Pendant Lighting in the Kitchen

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It’s a multifunctional room where many families do more than just prepare meals. From catching up with loved ones in the evening over a glass of wine to reading the morning paper, the kitchen is where multiple activities take place throughout the day so it’s only fitting that the lighting needs to meet the demands of the space.

Pendant lighting is both functional and decorative and is a commonly used fixture in the kitchen, especially if there is a centre island, dining room table, or breakfast bench in the room. If you decide to install pendants, take note of what other sources of light already exist in the room and think about how your pendant lighting will complement it so your room has a layered lighting look.  When you layer lighting in any room of the home it brings the room to life and prevents it from looking flat and one dimensional. You ultimately want your kitchen to have task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting. Once you’ve narrowed down what your kitchen is missing, you can select your pendant accordingly.


If you’re installing pendant lights to help you see better when you chop vegetables or read from a recipe book, then their primary role is to serve as task lighting. To ensure your pendants are giving you focused directional light you need a design that has an open or translucent bottom so that the light shines directly downward at a high intensity. This will give you sufficient illumination for detailed oriented tasks. Keep in mind though, that if the light is too harsh you could strain your eyes and it can create an unpleasant atmosphere in the kitchen for those times when tasks are completed and you’re relaxing over a meal. To prevent this from happening, use a lower output bulb or install a dimmer switch. The general height rule for hanging pendants above the kitchen island is 75 to 90 cm from the bottom of the fixture to the countertop. However, pendants that function as task lighting may need to be suspended slightly lower. For this reason, pendants that are slimmer in shape are ideal so that they don’t block anyone’s line of vision.


Pendants lighting is often used to provide the kitchen with overall general illumination so that its occupants can move around safely and comfortably. This is ambient lighting and it gently illuminates the entire room as opposed to targeting a specific spot as task lighting does. For this purpose, you’ll probably need multiple pendants suspended in a row so that your kitchen is bathed in an even wash of light. If food prep happens in a different area of your kitchen and your island is used more for socialising and eating, then choose bulbs and pendant designs that offer softer light so that ambience is more intimate and cosy.


Accent lighting typically highlights a design feature in a room, such as a painting or unique architecture. While pendant lighting is usually not tasked with this role, it can be used to showcase beautiful marble counter tops of polished metal elements in the kitchen.  For example, a pendant shining directly onto a terrazzo counter top brings out the varying flecks of colour and sparkle in the stone making it design feature in the kitchen.

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