Tribeca Apartment: modern Kitchen by Sarah Jefferys Design

Pendant lights over island installations: a new trend

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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There's a new trend exploding in the kitchen design world and it's installing pendant lights over island kitchen island counters. Pendant lighting is not only elegant, stylish and utterly incredible to behold, it also offers a very practical application in the form of targeted lighting where it is needed most in a busy kitchen.

As with any new trend, installing pendant lights has come about as a form of evolutionary design, thanks to kitchen islands becoming one of the most sought after inclusions in busy home spaces. Not only are islands popular because of the added practicality they bring to a food prep area, they have been doing double-duty and providing an informal dining surface too, in the form of pretty breakfast bars, which is all well and good in the morning, but can be an issue at night. 

Who wants to sit down to a meal that they can't actually see very well? This might be a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables, but for everyone else, part of the joy of sitting down to a meal is being able to enjoy the full sensory experience and while flush-fit spotlights would add a lot of illumination, it won't be targeted, which is why pendants have burst onto the kitchen design scheme.

We've put together this handy guide to answer any and all questions about kitchen pendant lighting, to help with more informed decision-making.

How to install pendant lights.

Over bar lighting is, as we've already stated, a terrifically sensible and practical idea but if the installation process is exceptionally tricky or time-consuming, is it actually worth it? We would always recommend hiring a qualified lighting team to install any pendant lights, especially if the kitchen is already finished and the ceiling has been plastered. Electricity is not something for amateurs to be messing about with.

A pertinent question that's often asked is how high to hang pendant lights over island counters. Anything between 28 and 34 inches seems to be the general rule, to allow for enough head room. This could scupper people with very low ceilings, but flex and cords can always be shortened, to account for a specific room. 

Consider the rule of three with pendant lights.

Above island lighting is subject to something that a lot of other decorating elements are; the golden rule of three. It has been said, by many interior designers, that for a well-rounded and proportional room layout, items should be installed in multiples of three and as you can see here, it really does apply to pendant lighting as well. 

Of course, how many pendant lights over island counters is still a matter of personal preference, not to mention a case of dimensions as well, but if three can be squeezed in, without looking too crowded, it is worth trying to do so. Essentially, three lights will make sure that each end is fully illuminated, as well as the all-important central section of countertop.

Make sure pendant lights match the wider kitchen.

Peabody Loft and Studio: modern Kitchen by SA-DA Architecture
SA-DA Architecture

Peabody Loft and Studio

SA-DA Architecture

Above counter lighting should never be considered as an independent facet of a kitchen, as it will really stand out if it doesn't work with the other design elements. Lighting, especially really striking varieties that hang almost at eye-level, need to tie in with nearby pieces of furniture and hardware and in the case of a kitchen, the island counter material and taps are going to be the most impactful neighbors.

A good rule of thumb, when in doubt, is to choose very simplistic pendent lights, perhaps with clear glass shades, as they will almost melt into the background, instead of sticking out.

Vintage pendant lights are a trend unto themselves.

For homeowners that love to stay ahead of the curve in terms of interior design fashions, vintage pendant lights are an absolute must-have item for above the central island. They don't even need to be hung in a space that has been decorated in a retro style, as they can offer just the right amount of contrast to highlight an otherwise contemporary space, but of course, a traditional kitchen will always look extra considered with antique elements included.

Vintage pendants tend to include decorative metalwork and artisan glass and what could be more wonderful than enjoying a meal underneath such distinctive craftsmanship?

Industrial pendant lights work everywhere.

Kitchens: modern Kitchen by Clean Design

Always aim to have a consistent stream of light flowing over the island counter and when in doubt, choose lamps that can be adjusted. Reclaimed industrial items are usually simple to operate, easy to adjust and have been built specifically to maximize the intensity of the beam. They also happen to look strikingly beautiful as well.

Pendant light placement might sound like a very simple issue, after all, they just go directly above the kitchen island, don't they? Well, placement will depend a lot on the styles of lamps being installed, as well as the number of them too, so it's not as straightforward as it might initially seem, but industrial designs can make the process easier.

Colored pendant lights add a certain something.

Lighting ideas might not seem to be all that varied, in terms of what will work as a pendulum over a kitchen island, but how about adding some color into the mix, just for fun? This is an idea that can work especially well in a smaller kitchen, in a bid to liven things up a little, while also giving a nod to perhaps the accent hue in other parts of the room. 

In a small kitchen, large accessories need to be kept to a minimum, in order to maintain an unfussy and clutter-free aesthetic, but if pendant lights are an absolute must, colored glass shades will create a beautiful focal point. 

Do you think that kitchen pendant lights are a perfect idea for your home?
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