Editor's Picks, Ideas + Inspiration

Modern Kitchen Pendant Lighting Ideas

The modern kitchen has become a natural gathering space as the popular “open concept” remains a staple of interior design. Because it’s a room where many events take place, from workday breakfasts to large-scale entertaining, kitchen lighting is perhaps more important than any other room of the home. Not only must there be adequate ambient light, task lighting is key when dealing with sharp knives, boiling water, and other common kitchen jobs. We’ll take you through some kitchen pendant ideas for getting the light just right in the busiest room in the house.

Layer Your Lighting

Layered lighting is attractive and effective in the kitchen. A balance of ambient, task, and accent lighting can not only define the mood in your space, it also lends practicality and performance when installed in the right proportions. Shown: Beat Wide Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

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Layered lighting is attractive and effective in the kitchen. A balance of ambient, task, and accent lighting can not only define the mood in your space, it also lends practicality and performance when installed in the right proportions. Shown: Beat Wide Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Layered lighting is attractive and effective in the kitchen. A balance of ambient, task, and accent lighting can not only define the mood in your space, it also lends practicality and performance when installed in the right proportions. Shown: Beat Wide Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Layer Your Lighting
Proper Proportions

Smaller kitchens, abbreviated islands and even lower ceilings can still benefit from pendants that are in proportion with the space. Slender pendants can be just as impactful when hung in multiples. Shown: Champagne Wands 1-Light LED Pendant Light by SONNEMAN Lighting

Smaller kitchens, abbreviated islands and even lower ceilings can still benefit from pendants that are in proportion with the space. Slender pendants can be just as impactful when hung in multiples. Shown: Champagne Wands 1-Light LED Pendant Light by SONNEMAN Lighting

Smaller kitchens, abbreviated islands and even lower ceilings can still benefit from pendants that are in proportion with the space. Slender pendants can be just as impactful when hung in multiples. Shown: Champagne Wands 1-Light LED Pendant Light by SONNEMAN Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Go Big(ger)

Medium and large pendants, as well as linear suspension lights and mini pendants, can do double duty as ambient and task lighting, particularly when installed on a dimmer switch. And as long as the pendant provides a bright pool of downlight, it can be considered task lighting. Shown: Brynne LED Pendant Light by Feiss

Medium and large pendants, as well as linear suspension lights and mini pendants, can do double duty as ambient and task lighting, particularly when installed on a dimmer switch. And as long as the pendant provides a bright pool of downlight, it can be considered task lighting. Shown: Brynne LED Pendant Light by Feiss

Medium and large pendants, as well as linear suspension lights and mini pendants, can do double duty as ambient and task lighting, particularly when installed on a dimmer switch. And as long as the pendant provides a bright pool of downlight, it can be considered task lighting. Shown: Brynne LED Pendant Light by Feiss

Layer Your Lighting
Solo performance

Whether space or style dictates, a single pendant can stand alone if its proportion allows it to command attention. Install a striking single pendant to highlight a particular area--it will work with your overall lighting scheme as long as you have a layered plan for other zones. Shown: Unfold Pendant Light by Muuto

Whether space or style dictates, a single pendant can stand alone if its proportion allows it to command attention. Install a striking single pendant to highlight a particular area--it will work with your overall lighting scheme as long as you have a layered plan for other zones. Shown: Unfold Pendant Light by Muuto

Whether space or style dictates, a single pendant can stand alone if its proportion allows it to command attention. Install a striking single pendant to highlight a particular area--it will work with your overall lighting scheme as long as you have a layered plan for other zones. Shown: Unfold Pendant Light by Muuto

Layer Your Lighting
Place Properly

Pay careful attention to the placement of your pendants. Too far apart and the light pools will have noticeable shadows between them on your countertops, giving a spotlight effect. Space them so that the light on your surfaces overlaps enough to create a continuous illuminated area. Shown: Beat Light Collection by Tom Dixon

Pay careful attention to the placement of your pendants. Too far apart and the light pools will have noticeable shadows between them on your countertops, giving a spotlight effect. Space them so that the light on your surfaces overlaps enough to create a continuous illuminated area. Shown: Beat Light Collection by Tom Dixon

Pay careful attention to the placement of your pendants. Too far apart and the light pools will have noticeable shadows between them on your countertops, giving a spotlight effect. Space them so that the light on your surfaces overlaps enough to create a continuous illuminated area. Shown: Beat Light Collection by Tom Dixon

Image via Dwell

Image via Dwell

Image via Dwell

Layer Your Lighting
Line Up

Track and monorail installations allow versatile and widespread configurations with only one point of entry from the ceiling junction box. You can adjust each light to point where you need it without having to install electrical boxes over every site. Shown: Mezz Mini Pendant Light by Tech Lighting

Track and monorail installations allow versatile and widespread configurations with only one point of entry from the ceiling junction box. You can adjust each light to point where you need it without having to install electrical boxes over every site. Shown: Mezz Mini Pendant Light by Tech Lighting

Track and monorail installations allow versatile and widespread configurations with only one point of entry from the ceiling junction box. You can adjust each light to point where you need it without having to install electrical boxes over every site. Shown: Mezz Mini Pendant Light by Tech Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Mixed Metals

Kitchens naturally have many surface finishes, from cabinetry to countertops to appliances and more. Mixed metal treatments in pendants reinforce a cohesive look by artfully combining finishes and textures. Shown: Beat Wide Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Kitchens naturally have many surface finishes, from cabinetry to countertops to appliances and more. Mixed metal treatments in pendants reinforce a cohesive look by artfully combining finishes and textures. Shown: Beat Wide Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Kitchens naturally have many surface finishes, from cabinetry to countertops to appliances and more. Mixed metal treatments in pendants reinforce a cohesive look by artfully combining finishes and textures. Shown: Beat Wide Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Layer Your Lighting
Shine On

Even in a sedate color scheme can get an elegant lift with sparkling pendant lights. Metallic shades or blown glass options shine like jewels whether on or off, adding color and interest. Pendants that are especially decorative can act as accent lights that showcase your style. By installing these lights on their own dimmer switch, you can control the amount of light they put out for moody ambiance and late-night fridge raids. Shown: Mini-Zuri Pendant Light by LBL Lighting

Even in a sedate color scheme can get an elegant lift with sparkling pendant lights. Metallic shades or blown glass options shine like jewels whether on or off, adding color and interest. Pendants that are especially decorative can act as accent lights that showcase your style. By installing these lights on their own dimmer switch, you can control the amount of light they put out for moody ambiance and late-night fridge raids. Shown: Mini-Zuri Pendant Light by LBL Lighting

Even in a sedate color scheme can get an elegant lift with sparkling pendant lights. Metallic shades or blown glass options shine like jewels whether on or off, adding color and interest. Pendants that are especially decorative can act as accent lights that showcase your style. By installing these lights on their own dimmer switch, you can control the amount of light they put out for moody ambiance and late-night fridge raids. Shown: Mini-Zuri Pendant Light by LBL Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Seize Design Opportunities

Kitchen pendants are a great way to inject interest into your overall layout. Because they hang just above eye level (about 24” to 36” from the countertop or table) they’re immediately noticeable. You can go as flamboyant as you like with these fixtures; mix metals, go for shine, focus on color as you wish. Shown: Dome Pendant Light by Seed Design

Kitchen pendants are a great way to inject interest into your overall layout. Because they hang just above eye level (about 24” to 36” from the countertop or table) they’re immediately noticeable. You can go as flamboyant as you like with these fixtures; mix metals, go for shine, focus on color as you wish. Shown: Dome Pendant Light by Seed Design

Kitchen pendants are a great way to inject interest into your overall layout. Because they hang just above eye level (about 24” to 36” from the countertop or table) they’re immediately noticeable. You can go as flamboyant as you like with these fixtures; mix metals, go for shine, focus on color as you wish. Shown: Dome Pendant Light by Seed Design

Image via @area.designs

Image via @area.designs

Image via @area.designs

Layer Your Lighting
Glare-free Go-to

If you choose a large light to take a prominent place in your kitchen, consider a pendant with layers built in to shield their light sources from view. Preventing visual hotspots helps you stay safe in an area with many hazards. Shown: Link Suspension Light by LZF

If you choose a large light to take a prominent place in your kitchen, consider a pendant with layers built in to shield their light sources from view. Preventing visual hotspots helps you stay safe in an area with many hazards. Shown: Link Suspension Light by LZF

If you choose a large light to take a prominent place in your kitchen, consider a pendant with layers built in to shield their light sources from view. Preventing visual hotspots helps you stay safe in an area with many hazards. Shown: Link Suspension Light by LZF

Layer Your Lighting
Embrace the Eat-In

Kitchen pendants are a great way to inject interest into your overall layout. Because they hang just above eye level (about 24” to 36” from the countertop or table) they’re immediately noticeable. You can go as flamboyant as you like with these fixtures; mix metals, go for shine, focus on color as you wish. Shown: Link Suspension Light by LZF

Kitchen pendants are a great way to inject interest into your overall layout. Because they hang just above eye level (about 24” to 36” from the countertop or table) they’re immediately noticeable. You can go as flamboyant as you like with these fixtures; mix metals, go for shine, focus on color as you wish. Shown: Link Suspension Light by LZF

An eat-in kitchen area is a great spot to hang decorative pendants that don’t help much with task lighting. Edison-style bulbs do a lot for decoration but not much in the way of useful light below. Shown: Solitaire Pendant Light by Niche

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Clear View

Large pendant lighting can retain a minimalist look with the right materials. Clear glass preserves the openness of a space and doesn’t overwhelm the area since light--and your gaze--can pass right through to the other side. Shown: Quinton Pendant Light by Tech Lighting

Large pendant lighting can retain a minimalist look with the right materials. Clear glass preserves the openness of a space and doesn’t overwhelm the area since light--and your gaze--can pass right through to the other side. Shown: Quinton Pendant Light by Tech Lighting

Large pendant lighting can retain a minimalist look with the right materials. Clear glass preserves the openness of a space and doesn’t overwhelm the area since light--and your gaze--can pass right through to the other side. Shown: Quinton Pendant Light by Tech Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Make it Monochrome

An all-white kitchen is modern look that’s always in style. Here, the contrast occurs in the clever choice of shape; the round lights offset the sharp edges and angles of the existing architecture. Shown: Moser Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen

An all-white kitchen is modern look that’s always in style. Here, the contrast occurs in the clever choice of shape; the round lights offset the sharp edges and angles of the existing architecture. Shown: Moser Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen

An all-white kitchen is modern look that’s always in style. Here, the contrast occurs in the clever choice of shape; the round lights offset the sharp edges and angles of the existing architecture. Shown: Moser Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen

Layer Your Lighting
Material Matters

Cooking can be dirty, steamy, greasy work—it’s certainly one of the rooms in a home that needs the most cleanup. Keep this in mind when selecting any lighting for the kitchen—even the tidiest cooks can’t control tiny particles that settle on surfaces after frying or steaming food on the stove. Choose lights made from materials that are easy to clean, like glass and metal, and avoid pleated fabric shades and complicated crystal chandeliers with hundreds of tiny glass pieces that each need polishing to look their best. Shown: Tria LED Pendant Light by Blackjack Lighting

Cooking can be dirty, steamy, greasy work—it’s certainly one of the rooms in a home that needs the most cleanup. Keep this in mind when selecting any lighting for the kitchen—even the tidiest cooks can’t control tiny particles that settle on surfaces after frying or steaming food on the stove. Choose lights made from materials that are easy to clean, like glass and metal, and avoid pleated fabric shades and complicated crystal chandeliers with hundreds of tiny glass pieces that each need polishing to look their best. Shown: Tria LED Pendant Light by Blackjack Lighting

Cooking can be dirty, steamy, greasy work—it’s certainly one of the rooms in a home that needs the most cleanup. Keep this in mind when selecting any lighting for the kitchen—even the tidiest cooks can’t control tiny particles that settle on surfaces after frying or steaming food on the stove. Choose lights made from materials that are easy to clean, like glass and metal, and avoid pleated fabric shades and complicated crystal chandeliers with hundreds of tiny glass pieces that each need polishing to look their best. Shown: Tria LED Pendant Light by Blackjack Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Warm up with Woods

Even a modern kitchen can use a touch of warmth. To keep the look on target, select a futuristic feature in real wood. Clever cuts and the use of LEDs bring this traditional material right into the modern age, with surprising shapes and angles that impress even the most avant-garde tastes. Shown: Mica L LED Pendant Light by Cerno

Even a modern kitchen can use a touch of warmth. To keep the look on target, select a futuristic feature in real wood. Clever cuts and the use of LEDs bring this traditional material right into the modern age, with surprising shapes and angles that impress even the most avant-garde tastes. Shown: Mica L LED Pendant Light by Cerno

Even a modern kitchen can use a touch of warmth. To keep the look on target, select a futuristic feature in real wood. Clever cuts and the use of LEDs bring this traditional material right into the modern age, with surprising shapes and angles that impress even the most avant-garde tastes. Shown: Mica L LED Pendant Light by Cerno

Layer Your Lighting
Mad for Multiples

Needs copy about this great kitchen pendant lighting idea. Shown: Doo-Wop Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen

Needs copy about this great kitchen pendant lighting idea. Shown: Doo-Wop Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen

The key to using small lights in large spaces is repetition. Layered light helps the overall look, too, by washing the entire room in ambient light from recessed lights and letting these mini pendants function as supplemental task lighting. Shown: Doo-Wop Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen

Layer Your Lighting
Small Packages

To lighten the atmosphere in a closed-in space or kitchen with lower ceilings, select sweet mini pendants in soft colors or white. Little lights can still give off plenty of lumens, but be sure to have other layers in play for maximum usefulness. Shown: Alina Pendant by Tech Lighting

To lighten the atmosphere in a closed-in space or kitchen with lower ceilings, select sweet mini pendants in soft colors or white. Little lights can still give off plenty of lumens, but be sure to have other layers in play for maximum usefulness. Shown: Alina Pendant by Tech Lighting

To lighten the atmosphere in a closed-in space or kitchen with lower ceilings, select sweet mini pendants in soft colors or white. Little lights can still give off plenty of lumens, but be sure to have other layers in play for maximum usefulness. Shown: Alina Pendant by Tech Lighting

Image via @pheintz

Image via @pheintz

Image via @pheintz

Layer Your Lighting
Sound Off

Needs copy about this great kitchen pendant lighting idea. Maybe something about it being sound absorbing in a tall open space? Shown: Under The Bell Pendant Light by Muuto

Medium and large pendants can help dampen sound in a noisy room--and there’s nowhere that can get noisier than a busy kitchen. Pendants in sound-absorbing materials can help cut down on echoes generated by pots and pans clanking around granite countertops and tile. Shown: Under The Bell Pendant Light by Muuto

Medium and large pendants can help dampen sound in a noisy room--and there’s nowhere that can get noisier than a busy kitchen. Pendants in sound-absorbing materials can help cut down on echoes generated by pots and pans clanking around granite countertops and tile. Shown: Under The Bell Pendant Light by Muuto

Image via HomeDSGN

Image via HomeDSGN

Image via HomeDSGN

Layer Your Lighting
Make the Most of Nooks

In kitchens with an eat-in area, add coziness with an overhead pendant that defines the space in an intimate pool of light. To avoid a copy-paste feeling, select a pendant that coordinates with any other kitchen pendants you may have but don’t match it exactly. Shown: Powell Street Pendant by Tech Lighting

In kitchens with an eat-in area, add coziness with an overhead pendant that defines the space in an intimate pool of light. To avoid a copy-paste feeling, select a pendant that coordinates with any other kitchen pendants you may have but don’t match it exactly. Shown: Powell Street Pendant by Tech Lighting

In kitchens with an eat-in area, add coziness with an overhead pendant that defines the space in an intimate pool of light. To avoid a copy-paste feeling, select a pendant that coordinates with any other kitchen pendants you may have but don’t match it exactly. Shown: Powell Street Pendant by Tech Lighting

Layer Your Lighting
Think Outside the Flushmount

Embrace your uniqueness by finding novel spots for pendant lights. A pretty pendant over the sink replaces a more traditional flushmount. Just be sure to hang high enough to it where it won’t be in your face when rinsing dishes--this way, it also won’t obstruct your view out the window.
Shown: Beat Fat Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Embrace your uniqueness by finding novel spots for pendant lights. A pretty pendant over the sink replaces a more traditional flushmount. Just be sure to hang high enough to it where it won’t be in your face when rinsing dishes--this way, it also won’t obstruct your view out the window.
Shown: Beat Fat Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Embrace your uniqueness by finding novel spots for pendant lights. A pretty pendant over the sink replaces a more traditional flushmount. Just be sure to hang high enough to it where it won’t be in your face when rinsing dishes--this way, it also won’t obstruct your view out the window.
Shown: Beat Fat Pendant Light by Tom Dixon

Layer Your Lighting
Light in Shining Ardor

As with any room in the home, lighting can serve as the jewelry of your home. You should choose pieces that give you joy every time you look at them, whether your home is dressed up for the holidays or dressed down for a workday breakfast. The sky is the limit when selecting the look you love the best. Shown: Argent N90S 3 Light Pendant Light by from Terzani

As with any room in the home, lighting can serve as the jewelry of your home. You should choose pieces that give you joy every time you look at them, whether your home is dressed up for the holidays or dressed down for a workday breakfast. The sky is the limit when selecting the look you love the best. Shown: Argent N90S 3 Light Pendant Light by from Terzani

As with any room in the home, lighting can serve as the jewelry of your home. You should choose pieces that give you joy every time you look at them, whether your home is dressed up for the holidays or dressed down for a workday breakfast. The sky is the limit when selecting the look you love the best. Shown: Argent N90S 3 Light Pendant Light by from Terzani

Layer Your Lighting
Layer Your Lighting
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Pendants are an important part of any functional kitchen lighting scheme, but they also give you an opportunity to showcase your great taste through a wide range of materials, sizes, shapes and designs. Find more pendant lighting at YLighting.com.

 

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Kelsey Kittle

Kelsey Kittle

When she’s not polishing up promotions as a Web Content Specialist, Kelsey is practicing how to properly pronounce Danish, if only to be able to say “home is where the ‘hygge’ is.” Aside from Scandinavian design, she spends a lot of time thinking about organic gardening, mini farms, honey bees and England.

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