How to Properly Space Pendant Lighting

Three modern pendant lights in a contemporary style kitchen.
  • 4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250
What You'll Need
Pendant light fixture
What You'll Need
Pendant light fixture

Using pendant lighting to improve any room will make all the difference. It’s easy to install, reasonably priced and comes in too many visually appealing fixtures and designs to list. However, no matter where you decide to install pendant lighting there are some considerations to think about. The most important one, particularly if you are installing a grouping of lights, is the spacing.

What Is Pendant Lighting?

Pendant lighting is the type of lighting that hangs suspended from the ceiling. The styles are varied and beautiful, much like the colors and materials, they are made of. You can find chandelier, mini, teardrop, lantern, and blown glass designs, among many others.

Floor to Ceiling Spacing

The first thing to consider is how high to hang the fixtures you have chosen. This depends on several factors, the number one being how tall your ceilings are.

If you have vaulted ceilings where you intend to hang the pendant lighting, then you will want to create a visually appealing break in the space. The halfway mark is a good indicator. There is no hard and fast rule, but they should be low enough to be able to change the light bulb and high enough that no head injuries occur.

For typical ceiling heights, such as in the kitchen, a rough estimate is about 30 inches to 36 inches above the counter space. Every room will be different depending on what you're using the lighting for and how big the fixtures are.

Light to Light Spacing

Another design aspect to account for with light installation is how far apart place them in relation to one another. This is dependent on the light surface area and, again, what you will be using the lighting for.

In kitchens, for example, pendant lighting is most commonly grouped above the kitchen island. The biggest consideration here is making sure that the whole surface area will be illuminated when your lights are on. The perfect solution will depend on your choice of design, but for the sake of explanation, consider mini pendant lights. If you are hanging a set, or grouping, of four mini pendant lights above a kitchen island you will need to hang them approximately 36 inches from the countertop. Find the halfway point from one end of the counter to the other. Then, find the halfway points between the middle and the end. Since the point is to have even lighting on the whole countertop, you'll want to divide the lights evenly within those measurements. It may take some adjustment, but fortunately, you always have the option of hanging adjustable height pendants to make this easier.

You can hang groupings of pendant lighting anywhere you would like and the spacing will depend upon the task you are trying to accomplish. The spacing above the pool table would be different than the spacing above a bathroom sink. The key is to make sure that the shadows between the lights are eliminated.