Without a doubt, how to plan your lighting for your kitchen island is one of the biggest questions I get! My pendants over my island, should they be big? Should they be little? How many should there be? How do I calculate it? That’s what we’re diving into in this video.
Alright, so let’s dive into this topic and it’s kind of a deep topic. I have some visuals to share with you as well. But first, let’s separate things out a little bit logically. There’s the size of the island, there’s the size of the light fixture. They’re related, okay? There’s the height at which you hang your fixture off your countertop and then there’s where you place your fixture through the island, okay?
So, let’s do the easiest piece first. How high off the island countertop should you hang? Generally speaking between 30 and 36 inches from countertop to the bottom of your fixture pace. Okay? 30 to 36 inches will do it for you.
Okay, how wide should your fixtures be? How many fixtures should you do? Well, now, we’re getting into some dicey waters and this has to do with how long your island is and how wide it is.
A really quick, easy trick is to take the width of your island and subtract 12 inches from either side to tell you what your ideal width could be, might be. And I’ll show this in a picture.
Let’s take a look at an island that’s in a real kitchen that we’ve designed. Take a look at this image.
So, let’s take a look at an island, it’s a 138 inch island and we wanted to first calculate what would the ideal diameter of those fixtures.
So, we took 12 inches away from the island on either side and I gave us a diameter of 18 inches. So, 18 inches was the ideal diameter size if we wanted to do three fixtures.
How do we calculate where to place those fixtures. The easiest thing to do is divide your island in half as we did here, the center fixture, notice, is sitting right through that center line of the island. And then, you have a choice, what we did is we centered the fixtures on left and right on the left hand side of the island, it’s centered from center of island to the edge, and on the right hand side of the island that right hand fixture is centered from center of the island to the right hand edge.
So, placement for three fixtures maps very cleanly across this island. Again, calculate your ideal width and then do your placement. If you want to experiment a little bit with two fixtures instead, watch what happens in this image .
Here, what we did was we again had that center line already determined on this island. But now we were able to make those fixtures a little bit bigger. Those fixtures are now 28 inches in diameter. “What I thought you told me I had to take 12 inches away from either side of my island edge?” Yeah I did tell you that. But, when we looked at this island in our studio with reducing it to two fixtures only, we saw that making the fixtures a little bit bigger really helped with the visual balance. So, take away for you so far is a little bit of art and a little bit of science.
Now, take a look at this kitchen in real life. There you have the three fixtures. What we decided to do ideally at the end of the day, we didn’t continue all of those fixtures through the entire island. What we did do was we centered center fixture and center line of the island. And then, we spaced the additional two fixtures approximately 24 to 30 inches apart from each other because we had other recessed lighting that is also eliminating that island. Some of that recessed lighting has actually been that photoshop out of this photo image. But the lighting is there, nonetheless, which is why we have really clean lighting broadcast to the entire island.
So, what’s the take away? The take away is this, remember that you do have overhead lighting and your recessed lighting, which is also broadcasting like on to your island. So, you don’t have to rely solely on your pendants, to do all of the heavy lifting for the lighting on your island.
So, to recap height, off of your counter 30 to 36 inches from the counter to the base of your fixtures. To get yourself thinking about what your ideal diameter will be on your light fixtures, as a starting point, start with subtracting 12 inches from either end or the width of your island and that will help you see what the diameter is. As far as two or three fixtures, it depends how big fixtures you want to be and how big the whole island is. Try playing with that centerline trick that I taught you to place a center of three fixtures or to split up two fixtures if you’re only doing two fixtures.
Watch this video again, take some notes and hopefully this will help align your thinking to pick the right lighting for your kitchen island.