The Ins and Outs of Kitchen Island Lighting

A kitchen island can be a great section of the kitchen doubles as a functional work space and a beautiful focal point. It also adds storage in the bottom and opens up an area for food preparation, quick breakfasts and snacks, or a countertop burner. But no matter how fancy your kitchen island looks, it won’t matter much if people can’t see it.

This is where lighting comes in. If you’re considering a kitchen island in your Carmel home, or already have one that needs some sprucing up, below are a few lighting tricks to get you started.

1. Get Creative

Pendants are usually the most common choice of light fixture for kitchen islands. They ‘re not only great as task lighting, they also serve a decorative purpose if you’re willing to get creative with pendant styles and colors. Lanterns are another alternative if you want something more rustic.

Either way, what’s important is to use a pendant or lantern with a downward-facing bulb or shade, which will ensure the light is focused on the counter.

2. Brightness Matters

Choose light bulbs that produce at least 1,100 to 1,600 lumens of light. This should roughly translate to a 10- to 15-watt LED light bulb, depending on the brand. Now, while 1,600 lumens may seem like overkill, the trick is to attach your lights to a dimming controllers, which will increase the usability of your kitchen island. Imagine having breakfast in the wee hours of the morning—simply turn your lights down low so you can have mellow light as you wait for sunrise. Or when you’re in full Iron Chef mode, turn up the lights so you can see if your steak is still medium rare.

3. Mind Your Other Lights

Keep in mind that your kitchen still has other light sources that need to mesh with your kitchen island lights. The best thing to do is to focus on one or two elements, such as the finish, style, or shape of the fixtures in the kitchen, and match these with your kitchen island lights.

For example, if your other kitchen lights have a modern look, choose pendants in a contemporary finish. If your fixtures have metal details, choose pendants with metallic details to them.

4. Mixing Metals Is Fine

Metal features and details, whether it’s actual metal in the fixtures or surfaces with a metallic finish, are a hot trend in lighting design. If you have metal light fixtures, you also need to consider other objects with metal features in your kitchen, such as appliances, cabinet hardware, and plumbing. When it comes to metal, not everything has to match. At the same time, however, try to maintain some cohesiveness (i.e. don’t cram together too many different types of colors and finishes).

5. Mind Where You Position your Lights

Be mindful of the size of your pendants, where your light fixtures are going to hang, and how far down they will be hanging. You don’t want to cover up an eye-catching element in your kitchen, such as a beautiful range hood or some intricate cupboards, with your lights. Position the height and distance of each pendent so it doesn’t get in the way.

Keep these tips in mind when choosing light fixtures for your kitchen island to create a beautiful space where you can work and relax in your kitchen.