How to Choose Pendant Lights for Your Kitchen Island

Lighting a kitchen island is a subject matter of infinite worry and speculation, but it should not be a subject which involves so much uncertainty.

Having a good understanding about the three main types of lighting for home is very helpful: (1) ambient lighting, this is the general lighting provided by ceiling lights and some lights mounted on the wall; (2) accent lighting, this type of lighting draws attention to a certain special feature of a room; and (3) task lighting, this involves under-cover lights and pendants.

In a working area like the kitchen, task lighting plays a very important role that is difficult to overstate. Pendant lights, particularly when they are hanging over a kitchen island, could be an attention grabber and the focal point of the room. Even though each room in the house and the lighting goal are different, here are some tips and guidelines on how to use pendant lights well.

The “rule of three” is the basic rule most interior designers use when it comes to lighting the kitchen island. By repeating a certain element three times, you can easily achieve balance. It can also be referred to as the “rule of odd numbers.” The human brain is a pattern-recognition machine, and one of the most basic patterns the brain recognizes is an odd number. In some kitchens, there are three pendants lights over the kitchen island and then a fourth coordinating pendant over the kitchen sink. The lighting is balanced because the three pendant lights suspended over the island are on one plane, and the other pendant over the kitchen sink is on another plane all together.

But sometimes, the rule of three is not applied. In some modern kitchens with a smaller island, there are two but larger pendant lights. The two pendants illuminate the kitchen island, and they are big enough that three pendants would already be overwhelming. The amount of light you need and the size of the pendant lights you are using trumps the rule of three or other rules.

Sometimes, pendants are an excellent way to incorporate some interest and colour. Fancy, pretty, and/or colourful pendants over an island can become the focal point of a kitchen, especially if the room is neutral. Sometimes, pendants are not really pendants at all. In few kitchens there are articulated arm lamps mounted over the side of the island, and provide effective and flexible task lighting.