How to Layout Pendants on an Island or Penninsula
One of the most common questions I see relates to the height and spacing of pendant lights over an
island or peninsula in a kitchen. The height the bottom of pendants should be can vary a bit and is
subjected to personal preference. As a general rule, anywhere from 30" to 36" from the top of the
counter to the bottom of the fixture is the norm. That doesn't mean you can't make it higher or
lower depending on some other variables such as the height of adults in the home, ceiling heights
and design of the fixtures themselves.
For the spacing there are some basics to understand. Before I get to that there is one very important
thing that sometimes gets overlooked.
Make sure the pendants will have enough clearence from
any cabinet doors that will open. It seems simple enough, but from what I have seen it deserves to
be mentioned.
Okay onto the spacing. To understand why the spacing should be a certain way it is important to
understand the pattern of light. As a general rule with most pendants, the pattern of light will be a
circle. The size of the circle will vary depending on the fixture and type of bulb. For the most part
at about 36" from the counter surface the circle will be about 36".



The diagram to the right shows the
basic idea. Remember that this small
circle of light is the most intense
light and not the full circle. The
pattern will continue out in a larger
circle but the light diminishes as it
gets further away from the center.

In this diagram you can see that by
placing the fixtures too far apart
there is a space which will result in
a shadow on the counter. The basic
idea is if your trying to light the
counter, you want to try and keep
most of the light there and not have
it spill off onto the floor. It also is
visually appealing to have an even
spread of light over the entire
counter.
To determine the spacing is just a matter of a little math. The length is the first thing you'll need to
know. Let's use 60" as an example. Now let's say we want to place three pendants over the island.
The formula is C or the distance between the center of the fixtures on the end to the edge of the
counter is always 1/2 of
B which is the distance center to center from the middle fixture to the end or
next fixture.Now using this we know we have
A 60" overall and we need to divide this by 3. The
reason it is three is we are adding a
B + B and 2 X C (which is another B) Now we know that each B
measurment is 20" and each
C measurement is 10". If you have more than three fixtures they would
be spaced with a
B. Hopefully I have explained this clear enough. If not and you still have questions
just ask in the forum, I'm always glad to help.
Lighting Forum
Below are some pendant layouts we have installed so you can get an idea of what they look like
5 pendants over a kitchen island
In this kitchen with a 2 level
counter on a large island we are
using both pendants and
recessed lights to illuminate it.
Notice how the pendants follow
the contour of the high level on
the island.
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How to Layout Pendants on an
Island or Penninsula