Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right

The kitchen island is often a central gathering spot in the home, in addition to being a functional, much-used workspace. That’s why it’s important to light it right. Houzz is a fan of hanging fixtures, which, if chosen correctly, provide ambient and task lighting while acting like beautiful jewelry. Here are a few key tips for selecting kitchen island lights that get the job done while looking great.

How to Get Your Kitchen Island Lighting Right


As a general rule of thumb, the more copies of a pendant you’re hanging, the simpler the pendant should be. Mini-chandeliers work well because if there are only two of them and they aren’t full-size, so they bring a little drama but not too much. If a light fixture clearly feels like a chandelier, it’s usually best to use just one and let it be a statement piece. Repeating such a large, standout feature can detract from its grandeur.


They might not seem striking if used individually, but together their architectural look is beautiful. The simplicity rule is especially important when a more dramatic chandelier is present nearby, such as over a dining table. Let the multiple pendants be much simpler so they aren’t fighting for attention, and consider using a similar finish to tie all the fixtures together. In general, an elegant, understated bell or schoolhouse shape is a safe bet for anything from two to 12 pendants. These beautifully hold their own without clashing with other accents.

Multi-Bulb Fixtures

One advantage of multi-bulb fixtures is that they bring extra sparkle and even out the lighting without cluttering your sightlines. Choose a style with a hurricane-lantern-like shade for a transitional effect that balances modern and traditional elegance.

Track Lights

Who says track lights are a thing of the past? Modern gallery-like lights tucked up against the ceiling will add functional lighting to an island while preserving a wide-open and airy look. Use simple white fixtures against a white ceiling, or place them between beams, and they’ll disappear even more than pot lights.

Dropped Ceilings

If you want to add pot lights or any other recessed fixture but don’t have the ability to install the wiring in a solid ceiling, try a dropped panel. It visually anchors an island while providing a cavity for the new electrical. Plus, you can add modern cove lighting to give the space an extra glow that mimics daylight pouring in from a skylight. You can also add an LED strip that faces downward for a modern twist on the usual pot light, as seen in this example. Try covering the panel in a fun color, or add some organic interest with wood, so the panel itself becomes decorative.

credit: houzz