“Should I choose a pendant or an island light?” When picking out a lighting fixture, particularly for the kitchen, this can be a common question. To help with your choice, we’ve created an overview of the benefits of each fixture along with their installation guidelines below. (The following is excerpted from “The Lighting Look Book” by Littman Brands, which can be viewed here.)
Perhaps the most versatile of all decorative lighting fixtures, pendants can be as glamorous as a chandelier, as understated as a wall sconce, or as functional as a floor lamp. They can be used to provide task, ambient, and accent illumination depending on the use and location. In addition, the more compact profile of pendants allows for greater pairing and clustering possibilities.
In foyers, the diameter of the fixture should be equal in inches to the sum of the room’s width and length – and should hang at least 7’ from the floor.
For kitchen islands, leave about 30-32” from the countertop to the pendant base.
Island lights provide a single-fixture option for lighting across kitchen countertops, game tables or other rectangular spaces. While spaced pendants require two or three wiring boxes, an island light requires only one to illuminate the same expanse. An island light can be used as task lighting or as a visual centerpiece and sole source of ambient light in a space.
TIP An island light should hang about 30” above a countertop and 36” above a game table.