How to light a kitchen island in 6 easy ways

The kitchen is the heart of the household. It’s where you cook, eat and spend time with family and friends. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful kitchen island in an open-plan kitchen, don’t keep it in the dark! 

Kitchen lighting, especially lighting for your island, is essential to get right as it should function as task lighting for meal preparation but also create the right atmosphere for socialising and enjoying meals together. 

Kitchens need to function with adequate lighting, but that doesn’t mean your lighting has to be glaring and ugly. Here are six ways to light your kitchen island to provide functional lighting for cooking, cleaning and socialising that also looks stunning.

Table of contents

The Italian Collection Cocktail Small Ceiling Pendant in White

Pendant lights

Pendant lights are a fantastic way to illuminate your kitchen island. If they have a shade, they provide concentrated task lighting to the island to help you see what you’re doing. Alternatively, you can choose a more open pendant light for general ambient lighting. 

In addition to providing practical lighting, a pendant light over an island can contribute to the interior design of your kitchen. As they usually hang low and are in the middle of the room, highlighting the primary workspace of the kitchen, it can be the first thing people see when they walk into the kitchen. Therefore, you want the centrepiece of the room to look stylish.

If you want your pendant light to be an eye-catching design choice that draws the eye and sparks interest, consider an extravagant or innovative design that looks unique. Or, go big to make a bold statement with an oversized pendant light.

Size also matters. The size and shape of your kitchen island will determine how many pendant lights you need to illuminate it sufficiently. If you have a smaller or square kitchen island, you may want to opt for a singular statement pendant light. 

Or, if you have a large island or it’s more rectangular, you can create a very eye-catching look by following the rule of three. Suspend three pendant lights in a row above your kitchen island for a dramatic triplet effect. You can also find pendant light fixtures with multiple lights in one fitting to achieve this impactful look. 

Whether you have a country-style kitchen, an industrial-chic interior or an ultra-modern aesthetic, there are hundreds of kitchen island lighting options in our pendant lights collection here at Castlegate Lights. 

The Italian Collection Cono Bar Pendant in Polished Chrome with Clear Glass Shades

How low should a pendant light hang?

We recommend suspending your pendant light with a 76-91cm gap between the light and the kitchen island. However, there is some room for creative licence; the lower the lamp, the more dramatic the lighting effect. 

However, you still want to maintain a functional workspace. The lower the lamp is, the more concentrated the beam will be, diminishing the ambient light to the rest of the kitchen and creating more shadows on the countertop. 

Furthermore, you don’t want the height of the pendant lights over the island to interfere with your work. Hang the pendant light too low, and you could knock it with your hands or head. 

The Italian Collection Equinoxe Chandelier in Brass


Similarly to pendant lights, a chandelier can illuminate your kitchen island surface, provide task lighting and add elegance and grandeur to your kitchen. 

Chandeliers provide an eye-catching statement piece in the centre of your kitchen, perfect for highlighting the central kitchen island. Whether you have an industrial-style kitchen with brass fixings or an elegant French country-style kitchen, we offer a range of chandeliers to match your kitchen aesthetic. 

Iluzzia New Onuba Aluminium Round Ceiling Spotlight In White


There are other ways to illuminate your kitchen island if you don’t like the idea of a protruding hanging pendant light in the middle of your kitchen. For example, spotlights are a sleek and subtle way to illuminate your kitchen island. 

We offer a selection of spotlight light fittings, depending on the size of your island and where you want to illuminate. From single spotlights to multiple spotlights mounted on a bar, you can adjust spotlights to point where you need the light most on your kitchen island. For larger kitchen islands, choose a longer spotlight bar to illuminate the entire space. 

The Italian Collection Basic Wide Recessed Ceiling Light In Matt White


Downlights are another excellent way to illuminate your kitchen island. They will allow you to see what you’re doing, whether cooking up a storm or serving drinks to guests, by providing bright, direct light. 

Strategically place a selection of downlights above your kitchen island to get the light you need to complete your daily tasks. Or, use adjustable downlights to point light beams towards your high-work areas. 

Downlights offer practical yet clean and minimalist lighting, perfect for a modern kitchen interior.

Lucide Floris Track Pendant Light In Matt Gold

Track Lighting

Another contemporary way to illuminate your kitchen island is to add track lighting. Track lighting consists of a ceiling-mounted track which supplies an electric current to the track lights. The lights slot into the track. And because they aren’t attached, you can fully adjust their position and direction to suit your needs at any time. 

Track lighting has a contemporary, industrial aesthetic, meaning it blends well in a modern kitchen design. 

Under-cabinet Lighting

Lighting your kitchen island doesn’t have to be purely functional. Add light layers to your island by highlighting the underside of the countertop to create a futuristic glow. 

Under-cabinet lighting around the island can add depth to your kitchen, and when you finish cooking or socialising, leave the light on to create a cosy atmosphere. 

Kitchen island lighting at Castlegate Lights

Kitchen island lighting is primarily functional. It helps you see what you’re doing while cooking, eating and socialising, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. 

Create an eye-catching centrepiece with a pendant light or chandelier suspended above the worktop and create a focal point around the room’s centre. Or, if you have a modern kitchen, use spotlights or downlights to illuminate your kitchen island with bright adjustable beams. 

Whether you have a modern kitchen aesthetic or a vintage interior, you can find hundreds of kitchen lights in our collection to beautifully illuminate your kitchen island at Castlegate Lights. 

Related blogs

Comments are closed here.