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How high should you hang pendant lights above a kitchen island

Updated November 22, 2016

Pendant lights are an attractive way to add additional direct lighting to kitchen island workspace. These hanging lights are also a great solution to lighting a kitchen island if you have high ceilings. There is a standard height for hanging pendant lights above a counter top or kitchen island. How high you hang the lights depends largely on whether the kitchen island is a strictly utilitarian workspace or if there is seating around it.

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Utilitarian Islands

When cooking, you need a well-lit workspace, especially if you do a lot of fine chopping. If your kitchen island is a utilitarian workspace, hang the lighting about 30 inches above the counter top surface. The average kitchen counter top is three feet tall. If you hang a pendant light another 30 inches above that surface, the pendant part of the light hangs at five feet six inches. Generally, kitchen islands are wide enough so that even if you reach across the counter, you will not hit the light with your head.

If you have taller family members, adjust the height accordingly. For example, if a member of your family is six feet tall and works in the kitchen a lot, you may want to move the pendant light up to about 36 inches to accommodate their height.

Islands with Seating

If your kitchen island has seating, you want to hang it at a different height than a strictly utilitarian island. The reason is that when people sit in the seats around the island, you do not want the lights hanging in their line of sight. A good general guideline for hanging pendant lights above an island with seating is between 36 and 40 inches above the island counter top. At 36 inches, the lights hang at six feet and at 40 inches, they hang at about six feet three inches.

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About the Author

Sue-Lynn Carty has over five years experience as both a freelance writer and editor, and her work has appeared on the websites Work.com and LoveToKnow. Carty holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, with an emphasis on financial management, from Davenport University.

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