9 Ideas for Illuminating Your Kitchen Island
A classic trio of pendants always looks great – but how best to work them into your design, and what are the alternatives?
Here are some striking ideas I love, as well as a few great examples of how to give the classic pendant trio a bit of a design boost or fit it into a tricksy space, along with insight into how the ideas could work over your own kitchen island.
It’s no secret that accessories look great in threes, and island lighting is no exception. I think this dramatic trio of black Tom Dixon shades against a clean, white backdrop is the perfect example of just why this rule works. Odd numbers in general are much more aesthetically pleasing. While you might get symmetry with a pair of anything, there’s a certain harmony with a threesome in interior design, as well as visual interest.
Read more about the rule of three in design
A pitched roof with exposed trusses presents its own set of problems, but in this case the beam is in the perfect position from which to hang a trio of pendants over the island unit.
Its a lovely idea to incorporate the light fitting with the truss and anchor the lights to it, as here (rather than drilling to fit the wiring through the truss, which we wouldn’t advise).
Sometimes the truss isn’t in the right place but, if that’s the case, as an alternative to pendants there are some fantastic surface-mounted spotlights available that would do the job.
Discover more ideas for incorporating exposed ceilings into your schemes
This decorative light doesn’t strike me as the perfect source of task lighting for a busy kitchen, but what it lacks in practicality it certainly makes up for in wow factor. It’s fabulous. This is a great example of not conforming to the pendant light temptations and it really echoes the straight lines of the kitchen.
To ensure the island is well-lit enough for your needs, you might also want to consider adding task downlighting or spots to the ceiling.
This duo defies the above-mentioned rule about the beauty of odd numbers, but I actually quite like it due to the way these pendants are spaced so far apart. I think the overscale glass fittings add to the odd look, but in a likeable way.
The ideal is to place lights between the ceiling joists, and the owners of this kitchen were lucky that the position of their island lent itself to that. When working with trusses, metal or wood, this is always a consideration when you want to position lights perfectly. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid these obstacles and you have to try to devise the best way to work around them.
Wow, this is absolutely exquisite. There really was no other way of lighting such a stunning marble island – only a chandelier would do this space justice.
Chandeliers are a great way to get light onto your island, as the exposed bulbs will give you all the light you need. I would always advise you put them on a dimmer switch, though, so you can make things a bit more smoochy when the mood takes you.
Cluster lights above the island create depth in this space. This design works well with this low-ish ceiling, since the lighting doesn’t need to drop too far down, meaning mostly all you see are those beautiful globes rather than the spaghetti of visible cables you’d have if you hung lights like this from higher up (obviously they need to be low enough to provide sufficient light).
It’s a much softer way of casting a glow onto an island than choosing single pendants, which give you a direct light. It just depends which look you prefer and what sort of lighting suits your needs.
I’m a fan of overscale lighting, but I really love this elegant statement of understatement! Less is definitely more here and you really are allowing the kitchen to do all the talking, since you almost see straight past the blown glass light fittings.
Going small can be a lovely choice, but remember the practical side and make sure any fitting you choose gives you the light level you need. Consider adding task spots or downlights, too, if required.
A dropped soffit really exaggerates the downlights here and it’s very effective when it mirrors the size of the island. You can also light around the soffit to give an extra glow to the ceiling. Modern houses can really lack interesting architectural details, so adding soffits can bring an extra layer.
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Something to consider when you are dropping pendants over the island is what the underside of them looks like and what kind of light they are going to give out. I love copper-lined pendants, as they give such a rich, warm light and and are a joy to look at. This is your typical three-pendant layout that we have come to know and love, and if it ain’t broke, sometimes…
Spotlights, pendants, standalone lamps… How do you illuminate your kitchen? We’d love to hear about your home – and see photos – in the Comments below.