/ / Demystifying Kitchen Island Pendant Light Size and Height

Demystifying Kitchen Island Pendant Light Size and Height

Are you wondering how high to hang your kitchen pendant lights over your island? Or want to know how large of a light to hang over your kitchen island?

Luckily, I’ve written all about what height to hang lights but in this tutorial we will focus specifically on kitchen island pendant lights and how high to hang them off of the counter and floor.

Plus I’ll share a trick on determining what size pendant light will look perfect over your kitchen island and how far apart to hang them.

Pendant Light Size Should be Based on the Kitchen Island Size

If you haven’t noticed, kitchen pendant lights have gotten a LOT larger. Now lighting over a kitchen island is becoming a home decor statement and more than just task lighting.

Now that kitchen islands and kitchen pendants have gotten larger, it is even more important to know how to choose the right diameter light.

When I moved into my home 9 years ago, kitchen island pendant lights were much smaller. So at the time, I chose 10 inch diameter pendants.

If you’d like to the kitchen with granite and smaller pendants, click here. 


In the last couple of years, I realized they started looking too small and sized up to 24 inch diameter kitchen island pendants.

For my 8 ft by 5ft kitchen island, they were the perfect option!

To make sure they were going to perfect, I came up with some simple tips for how to make sure they were the right size and hung the right height over my island.

I’ll be sharing my plan with you of course!


It’s time to get out your tape measure and map out your kitchen island Length x Width x Height.

If it’s a new build or renovation, then get out those kitchen plans!


By the time you finish this tutorial and video you’ll know exactly how to determine what size and height pendant lights will look perfect in your kitchen!


Best Size and Height to Hang Kitchen Pendant Lights

Active Time: 5 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

How to determine the best size pendant light for your kitchen island and decide how high to hang it off of the counter.


  • Kitchen Island Pendant Lights


Step 1: Measure Island Width

  1. Measure the total width of the kitchen island and write it down on a piece of paper. Mine is 5ft. wide.using-a-tape-measure-determine-width-of-kitchen-island

Step 2: Measure Island Length

  1. Measure the total length of the kitchen island and write it down on the same paper. Mine is 8ft. long.Using-tape-measure-determine-length-of-island

Step 3: Determine Pendant Size Options

  1. Use these measurements to find a pendant light that is to the correct scale of your kitchen island.
  2. It's best to draw out the size of the island on a piece of graph paper to get a general ideal of scale and then draw the pendants.measure kitchen island dimensions use 25% for pendant light size
  3. A basic rule of thumb is to use approximately 25% of the length of the island to find the right sized pendant.
  4. My island is 8ft or 96 inches long. I searched for a 24 inch / 2 ft diameter or square pendant.
  5. If you have a 5ft or 60 inch long island, and ideal pendant would be no larger than a 15 inch diameter or square pendant.measurements smaller kitchen island dimesions use 25 percent for pendant light size 5ft_1
  6. Here is an example using a 5ft island by 3ft and due to the narrow 3ft width, I chose a 12 inch diameter pendant.

Step 4: Test Size of Pendant Using Wrapping Paper

  1. This is the truly fool proof way to test the size visually in your kitchen. Lay a cutout of the size on your actual island.
  2. Now if you are renovating or building, use painter's tape to layout the island on the floor and place the cut outs to get an idea of scale.map-out-the-size-of-the-kitchen-island-pendant-on-wrapping-paper
  3. I love using grid backed wrapping paper for these tests. Just mark the size of the pendant (even if it is round you can use a square to test cutout).
  4. Cut out the paper to size.cut-out-wrapping-paper-to-same-size-as-kitchen-island-pendant
  5. Lay on the island or island area and look at how it fits on the width.use-wrapping-paper-on-kitchen-island-to-determine-pendant-placement-and-size
  6. Then see how it looks on the longest side.using-wrapping-paper-check-how-kitchen-pendant-light-size-will-work-with-island-size-on-the-long-and-short-side-of-the-island
  7. Make sure you have enough room all the way around the edges of the island.
  8. TIP: Hang the pendant about 8 to 12 inches in from each end of the island, so they don't hang too close to the end.

Step 5: Determine Hanging Width of Pendants

  1. How far apart you hang the pendants apart can vary.
  2. Typically you will hang them somewhere between 24 inches to 30 inches apart depending on the total length of your island.two-pendants-centered-over-kitchen-island
  3. My pendants are hung just over 24 inches apart and set in 12 inches in from the edge of the ends of the island.

Step 6: Determine Hanging Height of Pendants

  1. The truth is to determine the height to hang a pendant light you need to start with the measurement from the floor!
  2. MOST island counters are typically 36 inches from the floor.
  3. However, that is the least important measurement but instead just used to add to the total height.
  4. The reality you want to hang a pendant light high enough off of the FLOOR, so when a person stands at the island they don't look directly into the light bulbs of the fixture.how-high-to-hang-pendant-lights-over-kitchen-island_v
  5. Typically, kitchen pendant lights (at their lowest point) are hung about 32 inches to 36 inches above the counter.
  6. CRITICAL you need to take the total measurement from the floor. That means to the bottom of the pendant.
  7. The ideal height is about 69 to 72 inches from the floor to the base of the pendant.
  8. You want to avoid people looking into the light bulbs. I have 10ft ceilings and went up the full 6ft or 72 inches.how high to hang kitchen pendant lights 10 ft ceilings
  9. Here is an example using the smaller island, smaller pendants, and only a 9 ft ceiling.how high to hang kitchen pendant lights 9 ft ceilings_1These kitchen pendants are dropped down 3 inches, but are cone pendants so the bulb is up inside of the shade.


IMPORTANT: When shopping for kitchen island pendants always take into consideration your island size, height, and ceiling height.

  • Different shapes and sizes will look better over larger and smaller islands.
  • Open concept homes and larger kitchens can accommodate larger pendants.
  • If you have an enclosed kitchen, a smaller pendant may look better in the space so it doesn't consume too much visual space.
  • An open lantern or modern arm style pendant will block the least amount of visual space in any kitchen.

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how to determine the height to hang a kitchen island pendant light

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Shop for On Trend Kitchen Island Pendants

Now that you are feeling confident about choosing the right pendant light for over your kitchen island it’s time to go shopping!


I hope you’ve found something that inspires you and you are excited not scared to choose a kitchen pendant light for over your kitchen island!

Please consider following me on Instagram for daily pictures of my home or Pinterest for lots of home inspiration!

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Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. Hello Tracey,

    I know you can’t give specific advice as you’ve clearly written a number of times above – hahaha (I guess people don’t read the details?), but I wanted to know if I’ve interpreted your tips correctly.

    I also read some different advice, and wanted to know if you have any ‘generic’ thoughts on that? No pressure if you can’t! Below are my measurements based on your tips, as well as 2 comments I found online (it’s impossible to find tips for the suspended linear rod light fixtures!?!). Our ceilings are 15′ tall (180″). These are the limited suggestions for hanging linear/rod lights:

    1. Don’t use a linear light fixture longer than 75% of the total island length (e.g. my island is 99” long, so I shouldn’t use a fixture longer than 74.25”). However, I also read that you shouldn’t use any fixture longer than 31″ on an 8 foot island? It’s only an 8 foot island, so I don’t want to overpower it, but I also don’t want the fixture to look too short.

    2. So, I took your advice, and went in 12” from each edge of my island, leaving 75” of remaining island space. That seems to be consistent with suggestion #1, but I don’t understand the 31” max length rule?

    3. I can’t find any other sizing guides, other than for pendant lights (like your amazing guide). I guess I’ll use a piece of wood, and see how it looks at 31″ long and 74″ long! I am going to suspend our linear light fixture 3 feet above the island slab exactly (74” up from the ground because our island is 38” tall + 36” off the island slab). That will require that I find a fixture with 106″ of cable from the ceiling to the light rod. I hope I can find one! 🙂

    I hope my interpretation sounds accurate (I’m pretty sleep deprived trying to finish our house build, so forgive any obvious misses).


    1. Hi, Syma! Wow, you’ve got a lot on your plate with this build 🙂 So I think you are asking about the total width that your linear light should be over the island? I like working in 3rds because visually it works. If you divide your island in 3, that is 33 inches. Double that to get the general max width of the fixture = 66 inches. That leaves 16.5 inches in from the edge of the counter. Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Tracey,
    Tysm for this great article. Just to clarify, are you saying that for an island that’s only 36 inch deep, you can’t have a pendant deeper than 12 inches? my island is 36 inch by 122 inch. I was hoping to do two pendants of 21 inch each. would you recommend doing three pendants of 12 inch each instead?

    ty again!!

  3. My island is 3 x 5 and I’m thinking about a single pendant because there is already a flush mount light on the ceiling in the middle of the island. You were showing what size if you were using two pendants, so what size if I’m only using one?

  4. (I need help) I’m building a new home with 10’ ceilings. My kitchen is open to living and breakfast area. I have a high bar that is 14 ft. Long and 16” wide. I am torn between using the large Hudson Valley Coltrane 8 Light Pendant, 15″(L) x 15″(W) x 28.5″ or the small one 10″(L)x10″(W) 19.25″(H) and is 2 enough? Please help me.

  5. My island is 3×5 so I was happy to see that’s what you used in your examples but then I realized your drawings are actually 3×6. Hoping the 14” diameter pendants (serena and lily headlands pendant in the small size) I ordered end up working out. Our kitchen is very open and the ceilings are vaulted with skylights so I think I’ll be fine.

  6. This is really helpful.

    Can you please help me double check.

    The ceilings are 9 feet tall. Counter is about 7ft L by 3ft W and 3ft tall.

    Pendents are 17” square by 24.5 h

    Can these work? How low should they hang?

  7. I saved your article on Pinterest and then used it during my kitchen remodel 2 days ago. Luckily, one of the people working in our home was 6’2″, which prevented me wanting to lower the pendants 2″. Thanks for writing the article!

  8. This is a great video! Is there a guideline on how high the actual pendants should be? My island will be 9.5 feet by 4.5 feet wide. I’m debating on whether lantern pendants that measure 19” by 29” will be too tall. Our ceiling will be 11 feet. I’d really appreciate any thoughts you might have! Thanks!!

    1. You have enough height with 11 ft ceilings that you probably can handle 29″. I just installed new ones that were 22″ high and my ceilings are 10 ft and they look great 🙂

  9. My Apartment kitchen is like a cave. It has 2 can lights in the ceiling that are in the wrong place to do any good at the counter; the counter is always in shadow as the lights are placed to far back. I was thinking of doing a tenant upgrade. I can’t do electrical work but I have seen conversion kits to make can lights into pendant lights. Do you think I will get substantially more light on the counter? If yes, how do I decide what type of pendant light to get? How far down from the ceiling should I hang them. No matter the size, there is plenty of room for cabinet & fridge doors to open. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Lighting stores have been -0- help. Thank you.

    1. Ilene, I think that is a great idea to upgrade the can light to a fixture. I’ve used this kit (affiliate link) https://amzn.to/39n3lSp to change a can to a fixture in my office (https://porchdaydreamer.com/man-cave-update-reveal/) and it was fairly easy to install. Please read the tutorial on how to measure the hanging height and determine pendant size as I go into it in detail or watch the video. The hanging measurement is first determined from the counter up. The size is dependent on the space you have. Good luck!

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