Probably the most popular use of pendant lights these days is for illuminating the kitchen, specifically above the kitchen island.
What is a kitchen island pendant light?
Please keep in mind this is not a technical categorization. It’s developed into a term because specific types of pendant lights are popular for kitchens.
The unifying design elements are as follows:
- Single fixture
That’s it. Basically it’s a long fixture base from which suspends either a “chandelier” style island light or a series of lights each independently suspended from the base.
Other than that, they span all finishes, bulbs, styles and prices.
4 Reasons to Use Pendants Above Kitchen Islands
- Look fabulous: A great pendant light or set can really add to a kitchens overall design.
- Don’t cause a hazard: Because of the island, there’s no risk you’ll walk into the suspended lights.
- Focused lighting: Because the island is an important work space, pendant lights are great for illuminating the workspace directly and in a focused way.
- Linear design: Pendants are long and narrow when one fixture (i.e. island pendant) or you can suspend 2 to 4 (or more) in a straight line. It’s an ideal configuration for kitchen islands (and peninsulas).
The problem you face is choosing a pendant light. This is not so easy given the huge variety of designs, sizes, shapes, styles, materials and bulbs (which you can read all about in our pendant light buying guide).
Given the huge selection and difficult decision you must make, we decided to put together a short list of ten top kitchen island pendant light options.
How we chose this list
Our selection process is part art and part science.
1. We scoured hundreds of lights: We’ve scoured hundreds of these types of pendants online. We narrowed our choice to designs we like. This is the part art portion.
2. Ensure they’re high-quality: With our short list of forty options, we then narrowed down the offerings based on customer reviews, both high volume (indicating popularity) and positive reviews (5 out of 5 stars).
Of course we recognize our picks aren’t necessarily the best for you because so much of choosing lighting fixtures is subjective. However, we hope our list serves as a starting point and maybe, just maybe, you’ll love one we chose to include in the list that you’ll love it for your kitchen.
Our list of the top ten kitchen island pendant lights
1. Ginsberg 5-Light Kitchen Island Pendant
- Style: Modern
- Design: 5 incandescent bulb in form of candles with a gunmetal bronze finish
This is a terrific choice for an island light, especially smaller island because it’s a contemporary design without being to “out-there”. This could fit in many kitchen designs and colors – principally both natural wood and white kitchens.
I say it’s great for a smaller island because it’s one fixture so doesn’t span too much. If you have a huge island, you’ll need a series of individual pendants.
2. Neal 9-Light Kitchen Island Pendant
- Style: Modern
- Design: 9 Xenon bulb linear pendant light.
Here’s another single fixture pendant with a 56″ base. That said, it doesn’t look like a single fixture since each bulb suspends independently from the base.
It’s a sleek, clean look that adds a touch of glam to your kitchen and while it’s not a traditional light fixture, it would definitely work in most white and grey kitchens.
3. Ariel 3-Light Kitchen Island Pendant
- Style: Traditional
- Design: Adjustable 3 incandescent bulb traditional pendant light
This is so cool. You can adjust the height of the lights with the adjacent pulleys. You can suspend them at the same height or at different heights. I love this design feature and how it’s juxtaposed against the traditional design.
4. Leda 3-Light Kitchen Island Pendant
- Style: Industrial
- Design: 3 incandescent wire-cage industrial single-base pendant light.
We included this particular pendant because of its industrial design, but not so industrial that you couldn’t incorporate it in a more genteel kitchen. The galvanized steel finish along with the wire cage surrounding the bulbs create the industrial look, but it still gives off a genteel look.
5. Bruges 3-Light Kitchen Island Pendant
- Style: Industrial chic
- Design: 3 incandescent bulbs suspended from single small round base with “tube-like” fixtures.
As you can see, we like the industrial look. An industrial light fixture adds character and a bit of grittiness to kitchens, especially the popular gleaming, pristine white kitchen designs that are popular. This fixture also works in a wood-tone kitchen as well given the soft grey finish.
6. Fulton 8-Light Pendant
- Style: Vintage
- Design: 8 incandescent candle style bulb minimalist vintage pendant from single base.
If you like the vintage look, which I do if not overdone, this is pendant light fixture to consider. It’s actually a minimalist vintage style which doesn’t dominate the kitchen space, but definitely adds interest above the island.
7. Bruges 3-Light Kitchen Pendant
- Style: Elegant vintage
- Design: 3 incandescent mini-bowl pendant lights from single fixture.
This particular lighting fixture is an interesting mixture of elegance and vintage, two styles seemingly at odds, but works well here. On the one hand you have the vintage tubing holding the fixture together; on the other hand you have the elegant shiny chrome and white glass shade. This is part of the bruges design collection by Trent Austin Design.
8. Structures 3-Light Kitchen Island Light
- Style: Modern
- Design: 3 incandescent bulb modern design.
For those of you that love the modern look, this particular pendant will enhance your modern kitchen‘s modern style big time. It’s a sleek design in every respect, from the fixture itself to the bulbs. The slight curvature, in my view, adds to modern look and actually gives it a dynamic design.
9. Bouvet 5-Light Kitchen Island Pendant
- Style: Industrial urban
- Design: 5 bulbs. Accommodates LED, incandescent or compact fluerescent (CFL).
There’s nothing subtle about this lighting fixture. It’s “in your face” urban industrial with the thick metal bronze cage. Also, take a look at the bulbs; they have a vintage industrial look to them which is a really nice touch.
10. Maitland Island Light
- Style: Traditional
- Design: Elegant traditional 3-bulb pendant light
Traditional style with a touch of country. Adding this to your kitchen will give it a traditional country touch, even if the rest of the kitchen doesn’t have much of a country feel. The bronze fixture and soft brown shades create the country feel along with the curves. It’s definitely on the ornate side, but if your kitchen is fairly plain this adds a touch of ornate. That said, if your kitchen is on the ornate side and that’s what you love, this will enhance the ornate look throughout.
What if you have a long island?
The above single base pendants are best for smaller islands, which is the size of island in most kitchens.
However, if you have a long island, these single-base options won’t work. In that case, you’ll need to buy a series of independent pendants. My wife and I lived in a house with a very long island above which were three pendants spaced out.
How important is pendant light fixture selection?
In my view it’s very important for two reasons.
1. Focal point: The light will fill a space between the floor and the ceiling. It’s eye-level. Anyone walking into the kitchen will notice the lights first because they are at eye-level and of course they give off light.
This means they are a focal point.
2. Adjust the overall design: Moreover, you can use your pendant lighting fixture to enhance or adjust your kitchen’s design. For instance, if you have a traditional white kitchen, you can add a touch of vintage or rustic or country with the pendant. Or, you can enhance the traditional design by going with a traditional pendant. In a nutshell, this part of the kitchen gives you the ability to slightly, but effectively, manipulate or tweak the overall look and feel of your kitchen.