Your Guide to Ceiling Pendants

Pendant lights are popular among many home designs. These versatile ceiling pendants unequivocally fit the bill in a variety of zones where points of light and design converge. Adding ceiling pendants over the kitchen island has been a design element we’ve seen and loved for a while, but interior designers and trendsetters are taking it a step further. We are starting to see designs incorporating unique, stylish pendants over dining tables, above the bath vanity, over the dressing table, by your favorite reading chair and over chic desks.

Whether your lighting design taste sways toward sparkling crystal or rustic farmhouse, selecting the correct size and number of pendants is key to creating a space that is both functional and beautiful.

HEIGHT- Vertigo -Corbett

Style: Mid-Century Modern // Featured: Corbett Lighting Vertigo Pendant

How-to Select and Install Ceiling Pendants

According to the American Lighting Association:

two common mistakes homeowners make when installing ceiling pendant lights are not placing them at the proper height and not installing enough.

Check out our 5 helpful tips to help you avoid making these common mistakes:


Each ceiling pendant should be installed so that the bottom of the shade is approximately 66-72 inches above the floor.  If the shades are not very deep and there is seating at the kitchen island, pendants may be installed a few inches lower, about 60-64 inches above the floor. Keep in mind, most kitchen islands are 36-42 inches high. Be sure to review your specs to make individual adjustments.


Style: Restoration Vintage // Featured: Hinkley Lighting Amelia Mini Pendant


For evenly distributed task lighting, one pendant for every two feet of counter space is recommended.  For example, a six-foot island requires three pendants—one in the center with another 20 inches on each side.  An odd number of mini pendants over a counter or island may look more balanced, but adjust according to size: thin, narrow pendants look better with the addition of one or two extra fixtures.  Oversized ceiling pendants may look best installed in pairs.

Fine_Art_795040_bStyle: Contemporary //  Featured: Fine Art Catalyst Energy Smart Mini Pendant 



Just like a dining room chandelier, a pendant light or a series of hanging ceiling pendants should measure 12-18 inches less than the diameter of the surface over which they are installed. For example, if you have an island that is 36 inches wide, the diameter of your hanging pendants should not be greater than 24 inches.

Range Robert Abbey Style: Modern Industrial // Featured: Robert Abbey Rico Espinet Candelaria Chandelier


Ceiling pendants should serve as a decorative focal point, while providing an unobstructed view across the room.  Over the island or dining table, allow for a clearance of 28-34 inches between the bottom of the fixture and the surface top.  If hanging a single large pendant over a desk, the fixture may rest lower to bring illumination closer to the task.  Pendants on either side of a vanity mirror should hang at eye-level centered 36 inches apart, about 18 inches from the sink on either side.

kichler cobson 42580nbr kitchenStyle: Traditional Industrial // Featured: Kichler Cobson Large Pendant

The Designer’s Eye

Most pendant light fixtures come with plenty of cord so you may install with precision to optimize functional and decorative lighting effects. Oversized pendants may hang lower for dramatic effect; while some mini-ceiling pendants may look best at 40 inches over a countertop.


Style: Restoration Vintage // Featured: Murray Feiss Adams Large Pendant

New Trending Styles

We’re also noticing a style surge of ceiling pendants scattered at varying heights to add interest to design schemes.

QUANTITY Kichler_Everly_42046OZ_Kitchen

Featured: Rustic Large Pendant Kichler Everly


Do you like this pendant design trend? Are you thinking about adding pendants into your home or work space?

4 Comments on Your Guide to Ceiling Pendants

  1. The Live Brighter Team
    March 25, 2016 at 7:22 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi Jana! We have a different angle of that kitchen where you are able to see the rest of the backsplash, but we can’t upload it to this comment :-/

    So, we’ve added it to our Pinterest board here: for you to view it.

    Let us know what you think!

  2. Sianne Chong
    March 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi Michelle,

    Our Lighting Professional, Lawrence Morgan suggests doing three 24″ pendants over your dining room table, however if you want to stick with two pendants, he suggests bumping up the size to 30″. We hope that helps!

  3. Michelle
    March 23, 2016 at 3:39 am (5 years ago)

    My dining table is 120″ long and 40″ wide. I would like to have 2 industrial globes installed. What should the dimensions be?

  4. jana kwik
    March 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm (5 years ago)

    Curious if I can see the entire picture to appreciate the entire tiled backsplash. Gorgeous


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