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40 of the best Kitchen Island Lighting Ideas

Kitchens are often called the heart of the home, since there is a special kind of bonding that takes place while cooking and eating food. Because there is so much heart in the kitchen, it's important that this room facilitates the gatherings you want to host. If your kitchen has an island, this space can help define these gatherings, but no kitchen is complete without the proper lighting. We have gathered some of our favorite kitchen island lighting ideas and given some guidance in how to incorporate lights above your kitchen island.

Bright Ideas

Kitchens are highly used areas, which means that there must be enough lighting to make it a functional space as well as a stylish one. This kitchen relies on three hanging pendant lights over the island, which is ideal for creating a large area that is extremely well lit and practical. Since it is a seating area as well, the lighting not only impacts the practicality of prepping food in that area, but it also sets the proper mood for those eating in the kitchen. As you seek to brighten your kitchen, consider how to disperse lighting across the entire island to create optimal ambiance and functionality.

Modern Traditions

Modern and traditional styles can be combined to fit into a transitional style. The drum pendant lighting fixtures above this island fit into a modern aesthetic through the simple structure, ring, and color, but they are also traditional in their overall shape and use of a shade. If you find you enjoy both modern and traditional styles, use your kitchen island lights as an opportunity to blend those aesthetics to fit into a transitional style.

Elegant Executions

Although this chain light will not have the same brightness as other lights, its soft draping, small crystal lights, and placement enables it to be a beautiful accent for the island. This chandelier can be hung straight downwards or draped as this kitchen chose to do. When looking at lights, consider various mounting and style options to customize how the lights are displayed over your kitchen island.

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Odds and Evens

This kitchen island is designed to have three seats, and regardless of whether those seats are filled all at once, they are well balanced with the two pendant lights before them. If this room had used three fixtures, they would have been perfectly in line with the seats (or close to it). With one central fixture, the middle chair would have gotten far more light than the others. While you do not have to replicate this exact setup, carefully considering the lights' alignment with the chairs will help you strategically furnish and decorate your kitchen island.

Small Islands, Big Style

If you have a small kitchen island, you do not have to center a light directly above the middle of it. In fact, you can do as this kitchen did and have the light over the prep space and the sink to the other side of the light. Not only does this illuminate the most important part of the island, but it also visually balances with an attractive light on one side and a stylish sink on the other.

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Lines and Curves

In this mid century contemporary kitchen, the cabinets have taken on rounded shapes, which means that the light in front of them has the ability to use more rigid lines to create a statement. However, in blending with the arches of the cabinets, this linear suspension uses round glowing acrylic rods, which is an ideal balance between the clean straight lines and the rounded edges elsewhere in the room. While you do not have to recreate this aesthetic, you can see how it can complement spaces such as these and reinforce shape motifs seen elsewhere in the room.

Blown Glass Lights

Lights with glass bowls, especially ones that look hand blown, are an ideal addition to kitchens where you'd like an extra artistic touch. These sorts of lights come in many shapes and styles, so whether your kitchen is contemporary or traditional, you can find glass pendant lights that are perfectly suited for you.

Subtle Connections

The two pendant lights in this traditional kitchen are perfectly suited to complement the warm, neutral color palette of the space. However, there is one additional detail that neatly reinforces the room's style: the crossbars at the bottom of the pendant lights' bases. These crossed lines may not be identical to the x's on the backs of the chairs, but this similar structure neatly ties the space together in an unexpected way. You can similarly use the light's shapes and structures to tie back to other furnishings/decor to add a subtle yet effective motif.

One Decorative Light

Many of the kitchens thus far have featured multiple pendant lights to accent a kitchen island, but that is not the only approach one can take with illuminating the island. A linear pendant light can serve as one central focal point and brighten a larger area because of its design and how the light is cast.

Minimalist Design

Modern minimalism is a popular style for clean, uncluttered kitchen design. If you are sticking with a white color palette like this kitchen, your lights themselves can be white and still make a stylish statement. Two ways to have them stand out is to have a different shaped light versus the cabinets (so rounded lights versus rigid rectangular cabinets) and a different finish to be matte or glossy.

Consistent Style

Open concept homes are rising in popularity, which means that kitchens and dining rooms are often centered in the same large space. If that is the case in your home, choose modern lighting for both areas that falls into the same aesthetic and carries similar motifs. This kitchen chooses to consistently use lantern shapes, candles, and the same metallic finishes to create a unified space, which helps improve the flow between different areas.

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Works of Art

Lights are functional works of art, and that is made apparent in fixtures such as this pendant light from Flos. Incorporating an artistic pendant light or chandelier above a modern island is great method for creating a visually interesting space, setting the proper mood, and providing extra lighting.

Get inspired by Modern Kitchen Island Lighting Ideas!

Iconic Designers

The designers and craftspeople of Hubbardton Forge are known for the attention they put into each piece as well as employing designers from various crafts to inspire their unique designs. The Amulet LV Mini Pendants showcased here take clear inspiration from jewelry, which creates an aesthetic unlike any other. Most companies have signature aesthetics and specialities, so if you like a fixture from a certain company, consider shopping through their other collections for more of their specific style.

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Traditional Symmetry

Traditional style lighting puts an emphasis on symmetry and tidiness, which is why this kitchen's lighting and seating arrangement works well. Each chair lines up with a light, and with one light per chair, it creates a very evenly spread space that creates a traditional aesthetic. Consider this approach if you strive to create a traditional style in your kitchen.

Pendants and Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a great addition to kitchen spaces, since they add necessary task lighting and general lighting. Recessed ceiling lights are extremely simple and straightforward in their design, which means that pairing them with more traditional or ornate island pendant lighting will allow those pendants to shine as beautiful accents.

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Breaking The Mold

Modern kitchens tend to utilize sharp, clean lines through the furniture, cabinet detailing, handles, and backsplash. Aside from the accents placed in this kitchen, the lights are the two most prominent aspects that break that mold through round diffusers. Incorporating soft lines and rounded shapes through lighting fixtures is a fantastic way to maintain a kitchen's modern aesthetic and add stand-out island lights.

Semi Flush Styles

Semi flush ceiling lights are ideal for spaces with lower ceilings, since the lights will stay a fair distance from the kitchen island. Semi flush lights are available in transitional styles such as this, but they can also be traditional, modern, coastal, or even bohemian. Whatever your personal style is, you can find a semi flush ceiling light ideal for above your kitchen island.

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Mid Century Style

Mid century style often brings in vintage shapes, materials, and colors to brighten modern spaces. In this case, the three pendant lights above the island successfully add an unexpected pop of color, create that iconic mid century modern style, and tie back to other reds throughout the kitchen area. If you want to bring in a vintage yet modern aesthetic to your kitchen island space, mid century modern pendant lights may be your ideal fixtures.

Fine Finishes

The metallic finishes on your lights carry great weight in conveying the room's tone and style. The gold finishes on these three pendant lights add a warm metal to the room, but they also tie back to the pulls on the kitchen drawers and cabinets. It is a minor detail, but using similar finishes throughout all the kitchen's metals can help solidify a consistent style.

Double Islands, Double Lights

Double islands are becoming popular for kitchens, since one can be used for food preparations and the other can be focused solely on seating guests. If you have two islands, consider using two sets of lights to highlight each island. Those additional lights will serve to differentiate the two islands from one another and will add practical lighting to both spaces.

Focal Points

If the kitchen's hood is centered on the middle of a wall, then it is ideally placed to be the room's focal point. Therefore, when placing your kitchen island pendant lights, set them carefully so that they don't detract from your decorative hood vent. You may do as this kitchen did and use two pendants on either side of the hood vent, or you can space them out whatever way suits your kitchen's layout.

Eclectic Bohemian Style

A large part of bohemian style is being "piecemeal" in the sense that decorative elements are compiled over time and therefore are not one matching set. Modern iterations of boho style increase how often and well things match, but this kitchen keeps some of that eclectic spirit alive by having cabinet pulls that do not match the metal of the pendant lights. While it can be neat to have all the kitchen's fixtures match, having some differing elements here and there can create a natural, authentic style.

Moody Spaces

If you want to create a moody kitchen, the lights can fit into that style through their shape, light direction/brightness, and the color of the lighting fixture. As you can see through this kitchen, the light is cast dramatically downward, does not fill out the rest of the room, and thus preserves the room's moody ambiance.

Introducing Color

Neutral tones are highly prominent in kitchens, especially when paired with natural wood tones and stone. In order to add a pop of color to neutral kitchens, consider what lighting fixture(s) you'll use to highlight your island. The color can reinforce the room's tone and complement the room's established style even if that color only appears in the lighting fixture.

Warm and Cold

In general, gold tones tend to be warm and greys tend to be cold. In this kitchen that so heavily utilizes cold grey marbling throughout the walls and island, adding in warmth through the pendant light is a great way to add visual contrast and draw some warmth into the room's design.

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Casting Direction

In terms of practical kitchen island lighting, pendant lights and chandeliers typically direct focused light downward to create practical task lighting on the island. In addition to that, you can have light cast both upward and downward to provide that functional lighting and create ambiance.

The Grand Plan

When creating a functional kitchen, it is important to consider lighting in all areas. The three pendant lights above the island do an excellent job of developing the space's ambiance and practicality, but they are complemented by the under-cabinet lighting behind them. Creating a lighting plan for the entire room will allow you to adequately illuminate key areas and use fixtures that complement the room's aesthetic.

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Defying Expectation

Beaded chandeliers most commonly fall into a nautical style with light brown and cream beads. Defying expectation by incorporating dyed black beads into the chandelier is a masterful way to break the status quo and infuse your style into the kitchen.

Reflective Design

The chandeliers in this transitional kitchen have lighted candles in the middle of the structures, and then glass rods surround the candles to reflect and disperse those lights. In general, the impact of kitchen lights does not just come down to the brightness of the lights themselves, but how they are cast and how neary glass or glossy countertops can reflect that light as well. As you choose the light(s) fitting for your kitchen, consider how and where you would like light reflected to create a brighter space and impact the room's mood.

Foreign Design

The fixtures displayed in this kitchen were inspired by Moroccan designs and the craftsmanship of the people there. Even if your home falls into a simple modern style, you can use embellishments from other interior design branches to add interesting details and spark conversation.

Darkness and Light

With dark cabinets, it is important to incorporate plenty of light into your kitchen if you do not want a moody room. One way to quickly change the kitchen's mood is through a chandelier with warm tones and glass bowls. The glass bowls of this chandelier help spread the light further throughout the space to brighten it, which makes this kitchen feel balanced between the sophisticated dark cabinets and the warm contemporary light.

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Masterful Mid Century Modern

George Kovacs, designed both furniture and lighting fixtures for the style. This linear chandelier designed by Kovacs uses a distressed koa finish that reflects the wood tones used throughout the middle of the century. However, the lights are not the only element that establish that style: this kitchen's use of backsplash, countertops, and seats all use similar warm wood/metal finishes to create a cohesive style. In minimalist mid century kitchens, using warm tones like these against cold greys can create a masterful display of mid century modern style.

Finding Similarities in Differences

Lights, kitchen handles, and other metallic finishes are often identical to one another to create a wholly unified space. However, you can still create a cohesive design even with some metallic differences. The key is to ensure that the metals convey similar tones in warmth or coolness. The faucet and cabinet handles use a warm gold, and while the pendant lights use a different shade of bronze and gold, the warmth is in line with the kitchen's overall tone. This kitchen is a perfect example of how you can use various metals and have them work together, even if they do have some differences.

Intentional Placement

Pendant lights should be hung deliberately so that they are stunning accents, but they should also be placed so that they do not rest at eye level and blind anyone. The ideal height for pendant lights is approximately 30-36 inches above the island, although you may want to elevate the lights closer to 36 inches if they feature exposed bulbs.

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Dual Purposes

The sculptural nature of Hammerton Studio's Gem Ring Single Tier Chandelier allows it to serve as a functional work of art in more ways than one. The downward cast light is spread across the bottom ring to illuminate a larger area of the kitchen island while the gems reflect subtle light across the area to create ambiance. As you seek your ideal kitchen island light, choose what purposes you would like it to fulfill in order to best illuminate and decorate your kitchen.

To New Heights

In kitchens with high ceilings or ceilings that extend into the home's second level, there is greater potential for including lights that are vertically longer. Incorporating lights such as these will naturally lead the eye upward and draw appreciation for the home's architecture along with the beauty of the unorthodox lighting fixtures.

Common Collections

It has already been established how it is important to choose stylistically similar lighting fixtures to match one another in open concept layouts. If you do not feel comfortable searching and matching lights yourself, you may be able to choose lights from the same collection. Even if the light you love is not part of a collection, you can also look through the rest of that company's fixtures for similar aesthetics and finishes to help you establish a cohesive home.

Directional Design

Kitchen island lights that can be directed to shine in certain directions can help you make the most of your space and add a stylistic flair. These Flos AIM pendant lights give contemporary flair through their draping cables, varying heights and placements, and overarching style. Whether you use these exact lights or not, this kitchen shows the potential with unique lighting layouts and directions.

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Shades of Design

When traditional lights use lamp shades, they are typically solid as you cannot see through to the light. This simple decision means that the lights are typically cast downward and upward, since the light does not pass through the shade. However, some transitional chandeliers such as the Crystorama Hampton Chandelier shown here use semi-sheer drum shades that allow light to trickle through. The density and color of the shade dramatically impacts the light's overarching tone and direction, so you must carefully consider how lamp shade construction impacts the direction and strength of the light.

Off the Chain

Though the lighting fixture itself is often the focal point, the light's chain also has a large impact on the fixture's overarching style. Unlike more traditional or rustic chains, this light uses bold chunky links to create an unexpected statement. When you add a light to your kitchen island, look at every aspect of it as an opportunity to express your style - even the chain.

Kitchen island lighting is an essential part of defining the room's tone and creating a practical workspace. Whether your style is traditional, contemporary, elegant, or another aesthetic, you can choose island lighting that is both functional and beautiful to define your kitchen as a central hub where memories are made.


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