4. Decorative. This is lighting that exists to be a decorative feature: either the fixture itself, the sparkle or shadow it produces, or both.If you already have sufficient task lights and ambient lights in a room, feel free to choose pendants that glow softly and make a big impression without casting targeted light.
Kitchen Design 13 Kitchens That Add Personality With Pendants
Pendants, uplights, downlights, LEDs — are you confused by all the options out there in kitchen lighting when it comes to creating the illumination you need to prep, cook and dine? We’ve asked expert Ben Mills to explain the different lighting types and the main things to consider in planning an effective design.
If you want your lighting to really be a star feature, look for lights that cast an interesting shadow on the ceiling, as shown here. This is especially effective with a slightly high ceiling that deserves to have the eye drawn up.
The kitchen island pendant can be the jewelry of the kitchen, an important fixture to help with your everyday tasks and so much more. To help narrow down your choice from the seemingly infinite range of beautiful options, here’s a guide to choosing the type and style of pendant that suits your tastes and needs.
When contrasting different pendant styles, especially in close proximity, try using a similar or matching metal finish between them, or another shared material, so the lights relate on some level. This will make the contrast look intentional and considered, especially in a more traditional space.
For a classic look that works virtually anywhere, try a humble bell-shaped light in a solid material (such as a shiny metal or a matte paint finish) or a glass schoolhouse light. A classic cylindrical drum light also can never go wrong and can suit any budget.
MoreHow to Get the Pendant Light RightFind a Kitchen and Bath Designer
Here are some bright ideas on when to use chandeliers, pendants, track lights and more
See how extra-large pendants can make a dramatic statement in any type of kitchen
Why is kitchen lighting so important? For most of us, the kitchen is the workhorse of the home and a busy spot from morning till night. Good lighting is essential, as it allows you to perform tasks such as prepping food and cleaning up safely, says Mills, executive general manager at Australia’s Crompton Lighting.
Plus, it adds character to a space and can quickly take the mood from functional to cozy, perfect for an eat-in kitchen. How to light your food prep zone
Conjure the music of the spheres with everything from a single globe light to a constellation of pendants
Decorating Guides How to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right
If you want your lights higher, use a long, narrow shade opening that won’t expose the bulb from as many angles, or supplement the task lighting with other sources.
Shop Kitchen & Dining Kitchen & Dining Furniture Bar Stools Tile Sinks & Faucets Appliances Tabletop Cabinets & Storage Knobs & Pulls Chandeliers Pendant Lights Cookware & Bakeware Tools & Gadgets
See the ceiling lighting fixtures that are popular on Houzz and find out where to get them
Decorating Guides 10 Chandeliers for People Who Don’t Like Chandeliers
Pendant lights come in many forms, and different decorative styles can achieve similar practical effects. For this reason, it’s wise to start by considering what functional type of lighting you want to achieve, rather than the type or aesthetic style of fixture you desire.
To get a touch of cottage or chalet style, a light with a cage adds a sense of indoor-outdoor appeal. This also works well in an industrial-tinged space, playing into a restaurant kitchen vibe.
A Light That Can Do EverythingOf course, it is possible for a light to fit into more than one category. A light can be decorative and engaging while still providing functional downward task lighting and some upward or outward ambient lighting to help brighten the entire space.
If you know in advance what roles the light needs to fill, though, you can make sure all your goals are accomplished while selecting a light that also looks great.
Pendant Lighting 101Think You Don’t Have Room for a Chandelier?How to Choose the Right Pendant Lights for Your Kitchen IslandHow to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right
The fun finishes and unusual shapes of hanging lights brighten up these kitchens
An expert reveals what to consider when making your selections and how to create a layered lighting design
Develop a layered lighting plan to help you create a functional, adaptable and illuminated kitchen
Kitchen Islands Source List: 20 Pendants That Illuminate the Kitchen Island
Plan lighting as early as possible. Moving light fixtures after a kitchen has been installed can be expensive: Rewiring and repainting mean costs can add up quickly. For that reason, it’s best to plan kitchen lighting during the design stage.
What Height is Right?There are two approaches to determining what height to place your lights, and they again rely on the primary functional role of your pendants.
How to Choose Your Kitchen LightingThe 5 Layers of a Well-Lit KitchenOversize Pendants for Every Style Home13 Kitchens That Add Personality With Pendants
How Much Room Do You Need for a Kitchen Island?How to Design a Kitchen Island4 Great Kitchens With Workhorse Islands20 Creative Kitchen Islands
Get all the chandelier benefits without channeling Liberace, thanks to wood, paper, wire — and even a surprising old-fashioned staple
What is a layered lighting design? Light layering involves creating different shades of light, playing with shadows and using colors to highlight a room’s best features. In the kitchen, it generally incorporates task lighting for food prep and cooking, ambient lighting for general illumination and character, and accent lighting to highlight specific features such as a gorgeous backsplash or a piece of art.
2. Ambient. General lighting that gently illuminates the whole room or area, rather than targeting a spot (the opposite of task lighting), is called ambient lighting.If you want your pendants to help brighten the whole room, bigger is not always better.
A large pendant light with a single bulb won’t add more light than a tiny fixture with the same bulb, so consider using multiple lights spread across the area, or fixtures with multiple bulbs for an even glow.
It’s also worth noting that some of us are more serious chefs than others. If you tend to use your island more for mingling and snacking than for prep work, draw inspiration from restaurant tables and choose a softer light that creates an intimate mood.
The type of illumination you need from your pendant will depend largely on what types of lighting are already available in your kitchen. A space with many large windows may not need much more ambient light during the day, but you may need task lighting for the counter while chopping.
A kitchen that already has many pot lights in the ceiling may just need a little decorative sparkle to catch the eye. Consider what other lighting is available, and let your pendant lights help fill in the gaps.
Lighting comes in four basic forms, and all four can apply to your kitchen: task, ambient, accent and decorative. Let’s review all four.
As mentioned before, larger pendants (when hung high) will make the inside of the shade visible. In this case, an interesting finish on the inside will add an extra bit of drama to your look. This will tint the light, however, so try a warm shade to get an inviting glow.
Big, fancy or one-of-a-kind pendant lights take kitchens way past cooking stations
Decorating Guides Think You Don’t Have Room for a Chandelier?
For fixtures where a decorative chain is part of the look, hanging it lower will expose more of the chain, so you can hang it as low as task light height, or somewhere in between. Keep in mind that many pendants have a significant minimum distance they must hang, and some have no range at all and can only hang at one set distance.
So it’s best to check before you buy.
Highlight your best features with accent light. Use accent lighting to draw attention to special features such as a backsplash or a dramatic island facade. Installing strip lighting under cabinets or counters is a great way to achieve this.
You could also add accent lighting to glass cabinets or open shelving to highlight your displays.
White opaque or translucent glass is another way to get a breezy look, especially in the popular transitional style of decor. It balances modern and traditional sensibilities, so it really can work in any style of room, especially with a hint of crisp metal trim.
Add ambient lighting for character. Soft, ambient lighting will wash your kitchen with light and create a warm, welcoming glow. It could be in the form of a pendant above a counter or dining table, downlights around the perimeter of the room or a central ceiling light.
Lighting Personal Spaces: Homeowners Work Their Pendant Lights
LEDs aren’t just for hidden undercabinet lighting. They can make cool modern pendant fixtures as well. A light like this one makes a great task light with an even strip of light to cover a large area without harsh shadows, and it also gives a cool modernist vibe.
Lighting Kitchen Trend: Oversize Pendants for Every Style Home
I’m a huge proponent of adding a little midcentury flair to any space, and these designs have stood the test of time, so you don’t have to worry about them being trendy. Classic midcentury lights always look modern (or even a little futuristic) and bring a space with minimalist cabinetry to life.
Choose the right style. When it comes to choosing kitchen lights, take your cues from your home’s architecture and the lighting styles in the rest of the home. Choosing similar styles (or at least having a unifying theme such as shape or finish) will create a sense of flow among the spaces.
This is particularly important in an open-plan kitchen that flows directly into a living or dining area.When it comes to decorative lighting trends, the Scandi look is still popular, as well as simple styles in natural wood and black, white and industrial metallics.
Decorative statement fixtures can be hung higher to sit above the sightlines and be less visually intrusive, although it’s still important to hang them far enough below the ceiling to look elegant.
Task lights meant to clearly illuminate the island will lose brightness if placed too high, so these are usually hung 30 to 36 inches above the counter. This can place them somewhat in the line of vision, so people often choose slim fixtures that don’t intrude on conversation.
See how to use new energy-saving lights to illuminate your kitchen, light a countertop and add style, too
Include the right kinds of light in your kitchen’s universal design plan to make it more workable and visually pleasing for all
1. Task lights. This is lighting that illuminates a targeted area to help you see clearly while working.If you want your pendants to help illuminate kitchen tasks like chopping (or to brighten the pages of a cookbook), you’ll want a fixture that aims the light downward, preferably with an open or translucent bottom to let a high degree of light out.
Keep in mind that open-bottom fixtures paired with powerful bulbs can create a harsh spotlight. If you’ve installed a fixture and the light is too severe, consider using a lower output bulb, or install a dimmer to allow for moodier lighting when the chores are finished.
Judging this height can be trickier, as each situation will vary. However, as a general rule, a light should hang at least 12 to 18 inches below the ceiling plane for a typical 8-foot ceiling. In taller rooms, you should add 3 inches or more for every foot so the light doesn’t look like it’s unnaturally hugging the ceiling.
Pendant Lighting 8 Creative Lighting Solutions for Food Prep
MoreKitchen Islands: Pendant Lights Done RightLook at lighting options for your kitchen
Remodeling Guides How to Light a Kitchen for Older Eyes and Better Beauty
You can also try connecting your lights to other materials in the room. Try using a brass or copper finish for the lights and repeating it on your cabinet knobs (or a stylish faucet), or even picking up on colors in unrelated items like seats, fabrics or tiles.
This makes the entire design concept look integrated in a fun, modern way.
How to Choose the Right Pendant Lights for Your Kitchen Island
Know the 3 Zones of Kitchen StorageHow to Remodel Your KitchenRestaurant Chefs Put Function First in Their Home Kitchen12 Great Kitchen Styles — Which One’s for You?
If bright bulbs are hung higher than this, keep in mind that you may be able to see inside the cover, even up to the bulb.
To get the appeal of a chandelier without the immense size, choose a mini chandelier or a pendant with multiple small lights. For a traditional-leaning space, a light with simulated candles brings a sense of sparkle without the fire hazard.
Take control. Lighting control systems allow you to alter the illumination as needed and change the mood of the space. With dimmers, for example, you can go from bright lighting for precision cooking to a warm glow for dining.
Having controls on separate switch plates lets you control lights in different areas separately. Don’t be tempted to do the job yourself — unless you’re a trained electrician, always hire a professional to do electrical work in your home.
Get all the task illumination you need while distracting the eye from fluorescents, following the lead of the kitchens here
A celebrated collection of bold prints and alluring hues for every space
You can match your pendants across multiple spaces or contrast them. It’s generally safest, however, to choose just two types of pendants (such as a simple pendant and a chandelier style, as in the previous photo) lest you develop a mismatched “lighting showroom” style.
See how all kinds of rooms are getting a lift from hanging lights, both budget-friendly and glam
3. Accent. Accent lighting highlights a design feature, such as an art piece or a beautiful material.Typically, pendant lighting isn’t used as a targeted accent light the way, say, a picture light would highlight a painting.
However, if you have a beautiful wood or stone countertop, a wash of light will help bring out the various tones of the material. Pinpoint lights can also help bring out sparkle in flecked stone or polished metals.
Get tips on function, style, height and more to get your island lighting scheme on track
Consider safety first. The first priority of kitchen lighting is to provide sufficient illumination for safe and efficient meal prep, cooking and cleaning. This is achieved with task lighting — think LED strip lights under an upper cabinet (these create a lovely, even light with no shadows or heat) or a track system over the island.
Make sure there are no shadows in your prep zones. The best way to do is this is to install task lighting in front of or above you, rather than behind you.
Check out these clever ways to incorporate a statement chandelier into your home, however petite its dimensions
How to Plan Your Home’s LightingHow to Choose Your Bathroom Vanity LightingHow to Choose Your Kitchen LightingA Designer’s Top 10 Tips for Interior Lighting
Some Thoughts on StyleOften a pendant light is not going to be the only visible hanging fixture in a room, especially in an open concept space with a dining area nearby. In such a case, it is fairly typical to have the pendant lights make a more subtle statement while a dramatic pendant or chandelier takes the starring role.
Get the proportions right. With pendant lights and other decorative styles, size is also important: too large and the fixture will overwhelm a small kitchen; too small and it may get lost in a large space.
It’s also important to hang the pendant at an appropriate height to reduce the risk of people bumping their heads. Generally speaking, it should be about 32 inches above a table or counter.
If you like an oversized fixture but don’t want it to eat up so much visual real estate, consider pendants with large clear glass shades. These will carry the dramatic scale that makes a high-end statement but with a lighter look and often a lighter price tag than a more intricate fixture.
Click “Embed” to display an article on your own website or blog.
With a full spectrum of shades, styles and colors, pendant lights wrap practical function in a pretty package