Pendant Lights for Kitchen Islands: The Complete Guide

Pendant lights are a beautiful form of light fixture that can completely transform a room if done correctly

Similar to breakfast bar lights, they can come in all shapes and sizes, allowing you to choose the perfect one to accentuate your home decor.

When you’re looking a pendant light specifically to hang above a kitchen island, there are several factors you’ll want to consider. Kitchen island lighting is a skill!

Here we go through some of the main factors when thinking of kitchen lighting ideas, allowing you to be confident you’re making the right decision for your interior design project.

Size and Shape

The first factor to think about for kitchen light fittings is what size and shape of pendant light you’re after. 

This is important as your kitchen lights will act as the main point of focus of your kitchen. Hanging above the kitchen island, they will shine the light around the whole room, illuminating everything around it.

And the size and shape of the light can affect how this light dissipates throughout your kitchen very differently. Let’s go through the two main styles.


1. Long & Thin

Nordic Hanging Pendant Lights over Kitchen Island

A classic pendant light design, long and thin pendant lights are a staple of many people’s interior designs, particularly when it comes to kitchen island lights. 

They work so well because there is a smooth transition between the wire attached to the ceiling and the gradual widening of the pendant light itself.

Some pendant lights that are quite wide can be jarring to look at when not designed correctly, especially when the base of the fixture is significantly wider than the cable it is connected to.

Long & thin pendant lights however strike the perfect balance between subtle design and outstanding beauty.

This style of pendant light tends to aim the light directly down onto the kitchen island, where it then bounces effortlessly around the rest of the room.

If you have a marble kitchen island or a kitchen island with a light, reflective colour, I would definitely recommend looking into some long & thin pendant lights!

Our Nordic Hanging Pendant Lamps (pictured above) are a great place to start.


2. Short & Wide

Nordic Wooden Pendant Lights

In contrast to the long & thin pendant lights we have the short & wide pendant lights.

As stated previously, these pendant lights need to be designed well to not look out of place when hanging down from your ceiling. Kitchen lights over islands should blend in and accentuate, not look out of place.

Take our Nordic Wooden Pendant Lights for example. 

You’ll notice the base of the light fixture – where the pendant light connects with the wire – is thin, and it gradually gets wider as you go down the light.

This is the perfect way to avoid the jarring look I mentioned previously. The gradual width increase works much better, and also gives the light a clean, sophisticated look.

This style of pendant light usually aims the light down, similar to the long & thin lights, but also have cut-outs or gaps allowing the light to shine out from the sides too.

This is done to help the light appear more inviting, as a short, bulky light hanging from your ceiling with the light only shining directly down can look a bit intimidating.



The next factor to consider when looking for pendant lights to hang above your kitchen island is the material used. 

The choice of material will dictate a few other things, such as how heavy your light will be, the feel and texture of the light, and the styles available.

For kitchen lights, the main material choices are going to be metal, wood, and plastic.

All three materials have their pros and cons, which can briefly be summarised as the following:



+ Heavy, so has a quality feel to it
- Very reflective due to its metallic nature, so can be quite bright to look at


+ Very versatile, so numerous shapes are available
- Can be susceptible to water damage if not treated before installation


+ Lightweight and malleable, so numerous shapes are available
- Can look out of place when paired alongside metal lights


Don’t forget that some pendant lights will use a combination of materials to produce the best design! 

For example, metal and plastic are often paired so that you can have a light with the weight and quality of metal, while also benefiting from the malleability of the plastic. Something to consider when thinking about kitchen island ideas!


Hanging Height

Another important factor to consider for your kitchen pendant lights is the hanging height you’re looking for.

Luckily, most pendant lights will come with adjustable length wires, meaning they are supplied with a very long wire that can then be shortened to however long you require.

This is true for many our pendant lights. For each light, we will have an image detailing the measurements of the light, and if the hanging height is adjustable this is where it will be labelled (for example, “1.5m (adjustable)”).


Emitting Colour

The last main factor to consider will be the emitting colour of the light.

The emitting colour you choose for your pendant lights are going to have a big impact on the atmosphere of your kitchen.

The kitchen island is often the centrepiece of your kitchen, so having the correct colour given off by the lights above this centrepiece is crucial.

Generally, you have a choice of three emitting colours: warm light, natural light, and cool light.

Each of these is represented by a number on the Kelvin scale, but for simplicity they are often categorised simply as warm, natural, and cool light.

But to be specific, warm light is usually anywhere between 2000-3000K, cool light is anywhere between 3100-4500K, and natural light (sometimes known as neutral light or daylight) is anywhere between 4600K-6500K.

Here at the Cavelights Store, we categorise each light by its emitting colour, allowing you to search for a light by the emitting colour you’re after.

This way, if you already know you’re after a warm atmosphere in your kitchen and you want a light with a warm emitting colour, you can do this quickly and easily.

Here’s how:

Navigate to the Pendant Lights page here:

On the left-hand side of the page you will see the filters available to use, one of these being Emitting Colour. Here, you can select the emitting colour you’re after, and only see those lights that are available with that emitting colour. Simple!

 The Cavelight Store Navigation Menu screenshot

And there you have it!

We hope this guide has helped you on your journey towards the perfect pendant lighting for your kitchen island.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send us an email at or contact us via our Contact Form.