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How to Choose Modern Kitchen Pendant Lights

How To

Kitchen islands and breakfast bars are fast becoming common elements in modern kitchen design, and for good reason. Offering up to 360-degree access to surroundings, and convenient for small gatherings, kitchen islands and bars are both highly functional and visually appealing for family life and entertaining. Not surprisingly, then, more people are opting for pendant lamps when selecting lighting fixtures for their kitchens. If you're considering modern pendant lights for your kitchen, review our practical tips for getting the most from these versatile lighting fixtures.

Modern Kitchen Island Lighting: Quick Tips

Why opt for kitchen pendant lights?

Pendant lights are amongst the most visually appealing modern lighting fixtures, and kitchens benefit from them as much as any other room in the contemporary home. While recessed lighting, track lighting, and other ceiling lights are common in kitchens, today's open plan homes, high ceilings, and large kitchens—often outfitted with statement islands and breakfast nooks—lend themselves particularly well to hanging light fixtures.

And with the broad range of options available in today's contemporary lighting market, finding the optimal modern pendant light and arrangement for you kitchen is not only easier, but exciting—offering a broad range of colors, sizes, and material options to complement the overall layout and style of your kitchen.

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Where do kitchen pendant lights look best?

Depending on the layout and style of our kitchen, modern pendant lights can look beautiful almost anywhere in a kitchen—by a window, above a sink, or over a breakfast nook.

But without a doubt, pendants looks particularly striking when suspended over a breakfast bar or kitchen island, which are typically the focal point in a contemporary kitchen. The openness of an island or bar, and unobstructed views to the rest of the kitchen, make it an ideal setting for a single eye-catching pendant or a cluster of modern pendant lights, providing a vertical counterpoint to the horizontal layout of islands and countertops.  

View our Top 10 Modern Pendant Lights >

How do I find the best modern pendant lights for my kitchen?

Once you've decided to install modern pendant lighting in your kitchen, some basic considerations will help you avoid costly mistakes. Before you start shopping, these simple steps will help you zero in on the perfect lighting scheme for your kitchen's size and style.


Making accurate measurements is absolutely key to the most practical and visually attractive modern pendant lighting installation. By far the most important measurement is between ceiling and countertop. A clearance of 30-36 inches is typically safe. A pendant light shouldn't obstruct the view across the kitchen, but be at a distance above the countertop to disperse light evenly to the surface below. The distance should be measured from the bottom of the pendant to the top of the countertop.


When installing any modern lighting fixture, dimmers are essential. A light that cannot be adjusted for brightness is lacking in versatility and only half as useful as it should be. Pendant lights, in particular, which tend to be the focal point in a room, should be adjustable enough to illuminate necessary tasks, but also to add to a room's ambiance. No matter what style of lighting fixture you choose, ensure that it comes equipped with a dimmer. It's one choice you'll never regret.


The number of lights you choose to install is dependent on how large your surface area is, and the particular look you're after. If you want a single pendant light over a large surface area, a chandelier or linear suspension lighting might be a better choice. If you decide on multiple lights, though, you'll need to measure the distance between each pendant to ensure that the installation is both visually unified, and distributes light evenly across the surface below. A distance of 30 inches between lights is ideal, depending on the size and style of your chosen pendant.


Style, of course is a key element in getting the most from you modern lighting installation. Pendant lights are almost always attention-getting, so they present an opportunity to make a truly striking aesthetic statement. Select a modern lighting design that doesn't overwhelm your kitchen, but one that complements and enhances the lines, color scheme, and material choices you've already made. Whether your style is Mid Century, minimal, or industrial, there's an ideal modern pendant light waiting to illuminate your space.

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