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Pendant Lighting Tips for the Kitchen

Kitchens are often home to the most important work, and correct lighting is essential to the overall function of the space. Pendant lights create a statement and assist in usage—this will determine not only what can be done in the kitchen, but how efficiently, creating atmosphere in the process. Follow these steps to light your kitchen in the most appropriate way.

Get Glowing

Find inspiration in your home before deciding what colours and materials your pendant lights should be. Match the finishes of your lighting to the rest of your kitchen and surrounding rooms. Flow chrome, matte, and coloured metals through your kitchen to synchronise design. Create a unique look by coordinating any soft furnishings; create a modern setting with rose gold door handles, or pastel blue tea towels and complimentary pendants.

Next, consider how you use the space. If you love to cook, look for a functional light; if entertaining is more your speed, an ambient glow will work to your benefit. Change up minimalist, monochrome rooms with a brightly coloured fixture. Use a bold colour for a modern statement or pastels for a softer look.

Consider the location of any existing lights. Natural light will work for certain times of the day, weather permitting, however working later at night will require something else. Decide whether you require a pendant to illuminate specific tasks, create an overall sweep of light, or for a design aspect. Create a statement with a unique shape, shade or arrangement. Update the décor of your kitchen with an appropriate bulb colour to suit what you use your space for. Even in a kitchen, warm light is often the most appropriate. Avoid harsh, bright circles of light; instead use a diffuser, shade, semi-opaque bulb, or dimmer switch.

Look at the items already in your kitchen—the shapes and materials of your furniture will complement the light you use. A round table will work well with a large pendant light or a cluster of small pendants in the same or different styles.

Use energy efficient bulbs whenever possible to save yourself energy and money.

Task Lighting

Depending on what your kitchen is used for, task lighting may be what you require from a pendant light.

Highlight a workspace with a pendant light that is pointing down. This can be achieved through a lighting option with an open or glass bottom.

Your task lighting should be hung over 30 inches over your workspace. At this height, use slim pendants so they do not block your view. At this height, avoid bright bulbs.

Ambient Lighting

If illuminating a larger area is more appropriate, an ambient lighting pendant is for you. This option will illuminate the whole room and is appropriate for a large family or more than one cook. A general rule of thumb to remember when looking for ambient lights is that a large pendant is not often the answer. Opt for multiple lamps, spread evenly across the space, or multiple bulbs under a large shade, hung at an appropriate length.

Accent Lighting

To show-off certain areas, accent lighting is the appropriate option to make a design statement.

Large, expensive items can be put on show with the use of pinpoint lighting. Put the glitter and gold in your expensive bench top on show with a set of neutral coloured pendants. Hang three pendants like 1825 Interiors’ Marc Pendant Light ($213.00) lengthways and evenly for a striking design feature.

Decorative Lighting

While accent lighting shows off a feature of your kitchen, use the light itself as a feature with a decorative fixture, coloured bulb, or shade to create patterned shadows. Compliment your home with a feature to suit—a coloured bulb can create an intimate setting, an exciting feature can act as art, drawing guests into the room, and a decorative shade can cast intricate shadows on tall ceilings.

For a budget-with-a-bang option, multi task your fixtures with a decorative, functional downward light or blend task and ambient lights with soft pendants.


Hanging your pendant at the correct height is an important step to get right. Large pendants should not be hung too high. When looking at large pendants from below, the space between the bulb and shade becomes prominent. Make the most of this with a patterned lampshade, opting for warm tones to create an ambience in the room. For a modern look instead, use multiple bulbs within the shade.

A decorative pendant can be hung higher for an interest piece in the room, as they contribute little to the overall lighting. Alternatively, pendants with a decorative chain may be hung lower to draw attention. Dining table lighting should be hung 70-82 inches over your countertop. General pendants can hang 9 feet above the floor of your room.


Kitchen lighting does not have to be clinical—make your entertaining space comfortable and inviting and enjoy the space you’re in with a light to suit.