to pick? One, two or three, glass, metal, or fabric? Read on for five important considerations while navigating the choice of kitchen island pendants!

1. Consider the use of your island. This will depend on whether you’ve gone for a hob or a sink – always a never-ending debate in client meetings! If you choose to put in a hob, you must absolutely reconsider any fabric or clear glass pendants above your island. Even with a good extraction fan you will end up regretting these when it comes to cleaning!

2. Decide if the space will work with a skylight or coffer. It often transpires that the decision to put either of these in is made before the kitchen layout is even considered. This can lead to disaster when you finally reach the interior design stage. As early as your build planning, consider if either a skylight or coffer will work if not placed centrally, without limiting your availability to position pendants essential to the symmetry of the kitchen. A skylight could work just as well if centred over your hob in sink instead, leaving the area over your island seating free for lighting features. Click through to our Sunningdale project to see a great creative example of how to resolve this issue, also shown in the image below:

An open plan kitchen with a kitchen island, inbuilt hob, skylight and pendant lighting. Bar stools surround the island.

3. Choosing how many to install. The rule of three is always the go-to, however you must firstly ensure that that your island is big enough to accommodate three reasonably sized pendants. Pendants are a feature and small, subtle pendants are often lost within the detail and colour of the kitchen backdrop. True chandeliers are a rare feature in a kitchen, but a single linear pendant can be a modern and sleek design feature.

4. Hanging height. The average is around 30 to 36 inches above your work surface. However the joinery heights, ceiling heights, and general island use all need to be factored in when planning your interior architecture. We would always suggest installing your kitchen pendants last and holding them up before fitting to establish the right height by eye. Demonstrated below by our designers!

5. Definitely choose dimmable. We would always recommend installing lights which can be operated on a dimmer switch. As we mentioned at the start of this post, your island could be the hub of all kitchen activity. Dimmable bulbs will permit you to change the ambience of the room dependent on if you are cooking, eating, entertaining or unwinding.

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