How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island

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Ever since Brett and I installed the kitchen island pendant lights, the most frequent question I got asked by every person who visited was this: “Nadya, how did you figure out the spacing?” or “What should the spacing of pendant lights over the kitchen island be?”

Of course, a lot of cross-questioning follows. How many feet is your kitchen island? Are your pendant lights oversized, or smaller? What’s the scale of your fixture? What’s the general ‘feel’ of your kitchen?

The entire process leads to me knowing more about my family and friend’s kitchen island measurements than even they do themselves. And I’m pretty sure most people regret asking the question in the first place.

Kitchens are the souls of your home, and you and your family will make tons of lovely memories here; the ambiance needs to be just right.So, here we go: a resourceful guide to kitchen island pendant light spacing.

How Far Apart Should You Put Pendant Lights Over An Island in The Kitchen?

The reason that I have always found myself at my wit’s end when answering this question is that it has no right answer. The truth is that it depends.

  • The kind of pendant lights you have over your island; task, ambient, accent, or decorative?
  • The height of the lights from the table top.
  • The number of pendant lights that you want to hang over your kitchen island; more lights means less distance in between them and vice versa. The length of your kitchen island; short islands means less distance between the pendants and vice versa

The Number of Pendant LightsNumber of pendant lights

Image Credit: blog.architectdesignlighting.com

The ArchitectDesignLighting Blog explained it perfectly with this illustration. Consider the brown texture your kitchen island, and the white dots the pendant lights. Both the illustrated kitchen islands are the same size, but look different because of the number of the pendant lights.

One thing you notice almost instantly is that no matter the number of lights, you have to place an equal distance in between them.

If your island is 30 inches, and you have two pendant lights then you should place them 15 inches from each other. If you have 3 pendant lights, place them 10 inches from each other. 

pendant light fixtures
Image credit: 3adesignstudio.com

You can pick out two to three classic big pendants , or a mini pendants or a  cluster  of classic mini pendants  .

The Size and Diameter of Your Pendant Lights

multi-light pendants
Image credit: lightology.com
tech-lighting
Image credit: lightology.com

The size of the pendant lights, and the diameter of the fixture determines how much space each pendant light would take. The PieceAndPalette summed the technical details about pendant diameters.  

  • The distance between each of the pendants in the cluster must be large and equal. As you would assume, a larger diameter means larger distance in between the lights and the number of lights would be smaller as well. If you’ve picked out large-fixture lights, then they’d probably either be one to three in number.
  • The distance between each of the pendants in the cluster must be small and equal. On the contrary, cluster pendants of smaller diameter means the lights would take up less space, and would be larger in number. People who pick small-fixture lights often pick out three to five lights, because two would be so small that they would lose their illuminating function and probably get lost in the room. 

The Size of Your Kitchen Island

This is a pretty obvious factor that plays in: the bigger your island size, the bigger the distance in between the pendant lights hanging over it.

How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island: Distance of Island Lights
Image credit: freshome.com

Plus, the number of lights also increases with an increase in the length of the table, so that every edge of the table is lit up.

How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island: 5 foot long kitchen island
Image credit: colecreates.com

Here’s a handy formula to remember here:

(Size of Kitchen Island in Inches) / (Number of Pendant Lights) = The Distance Between the  Lights

The three major island sizes to consider are these: 5 feet, 7 feet, and 8 feet kitchen islands. All of these come with a different combination of light diameters, and I’ll give you a general idea of how the measurement process will go.

How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island: Multiple Roles of the Kitchen Island
Image credit: blog.buildllc.com

It’s Simple Math!

If you have multiple fixtures, let’s say 3, then you can divide that number with 60 inches (5 feet). You will find that the ideal distance to put between your pendant lights when you have a 5 feet kitchen island is 15 inches because:

(60 inches) / 3 = 20 inches

Same would apply for pendant light spacing over a 7-foot kitchen island (84 inches) and an 8-foot island (96 inches)

Remember!Add a clearance of about 12 inches on either ends of the island; your taller family members will thank you

The Distance Between the Pendant Lights and the Top of the Island

The distance between the pendant lights, and the table top plays some role in determining how far apart should pendant lights be over a kitchen island – although the role is minor.

How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island: Pendant Light Distance
Image credit: clairebellastudioblog.com

If you have a small-sized bundle of pendant lights, you would place them somewhat closer to the table for better illumination.

Of course, a smaller diameter of the pendant lights also means that they are much closer together with their large-fixture counterparts.

On the contrary, a bigger fixture that’s closer to the ceiling than the table top would mean that the light would be more spread. In this case, you should place the pendant lights closer to each other, but hanging them low means placing a wider gap between them.

Ideally, the distance should be somewhere between 30-40 inches. Here’s a helpful video on measuring the distance between the ends of the pendant light, and the table top.

Other Helpful Designing Tips

  1. Your tall family members have slightly different needs than yours. If the lights are too low, they will block the view. Plus, hanging your fixtures closer to the ceiling might mean lesser distance between them, so keep that in mind.
  2. The desired light intensity is another factor that plays into how far you place the lights from the tabletop. If you would like the entire room to be nice, warm and bright, then place the lights closer to the ceiling. If you just want to draw focus to the
  3. One thing to keep in mind when hanging the pendant lights would be to add a clearance of about 12 inches on either ends of the island; your taller family members will thank you!

Conclusion

Ask me how far apart should pendant lights be over an island in the kitchen, and I still would not have a one-word answer.

But if you have to make an approximate guess, then this is it: For most spaces, a distance of 12 inches in between the pendant lights over the kitchen island would be perfect, with the distance from the counter top being 30-35 inches.

However, if you are a fan of customizing your house the way Brett and I are, then you might want to grab some calculators and inch tapes and start punching in the numbers because that value will not work.

The ClaireBellaStudioBlog illustrated it right:

How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island: proper measurement
Image credit: clairebellastudioblog.com

So, here’s what you should do

  1. Figure out the number of lights you want to hang. You can pick out two to three classic big pendants , or a mini pendants or a cluster  of classic mini pendants .
  2. Measure the size of your kitchen island using this formula:

(Size of Kitchen Island in Inches) / (Number of Pendant Lights) = The Distance Between the  Lights

  1. Hang the lights!

It is that simple once you get past the technicalities. I hope that helped, but if you’re still scratching your head over some itsy bitsy details, leave a comment below and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island pin

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Last update on 2020-12-03 at 23:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4 thoughts on “How Far Apart Should Pendant Lights Be Over An Island In The Kitchen? A Guide to Spacing Pendant Lights Over Kitchen Island”

  1. Kudos on sharing the formulary but I think the accurate math would be: length of the island / (number of pendants + 1). Otherwise your last pendant will end up on the very edge of the island.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for writing this in depth post about just how far the pendants lights on my kitchen island should be.
    Your formula for calculating the perfect distance is a godsend (Size of Kitchen Island in Inches) / (Number of Pendant Lights) = The Distance Between the Lights. I will try this out on the weekend. On another note, about Eco friendly lighting, I’m a bit confused about what would be best, I have some led bulbs for my fixtures should I get all my bulbs changed to led or will CFL bulbs be better?

    Reply

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