How Long to Hang Pendant Lights?

Everything you need to know in installing pendant lights

Whether you realize it or not, your home's lighting is everything - but getting it right can be difficult, especially when working with pendants. Consider this your go-to pendant lighting guide for everything from sizing to spacing, height, and number of fixtures.

The gold standard of indoor lighting is pendant. Pendants not only provide an alternative and often warmer glow to ceiling cans or overhead fixtures, but they also serve as spotlights for the focal point or primary gathering spot in your home. Furthermore, when done correctly, your pendants can be an eye-catching design element that makes your interior stand out. 

Before deciding on size, shape, and height, consider how many pendants you should hang above your island. The "rule of three" applies to pendant lighting design, but not always. While odd numbers are pleasing to the eye, the number of fixtures required is determined by the length of your island as well as the diameter of your pendants.



Eli | Glass Pendant Light

A good rule of thumb is to use two pendant lights for islands under 6 feet long and three for islands over 6 feet long. Of course, the size of your pendants will be an important consideration. Three small (10-inch or less) pendants, for example, could be used above a 6-foot island, whereas the same space should only accommodate two larger (15-18-inch) pendants. 

Nobody wants to hit their head while chopping vegetables, so make sure your pendant length is correct. The bottom of your pendants should ideally be 30 to 36 inches above your island countertop. If your ceilings are 9 feet or higher, hang pendants closer to the 36-inch mark, whereas 8-foot ceilings will likely only allow for a 30-inch gap between the countertop and the pendant. 

To find the best width for your fixtures, subtract 12 inches from the width of your island to get the maximum diameter. For example, if you have a 3-foot island, subtract 12 from 36 to get a maximum of 24-inches.



Sigrid Une | Modern LED Pendant Light

The general rule on how low to hang pendant light above a dining table that we discovered was to hang it 30 to 36 inches above the table. Keep in mind that this was for a room with 8-foot ceilings. In a room with higher ceilings, you would go up 3 inches for every additional foot of height. This light fixture installation necessitates some math skills!



Oviedo | Glass Ball Pendant Light

Seven feet is the standard height for hanging a pendant light in the middle of a bedroom. Not that we followed this rule even on some of our projects, but it was also good starting point. Remember that if you're hanging directly over a bed, you can go a little lower. 

Above the nightstands is another location in the bedroom where pendant lights are sometimes used. Hanging stylish little pendants from the ceiling looks great. Always hang at least 28 to 32 inches above the table to leave room for decor or a favorite book.



Veda Tu | Retro Scandinavian Pendant Light

The height of the ceiling determines how high a pendant light should be hung in a foyer. The bottom of the chandelier should be no closer than 7 ft 6 inches from the floor for a typical one-story building that is 9-12 feet high.

The bottom of the light fixture in a two-story foyer area should be in line with the second story. We believe it will also be determined by the size of the light fixture. If the fixture is large, we believe you can go a little higher on the hanging height.



Mati | Boho Rattan Soliya Pendant Light

One of our favorite looks is to hang pendant lights in the hallway. If the ceiling height is 9 feet, we would hang pendant lights in the hallway in the same manner as in the foyer. Depending on whether the ceiling is lower or higher, adjust accordingly. Keep in mind that the hallway is a high traffic area that needs to be usable and free of lighting fixtures.


Pendant lighting is an efficient way to add ambient lighting to your space. That's why we always advise our clients to use a dimmer switch and dimmable bulbs on pendant lights, both over the island and at the dining table. This allows you to experiment with light depending on the time of day or the occasion. 

It can be difficult to visualize the spacing and height of your pendant. If you haven't chosen fixtures yet, we recommend inflating balloons to various diameters and hanging them at the appropriate height and spacing to get a sense of how many fixtures you'd like - and how they'd be hung. Keep in mind that not all pendants are adjustable, so if you have a low - or very high - ceiling, make sure the length works in your space before purchasing.

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