Guidelines for a light over the kitchen sink?

emmie9999July 24, 2007

Hello all:

I'm "visiting" from the kitchens forum. I am having a horrible time deciding on what kind of lighting I should place over my kitchen sink.

The sink I have is an IKEA Double Domsjo: a white farm apron double bowl sink. It's in front of a window, which is 4 wide and 4'9" tall, with a 12" deep sill. I really want a pendant, and since it's a large sink and a large window I feel like it should be a pretty good size. My electrician told it should hang about 17 inches from the ceiling.

Some pieces, like mini pendants, look too small. Others, like schoolhouse fixtures, I am afraid will be too large. This piece is supposed to be both decorative and functional. Is there a guideline for how wide or large a fixture should be for a space? My DH wonders if we could use a 2 light fixture, but I worry that will look awkward, and will light the wrong areas. Does anyone have any advice to share?

Thanks in advance,


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I don't know what you are looking out over but you could also use a recessed light if possible. This would not obstruct the view out of the window. The other question is how high is the ceiling. In my case, a pendant hanging 17" from the 8' ceiling would be in my way over the sink.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 6:12AM
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Thanks! The ceilings are 8', or just under by an inch. We had it wired for a pendant or ceiling fixture because we have so many recessed fixtures already. I want to have one light that hangs. It serves a purpose for lighting, but also acrts a little like jewely, adding a little something.

17" is the lowest the electrician suggesteed we go in that spot. I might look at flush mounted fixtures as well, though. You make a very good point that it might be too low, and I don't want to be whacking my head. I found a lovely looking piece which is about 9" in diameter: enough to be visible, but it won't block the window.

Any other thoughts on the subject?

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 9:46AM
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When you say it's a 12" deep sill, do you mean one of those greenhouse bay windows or something similar? If you have more than the standard 24" cabinet depth to work with, you might be able to hand the pendant far enough from the counter edge that it wouldn't be right there in your face.

Four feet wide is a largeish area. You may not want to rely on the pendant as the primary light source, because a pendant bright enough to light that area might be blinding and/or comfortably warm to have so close to your face. You could let it be primarily decorative, and supplement the light with a couple of small cans.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:16AM
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Sorry, I lost track of this thread! It is similar to a greenhouse window. Basically, they took a casement window that is 4'9" by 4" and installed it in a boxed in area...I'm sure I am explaining badly, but it's like a garden window 12" deep with ONLY the front window, and not the side lights.

I have cans on either side of the area, so I can use a smaller wattage fixture for this piece. However, I'm sure it will help cast some light on the sink area when I am washing dishes and such.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 3:59PM
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We are building a new house (after Katrina) and today we met with the lighting folks to pick out fixtures. It took a long time, but I'm very happy with our selection. We also have a big kitchen window over the kitchen sink and I chose a Minka Lavery mini-chandelier. We have 3 mini-pendants over the island and I wanted something different for the sink area. It was not expensive and will create a beautiful glow.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 8:26PM
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We have a similar situation and will be hanging a pendant in the center of our window area. What is the recommendation for how far away from the wall it should hang?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 2:37PM
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I put up a pendant light over my sink and love it. It is def. lower than 17", my husband is 6'2" and has adjusted fine with it! He does most of the dishes but I have more decorating say in the home. They are cute ornamental ones which everyone comments on how nice they are. Can't wait until the kids are older and one grabs one another grabs another and smash. It's gonna happen I'm sure, at least I'll get a good 5-10 yrs out of them - the lights, not the kids.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 10:31AM
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