How to Hang Pendant Lighting Over Kitchen Island

Feeling a bit confused on how to hang your kitchen island lighting?! Curious how high to hang the pendants and how far to space them apart? Unsure how many pendants you need for the size of the island

You aren’t alone! SO. MANY. PEOPLE. ask these exact same questions! I will answer all of your burning (pendant hanging) questions in this post, and by the end, you will feel confident in your ability to tell your electrician exactly how you want your pendants to hang over your kitchen island!

FYI: this post does NOT tell you how to physically hang a light; it’s an overview of the general guidelines of how high to hang and how far to space your pendants. I’ll also share some gorgeous pendants at the end to get you started on finding the perfect lighting for your kitchen!


The general guideline is to hang a pendant 30-36” above your countertop. More specifically, there should be 30-36” between the top of your counter and the bottom of your pendant.

Keep in mind that this (and the recommendations below) are simply GUIDELINES! You can take the liberty to make slight adjustments to meet your needs! I admit that my pendants are closer to 40” above our kitchen island counter (say what?!). My husband is pretty tall (6’ 3”) and we didn’t want the pendants to obstruct his view of our family room when he was doing dishes at the kitchen island (yep, he does dishes!).

So consider your lifestyle (and your height!) and tweak the guidelines a bit if necessary!


Note: spacing will be determined by the number of pendants you choose to hang and the size of these pendants.

General guidelines for spacing pendants over your island:

  • If lighting a short island (6′ to 7′ wide), use two pendants that are at least 30” apart and equidistant from the center point of the island. The widest part of the pendant should be about 30” from the center of the island
  • A general rule of thumb: measure the width of your island and subtract by 12 to determine the max width light fixtures should hang. That is, you want at least 6” from the edge of counter on either side to the widest outside part of the pendant
  • If lighting a larger island with three pendants, hang one directly over the center of the island, then space pendants about 30” apart (but also remember that you want the outside of the pendant to be at least 6″ from the edge of the island … so you’ll need to dust off the old math skills and use them here!)
  • When hanging multiple pendants, the spacing will be determined by the diameter (how wide it is) of the pendant. Ideally, you want the space between each pendant to be at least the same as the width or diameter of each fixture
  • Space pendants at least two feet (24″) apart
  • If you choose one long pendant, it should be hung centered with the center point of the island and take up no more than ⅔ or the island (see diagram in next section)


So many factors go into answering this question! The general rule of thumb: the larger the area you want to light, the bigger the pendant light should be. Also, the higher your ceiling and the longer your island, the larger the pendant(s) should be.

You’ll have to use your eye as a judge in choosing pendant sizes that are on scale with your island and kitchen size (i.e. a large kitchen island should have large pendants).

Your intention for the light will also help determine the size of the pendant as well. Do you intend for the pendants to provide your task lighting (or do you have recessed lights that will do this)? Are you more interested in pendants as a design focal point in your kitchen (again, you’ll let the recessed lights provide task lighting)? As stated above, if you intend for the fixture to provide ample task lighting, you’ll want larger pendants.


We’ve covered the general guidelines on how to hang and space pendant lighting over your kitchen island! I hope you now feel more confident in guiding your electrician on how to hang your pendants! Pro Tip: you’ll want to be on-site when the electrician is hanging your pendants (or any lights) to make sure it all happens exactly as you want!

Now that you know how to hang your pendants, it’s time to find gorgeous pendants for your kitchen!