How low do your island pendants hang? Worried about height...

akcorcoranMarch 30, 2013

I'm 5' 11" in no shoes and my husband is about 6' 2" We're thinking about island pendants but when our island is oriented a little differently than most in that it's perpendicular to the open living space.

When looking at the hanging pendant look (like an industrial pendent popular today), I'm worried that they will be right down near our face and be annoying to us.

The kitchen opens to an eating table and then a sitting area with a fireplace so we want don't want a visual block from all of that.

How low do your pendants hang? We have 9 1/2 foot ceilings so we have height - maybe I'm asking how high are they over your granite island because that's more likely to be consistent to measure?

Thanks for your thoughts -

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Ours are ~36" above the countertop. We are both tall as well, so I understand your concern. It's easy to mock it up with balloons. Blow the balloons up to the size of your pendants and you can try out the height, spacing, quantity, etc. We rather liked having the balloons up for a day or two, it added a festive note to the otherwise torn-up space!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:29PM
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karin_mt: What a brilliant experiment! :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:11AM
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Ours are 36.5" above the island, 72.5" off the floor. Perfect height for us. We are 5'8" and 5'11". You might go an inch or two higher than that, but I wouldn't go any higher. At 6'2" your husbands eye height is probably 5'9" or thereabouts off the ground, so it's not like that height of pendants would interfere with vision.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:18AM
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Meant to say that our island is also perpendicular to the living space, same as yours.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:19AM
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karin_mt - that is genius!!! I've never heard of that and think it's a great idea. I actually might use that technique for a lot of lights I'm considering. I have a really hard time judging the scale of things, especially lights because you look up at them in the store and it looks fine and then you get home and it's... not. :)

taggie, any chance you might put up a photo - or have one around somewhere on here. I'd love to see your choice and how it looks on a perpendicular island. It's so hard to find photos of styles like that.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:21AM
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I'm 5'-10" and DH is 6'. I plan to hang our island pendants at least 6' from the floor (we have high vaulted ceilings). We paid a lot to open up a wall so we can see the view out the living room windows, so I do not want low hanging lights interrupting the view.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:00AM
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akcorcoran, here are a couple of quick iPad shots of our perpendicular island. I don't know if you'll get much from our pendants as we went with small innocuous ones (I have quite enough going on in our uber traditional kitchen without the pendants being attention grabbers too :)) ... but perhaps it will at least give you an idea of how the 6' height looks.

Good luck with your new kitchen! It looks like it will be stunning. Love your cabs and those gorgeous moldings!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 2:08PM
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Ours are 31" above the peninsula. DH is 5' 11" and he says they aren't in his line of sight. He suggests a couple of inches higher for you guys.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Our island is also perpendicular to the open living area. My DH is 6'6'' tall. Our pendants are 37'' above the top of the island which is 73'' from the floor. This has worked out well for us.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Thanks, everyone. I went to the lighting store and stood behind the big industrial type that are in vogue, and I don't think they'll work. At proper height, they are right in my eyeline sight in shoes so they'd definitely block hubby. And, while we could raise them, it puts the lights right in our eyes.

So, that means investigating different light style (like yours, taggie) or going with something much less significant in style (open - was looking at this one from Curry & Co.) It's not "task lighting" but we do have four recessed lights over the corners of the island.

Or, for the open, one light scenario, I was looking at the ones below - any thoughts?


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:02AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

For some reason, I don't have a current shot showing our pendants, but there are 3 over the island and 1 over the sink and they are hung at 35" above the counter....the electrician first installed them higher and they looked awful so we had him change it.

If you are trying to gauge the look of light fixtures, balloons may be too small for some, so we take grocery bags and stuff them with crumpled newspaper to approximate the shape and size of the fixture and then hold that up.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Debbi Branka

I just had my DH (6'1") stand at the island and I dropped a tape measure from the ceiling and measured to where it wasn't in his line of sight. That's the length I ordered the pendants. They work fine. We dropped them 6" lower on the table part of the island, where we are always sitting, not standing.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:47AM
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We just hung our island pendant this weekend at 29 inches above the island (which is low at 34 inches high). I was aiming for 30 inches above the top but with the chain it was either 31 inches or 29 inches and we preferred the lower height.

I'm short (5'2") but my husband is 6'2" and he likes the height too. I think it's very dependent on the fixture though. If we had something that was wider at the bottom it would have been weird I think. Also, with just a single pendant there is less "visual clutter" than there might be with several pendants. We also have 8.5-foot ceilings, so I think that lends itself to a lower placement.

Here's a quick snapshot of it. Ignore the state of the kitchen which is currently in renovation limbo as we wait to repaint our brand new cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 12:18PM
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Thanks, everyone - it's great to see your examples. I like the paper bag trick too. I'm going to do that tomorrow b/c the granite countertops go in so I'll really be able to tell how it's going to look. I wish the lights were available locally so I could buy one and try it in 3D but alas, they don't have a ton of selection here.

I'll circle back around with an update - thanks for your posts and any more to come!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 5:33PM
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akcorcoran, I love that light you posted! How big is your island? It's hard to tell the length of the island from the angle posted. Would it support 2 of the pendants or just one?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Hi again! My island is 51" wide and 62" deep - the granite was actually just installed last night so now you can really see the lighting scenario! I think it would support only ONE of the basket weave pendants posted b/c that is 23" in diameter so I'd hang it really in the center.

I think it could support two pendants of a traditional kind if they were between 10 and 20" in diameter, you know?

I feel like I'm fighting the industrial pendant trend - and it's not because I don't like how it looks! It's just that everyone puts them in and they all look the same and in three years, something else will be the "everyone" option, you know?

Can't decide now if the basketweave up there will bring in the pretty coloring and balance the granite, adding interest up in the air, OR detract.

What do you think?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 8:43PM
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Holly- Kay

I love the birdcage light.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 9:01PM
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I don't see industrial working in that space either. Your faucets are playing up a much more classic vibe that works great with your beautiful new counters and cabinets. I'm wondering if the basket weave isn't too busy for that space though?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 7:50AM
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I love your kitchen- the granite, the cabinet color, the floors, it all looks lovely. And, it all looks very traditional, very classic. I do love the cage light, and I love the idea of one large fixture over your shape and size of island. I am not sure I love the cage light in your space, maybe in another finish?
I think there are a lot of classically styled lights that would look fabulous. Maybe you should start a different thread with the question "what light or lights would you hang here"

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:41AM
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I love love love the cage light, but am also not sure I see it in your space. Maybe in a different finish as localeater says. And I think with plainer candlesticks given your granite and cab colors.

I like localeater's idea for a light-choosing thread!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Have you thought about adjustable pendent lights? I ended up having to get a pair because the ceiling on my 1923 Sears kit house was too uneven to horizontally align fixed-height fixtures over the peninsula.

I do not know whether pottery barn still makes its Porter fixtures, but the choice of two widths and either opaque or translucent shades provided the ultimate in flexibility. I chose opaque, because I wanted task lighting rather than ambient lighting over the peninsula. And, while I preferred the shape of the wider shades, I only had room for the narrower one.

In any case, the generous size of your island would keep the infrastructure of such lights from being too intrusive.

Gorgeous kitchen. Best of luck.

This post was edited by honorbiltkit on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 17:12

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:32AM
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My pendants are 32" from countertop, well above my line of sight. I'm 5'8

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Just to clarify - that's 32" from granite to bottom of the bulb.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Pendant bottom 31.5" over 36.5" counter. I'm 5-11", my wife is 5-8" bumped heads doing dishes yet

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:22PM
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We're currently obsessed with figuring out lighting which provides the right light, but doesn't blind you. DH has always been all about the night vision (too many years out on boats I'm afraid) and hates bright lights. We like our LBL lighting monorail chandelier and the lighting is very nice (pretty pattern on the ceiling and nice down light too). Unfortunately, the prep area (sink, and left and right side of it) are not bright enough so we're trying out different lights in the skylight directly above this area.

Anyway, perhaps something like this might work for you? Basically, you buy the monorail chandelier or track and then pick out the heads you like. If they pointed down, they'd provide the light you need without blinding you. Both LBL Lighting and Tech Lighting have great options. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:39PM
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