1 In Decor/ Design/ Kitchen

Kitchen Island Lighting Guide

kitchen island lighting guide

Today I am addressing a common question posed to designers. How many, how big, how far apart and how high should the lights be over my island? Okay, that’s really four questions, isn’t it? And the answer is…it depends. First of all, let’s throw out the rules! Instead, let’s think about what makes sense in your home. There are a lot of things to consider.

1. The size of your island.

The bigger your island, the bigger your lights can be. Think about scale. Currently, we are finalizing the plans for our remodel with our architect. We are going to have a large island (8′ 6″), which means we need large scale lighting. The trend used to be three lights over an island, but now a lot of designers are going with two larger pendants or even one very large pendant. There really is no right or wrong. It is about your personal preference.

2. Obstructions/view

If you like to watch television while you cook, think about how the lighting will work in your space.

3. The type of space.

Is your floor plan open or closed? If you have an open floor plan and a large dining table next to your island. Think about the fixture over your table and how your island fixtures will work in the same space. You want the fixtures to complement each other and not compete with each other. If you have an intricate fixture over your table, you might want to keep the lighting over your island simple.

4. Tall Family?

If your family is above average height, then you might want to go higher then the general rule when it comes to how high you will hang your fixtures.

The General Guide

The measurements that work in most spaces are to allow a minimum of 12″ – 18″ on each edge and in between fixtures. The lights are typically hung 30″ x 36″ above counter tops. Keep in mind if you are hanging lights above a bar height counter top, you want to make sure the lights are not too low.

Below are a couple of examples of two different lighting configurations. The first shows two larger lights.

island 1

**If your island is longer, and you only have two lights, as above, you will want to add more space between your fixtures. In our renovation, my island is just over 9 feet long and we have two 24″ wide fixtures set at about 28″ apart.

And here is the same island with 3 smaller light fixtures.


Below are some photos of beautiful kitchen islands for inspiration for your kitchen remodel or build.

studio mcgee 2

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee.

stduio mcgee island

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee.

fixer upper

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Market.

veranda interiors

Photo courtesy of Veranda Interiors.

mollie kitchen

Photo courtesy of my instagram friend, Mollie at Design Loves Detail.

ashley gilbreath

Photo courtesy of The Lettered Cottage.

brook w island

Photo courtesy of Brook Wagner Design.

house of jade

Photo courtesy of House of Jade Interiors.

Above, is my kitchen design plan for our own renovation. You can see the plan here. I am going to share my own island pendants and kitchen photos soon from my completed renovation soon. Follow our renovation here.

UPDATE…Below is a photo of our renovation.

These are spaced about 28″ apart because we have a long island and they need to be set wider to be balanced above it. More photos of the kitchen in the full reveal coming soon. Stay tuned!

Coming later this week… my favorite kitchen pendants.


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  • 17 Great Kitchen Island Lights
    February 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    […] some of my favorite kitchen island lights. For kitchen island light spacing, see my previous post, Kitchen Island Lighting Guide. I am doing shopping for my own remodel and it has been fun because there is such a wide selection […]