Kitchen Lighting Ideas

Everything you need to know before you pick a kitchen pendant light

What's trending and how to hang them.
Courtesy of Freedom and Jodie Carter Design

Choosing the right pendant lights is up there with picking a cabinet colour. It’s a move that can make or break your kitchen aesthetic. Usually sitting front and centre over the kitchen island, you want to get it right.

As far as looks, it’s all about choosing modern kitchen lighting that suits the style of your home. They also need to be hung at the right height while giving plenty of functional light so you don’t lose a finger while prepping for your pressure cooker.

Then there’s the materials to consider, given the hot and steamy nature of a cooking space. There’s a lot at play but these tips will help you when choosing light pendants.

What are the trends in kitchen pendant lights for 2023?

If you’re looking for kitchen lighting ideas, it’s all about constellation pendant lights at the moment, with arms reaching out with individual balls, domes or tubes on the end of each. It creates a dazzling modern effect.

“Constellation lights are becoming increasingly popular,” confirms Kate McGlone, design manager at Winnings. “Some brands offer you the opportunity to create your own constellations with limitless finish possibilities to suit your kitchen design and seamlessly integrate with your joinery and appliances.” 

Tubular styles are also popular, according to Kate. Think one long straight pendant hanging horizontally for kitchen bench lighting.

tubular pendant lighting
(Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott)

What style of pendant light should I choose?

Not every pendant will suit every style of kitchen. “Contemporary kitchens suit linear shapes, whether it’s horizontal or vertical,” says Penny Macfarlan, interior decorator at Freedom. “A casual coastal style kitchen will look amazing with a curved, dome or round natural pendant.” As for mid-century kitchen designs, Penny says round glass shapes work well, while metal and timber pendants suit industrial-style kitchens.

How many pendants should I hang over my kitchen island?

There are no rules when it comes to how many pendants should be hung over a kitchen island. While a row of three pendants is often the go-to, it’s definitely not a must. “The current range of pendant styles is extensive and options are abundant,” says Penny. “You could select a large pendant that’s two-thirds the width of the island to create an impactful focal point at one end. Or a cluster of pendants can be hung in this way for extra drama.”

Freedom pendant lights with navy blue kitchen island
(Credit: Courtesy of Freedom and Jodie Carter Design)

How high should a pendant light be over a kitchen island?

Use your own judgement to make sure it looks right and you won’t hit your head, but there is also a loose guide for how high and far apart to hang lights. “The pendant should hang approximately 90cm above the island bench,” says Penny. “The distance between the pendants will be dictated by the length of the island, but 50-75cm apart creates cohesion. We recommend leaving 30-40cm from the pendant to the end of the island.”

How do I clean a pendant light?

If you want your hanging kitchen lights to keep looking their best, you’ll need to give them a dust whenever you’re cleaning the house. “Consider pendants that are easy to maintain as they require regular cleaning to keep them in good condition,” says Penny. “Treat glass as you do your windows, and fabric or natural fibres like rattan or jute by brushing and vacuuming to keep them looking pristine.”

fabric pendant light kitchen
(Credit: Photography: Mindi Cooke / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

What other lights should I pair with kitchen pendants?

Pendant lights alone are not enough to light a kitchen. Kate suggests combining them with downlights for effective illumination. “Then you can explore the possibilities of decorative lighting. Under-cabinet lighting is also a wonderful way to allow for function while also enhancing the mood of your space.”

Does the material a kitchen pendant is made from matter?

“As long as the pendant light isn’t sitting above a cooktop, it should be okay,” says Kate. “There are some pendant lights that are made for outdoors that can be used internally which provide extra protection against factors such as moisture.”


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