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Choosing and Hanging a Pendant


One of the most popular and cost effective ways to upgrade a kitchen is to replace recessed lights or builder grade pendants over the island or peninsula.  Dollar for dollar, no other upgrade has the same impact or ability to showcase style, while providing task lighting exactly where needed.

Assess the Room

First, look at the room.  Is it light and airy?  Narrow and dark?  Scandinavian modern or traditional Americana?  Choose a pendant that doesn’t overwhelm the space or get lost in it.  Try to scale closely to the surface under it – whether a dining table or island. When it comes to lights hanging above counter tops, remember, a pendant light is there primarily as a task light, even if it adds a decorative touch to the space.

Clear glass pendants are extremely popular because they allow guests to see through them when off and provide illumination throughout the entire room when on.

Metal shade pendants direct light primarily downwards and provide a powerful accent.  Chrome, brushed nickel and black shades are all popular choices.

How Many and How High?

One of the most frequently asked question asked of lighting manufacturers is:  “How many pendants should be placed above a kitchen island?”  An oft repeated maxim is the rule of threes – which is a good starting point.  Odd numbers do tend to provide balance, but sometimes two eye catching pendants are all a space requires.  If using the rule of three, try to keep the bulbs approximately 24-30 inches apart, so a standard 8 foot island would take three pendants.

Hanging height is another common question.  The typical recommendation is to hang pendants 30 inches above a countertop, with higher ceiling heights calling for a greater space between the bottom of the pendant and the counter.  For standard 36 inch counters, we recommend the bottom of the pendant be 66 inches from the floor to the bottom of the pendant, while 11 foot ceilings should have the bottom of the pendant approximately 75 inches from the floor. When it comes to lights hanging above counter tops, the pendant is there primarily as a task light, even as it adds its decorative touch to the area.