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Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician speak

Posted by CT_Newbie (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 29, 13 at 22:02

Can someone help interpret the electrician for me? Our island is ~106"x48". I was told three pendants - we choose RH Harmon 11" diameter. I asked the electrician if they just space them evenly and he said no. He started going into some sort of complex formula of taking the number of pendants and then maybe it was adding two and dividing by 5. I don't recall exactly.

Has anyone else heard of such a formula for evening out the lighting? If so, what is the formula and why is it better than just spacing them out evenly over the island?

Thank you


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

I suggest going old school - take a piece of paper and draw a rectangle on it 10.6" x 4.8". Then cut out three 1" diameter circles and move them around until they look right. When you find a configuration that looks right, outline the circles, mark the centers, and measure.


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Great suggestion on old school. Here is another I read about somewhere on KitchenWeb....blow up balloons to that diameter and hang as you might your pendants, over the island .


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Great suggestion on old school. Here is another I read about somewhere on KitchenWeb....blow up balloons to that diameter and hang as you might your pendants, over the island .


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Maybe they can't go where you want them because the beams are where boxes should go???


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

It is aesthetically pleasing to have light evenly cover the entire counter. In order to cover your entire island and make the most efficient use of your pendant lights you should place one pendant directly in the middle of the island at 53". The other two pendants should be placed approximately 17.667" in from each end of the island or approximately 35.333" to the left and right of the center pendant. Ideally you want to keep the light from the pendants on the counter while eliminating spaces between the light shining on the counter that will create shadows. Certain items in the ceiling, such as pipes, may play a role as to where the pendants can be placed. As for height, pendants are generally hung with a space of 30"-36" between the countertop and the bottom of the pendant. This is simply a guideline and there are other factors that may dictate the need to hang a pendant higher or lower. Last but not least as a few GW'ers can attest to make sure your pendants do not interfere with any cabinet doors!

This post was edited by SaltLife631 on Tue, Oct 29, 13 at 23:35


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Thank you! Good points. I will ask about problems with the beam. We ran into that with the hood. SaltyLIfe, thanks for the clarification. Sounds like yours is evenly spaced. I will also ask if there is a shadow issue that would cause him to place the grouping in a slightly off center way or if it is because of the way the recessed light is placed. If that's the case, it's tricky because we're not just concerned about the light being evenly cast, we're concerned about how the pendants look in the space.

I will post a different thread on the Pendants relative to the Hood.

Thank you for all the good ideas.


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

I'm going to attempt to post a link to a kitchen on Houzz with a similar island size & light fixtures. There are multiple questions regarding pendant light placement, even a couple about your "Harmon" fixture.
I hope the link works & it is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Island Pendant Spacing

This post was edited by romy718 on Wed, Oct 30, 13 at 9:31


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

In a related note, I strongly recommend the use of the relatively new can lights that can be installed after cabinets.

Before drywall, the electrician lays wire between joists in the approximate position of the cans. After cabinet installation, he cuts the holes is the exact spot(s), fishes for the wire, and connects the can.

I used these in my closet remodel and it was a lifesaver especially if you're anal retentive about positioning. You never really know where cabinets will end up exactly. I just had to move a ceiling can on a recent remodel because the floor to ceiling oven cabinet sat below it. What a pain.


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Thank you both. Yes, Romy, that sort of looks like my kitchen. However, my island is positioned more "portrait" than "landscape". Hence the alignment of the pendants relative to the hood involves all of them, not just the middle one.

It looks like these were evenly spaced. I have to ask the electrician again what he meant. I just haven't been around when he's been around. I hope I won't have to choose between avoiding shadows/beams and being evenly spaced.

Thanks again


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

You put one in the center of the island, and the other two are centered in their "half" of the island ...


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Lazy that is not the most efficient way to design light above an island. The general premise is that you want to light the entire island without placing the pendants too far apart thus creating shadows on the island. In a case like this where three pendants are being used you should divide the island into three equal parts. As you stated one pendant should be placed in the middle. However each of the pendants on the sides should be placed in the middle of that particular third of the island. In this instance the island is 106" long if we divide the island up in to three equal sections we will have three sections that are approximately 35.333 inches wide. So that light is equally distributed throughout the whole island a pendant should be placed in the middle of each third. This format would leave us with one pendant directly in the middle of the island at 53" while the other two pendants should be placed approximately 17.667" in form each edge of the island. By placing the pendants in this configuration light will evenly cover the entire counter.


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

Salt, thanks for doing the math for me!


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RE: Position of Pendants Above Island - translating electrician s

How do you space them if having only 2 larger pendants instead of 3? Our island is 94 inches long.


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