How To Choose Pendant Lights For A Kitchen Island (Picture Guide!)

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Last updated on February 26th, 2022 at 02:38 pm

How To Pick Pendant Lights For A Kitchen Remodel

Wondering how to choose pendant lights that would beautifully compliment your kitchen? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

To choose the best pendant lights for a kitchen island, you should consider your preferred decor style, the cord length you need, a contrasting color, and the number of lights you will need based on your island size.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s break each category down further so you can easily find a pendant light that will suit your style and kitchen design.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: What To Look For In A Pendant Light

  1. Style Of Pendant Lights
  2. Cord Length Of Pendant Lights
  3. Color Of Pendant Lights
  4. Number Of Pendant Lights
  5. Special Features
  6. Other FAQs About Choosing Kitchen Island Pendant Lights
  7. Final Thoughts
  8. Related Kitchen Island Articles

One: Style Of Pendant Lights

The first item to decide when picking out pendant lights is the style or vibe you want your kitchen to lean towards.

Once you figure out which style you want to showcase, picking out pendant lights is a breeze.

Here are some different decorating styles you might be trying to target and the various criteria you should look for to choose a pendant light that will fit that style perfectly.

(Plus, there are tons of example pendant lights that you can look at to get a better understanding of the style, and you can even buy them if you think they’re a perfect fit for your island!

I’ve taken the guessing work out for you. Just click the link and you can see reviews and other details to help you choose the best pendant lights for your kitchen island! Plus, any purchase you make helps fund the creation of more helpful articles like this one.)

Rustic/Farmhouse Pendants

If you want your pendant lights to give off a rustic or farmhouse vibe then you should stick to:

  • Black or white metals
  • Natural woods
  • See-through or glass pendant shades
  • Rectangular or cylindrical in shape

Rustic and farmhouse-style pendant lights pair beautifully with kitchen islands and kitchen cabinets that are white, light grey, or walnut/brown-gray shades of wood.

Here are some of my favorite rustic pendant lights:

Industrial/Vintage Pendants

If you want your pendant lights to give off an industrial or vintage vibe then you should stick to:

  • Iron, steel, copper, or brass metals
  • See-through or glass pendant shades
  • Cone-shaped or dome-shaped

Industrial and vintage-styled pendant lights pair beautifully with kitchen islands and kitchen cabinets that are white, dark grey, black, navy blue, or walnut/brown-gray shades of wood.

Here are some of my favorite industrial pendant lights:



Bohemian Pendants

If you want your pendant lights to give off a bohemian vibe then you should stick to:

  • Woven or wood materials
  • Light colored metals (gold and silver)
  • White or bold colors (greens, reds, blues)
  • Dome-shaped

Bohemian-styled pendant lights pair beautifully with kitchen islands and kitchen cabinets that are white, light grey, olive green, or natural pine/light yellow-brown shades of wood.

Here are some of my favorite boho pendant lights:

Contemporary/Modern Pendants

If you want your pendant lights to give off a contemporary or modern vibe then you should stick to:

  • Satin-nickel or gold metals
  • See-through or glass pendant shades
  • Cylindrical or circular-shaped

Contemporary and modern-styled pendant lights pair beautifully with kitchen islands and kitchen cabinets that are white, grey, black, blue, green, or any shade of wood.

Here are some of my favorite modern pendant lights:

Two: Color Of Pendant Lights

The next item to decide when picking out pendant lights is the color you want.

Now that you’ve chosen the general style you want, the color should be easy. But each style does have a wide variety of colors, so let’s narrow down your choice even further.

White Kitchen Islands

The best pendant light colors for white kitchen islands are blacks, navy blues, golds, and wood colors. Pendant lights that are darker colored contrast well with white kitchen cabinets and will create a beautiful accent in your kitchen.

Rustic / FarmhouseIndustrial / VintageBohemianContemporary / Modern

Black Kitchen Islands

The best pendant light colors for black kitchen islands are glass, silvers, golds, and lighter wood colors. Pendant lights that are see-through or darker colored contrast well with black kitchen cabinets and will help your kitchen feel open and airy.

Rustic / FarmhouseIndustrial / VintageBohemianContemporary / Modern

Gray Kitchen Islands

The best pendant light colors for gray kitchen islands are whites, blacks, navy blues, golds, and wood colors. Pendant lights that are darker or lighter colored contrast well with gray kitchen cabinets and will create a modern-looking kitchen.

Rustic / FarmhouseIndustrial / VintageBohemianContemporary / Modern

Blue/Green/Bold Color Kitchen Islands

The best pendant light colors for blue, green, or bold-colored kitchen islands are whites, blacks, silvers, golds, and wood colors. Pendant lights that are neutral-colored contrast well with bold-colored cabinets and balance out the kitchen.

Rustic / FarmhouseIndustrial / VintageBohemianContemporary / Modern

Yellow-Wood Kitchen Islands

The best pendant light colors for yellow-wood kitchen islands such as honey oak are whites, blacks, and navy blues. Pendant lights that are solid colored contrast well with honey oak kitchen cabinets and help blend the yellow undertones.

Rustic / FarmhouseIndustrial / VintageBohemianContemporary / Modern

Brown-Wood Kitchen Islands

The best pendant light colors for brown-wood kitchen islands such as walnut are whites, blacks, navy blues, and silvers. Pendant lights that are solid colored contrast well with walnut kitchen cabinets and help blend the natural wood tones.

Rustic / FarmhouseIndustrial / VintageBohemianContemporary / Modern

At the end of the day, going with a black metal or glass pendant light will go with most kitchen styles and color schemes.

Three: Cord Length Of Pendant Lights

The next item to decide when picking out pendant lights is the cord length that will fit your ceiling height.

The bottom of pendant lights should sit 36 inches from the top of the island countertop.

A good rule of thumb for cord length is to take your ceiling height minus 6 ft (the average height of an island countertop plus 36 inches) then multiply that number by 12 inches.

(Always choose a cord length longer than you need so you can adjust it to fit perfectly)

Ceiling HeightMinimum Pendant Light Cord Length
8 foot24 inches
9 foot36 inches
10 foot48 inches
This table shows the minimum cord length for pendant lights based on ceiling height.

Four: Number Of Pendant Lights

The next item to decide when picking out pendant lights is the number of lights you need.

Typically, 2-4 pendants over an island are the ideal number you want, with 3 lights being the most ideal.

However, this varies greatly based on the size of your island and the size of the pendants.

If you want help determining the best spacing and number of lights for your sized kitchen island, then check out my article here.

Five: Special Features

Finally, the last item to decide when picking out pendant lights is to double-check if it has any special features you might want.

The most popular special feature you will likely want is the ability to dim the lights.

Other features you might want include:

  • A cord with a plug (if the lights are not going to be hard-wired)
  • Specific type of bulb that can be used (‎energy efficient, incandescent, halogen, etc.)

That should be all you need to pick a pendant light for your kitchen remodel!

Other FAQs About Choosing Kitchen Island Pendant Lights

Here are some other frequently asked questions about pendant lights to help you choose the best ones for your kitchen!

Are Kitchen Island Pendant Lights Going Out Of Style?

Pendant lights are a timeless addition to a kitchen. They add extra light that creates functionality, and they help draw the eyes up from the heavy base cabinets to create a balanced visual design in a kitchen.

However, pendant lights are not always the answer in a new kitchen. I wrote an entire article on whether you need pendant lights or not.

Some kitchens would be better off without them. Check out that article here.

Final Thoughts On Choosing Pendant Lights

There you have it!

Picking out pendant lights can seem like a daunting task at first, but when you break it down, it becomes easier to choose one.

Hopefully, this list of criteria will help you choose your new lighting with ease!

Catch you in my next post!

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How To Choose Pendant Lights For A Kitchen Island (Picture Guide!)

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