Lighting a Kitchen Island
 
Randall, I want to install non-returnable 6-inch by 6-inch mini pendants over a 4-foot kitchen island with 8-foot ceilings. Are they too big for my space?
Actually, they are kind of on the small side. I would rather you use two 18-inch-wide by 12-inch-high pendants. But if you would like to use the 6-inch by 6-inch pendants, use three of them. Center one over the island and install the other two 18 inches out from the centerline. Also, I recommend that you hang them so that they are just above eye level when you are standing. That way they will not block your field of vision. This is different than at the dining room table, where hosts and guests are seated. Now is a really good time to take a fresh look at over-the-island lights. Things are changing a bit as to how the kitchen island is being used. Before, it was mainly an extra space for tasks related to meal preparation. Now, it’s also a place for family and friends to gather. It has become the first stop (and sometimes the only spot) for casual entertaining. Guests can chat with you over a glass of wine while you put the last-minute touches on the meal that you bought but are pretending that you made from scratch. This trend has opened the door to the idea of having lighting in the kitchen that is as comfortable and inviting as that in the rest of the house. It’s not just simply a matter of enough task light. Now ambient, decorative and accent light also play a part. As the islands get bigger, the scale or number of decorative fixtures hanging over them also increases. A smaller island (4-5 feet long) can take one large fixture or two medium-sized ones. A larger-sized island (6-8 feet) can easily handle two large or three medium-sized pendants. It is also a good idea to have recessed fixtures installed between them for an additional punch of work light. This is great light for when the kids are researching their term papers or you are working on your latest taxidermy project.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

This is a very detailed question, more like a lighting diary. It looks like you have been trying a lot of alternatives for your recessed fixtures.... read full story
I think lighting is a very important component of a successful restaurant. My recommendation is to mix up the color temperatures of the lighting a... read full story
You raise a good point. It seems logical that if you assemble a light fixture from all UL listed components that it should then be a UL-listed... read full story
The best lighting for illuminating your face at a mirror is side lighting, also referred to as cross illumination. This would be a pair of fixtures... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group Inc., LTF and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   This webinar has already taken, place but you can... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Ferguson, GM Lighting and Maxim Lighting/ET2.   This webinar has already taken place, but you can view an... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, AFX Inc., Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   This live webinar has already taken place, but... read full story