Choosing the Right Kitchen Island Lighting for Your Home

HGTV heads to the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center for a look at stunning options in kitchen island light fixtures, designed by Matthew Quinn and Design Galleria.
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Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Lighting Your Island

With so many styles to choose from, selecting lighting for a kitchen island can be a daunting task. From traditional glass fixtures to modern takes on vent hoods, here are designer-grade lighting options to help make the selection process easy and breezy.

Hood Vent Lighting

Modern kitchens are known for clean, streamlined appearances. To keep a modern kitchen open and airy, consider a decorative hood vent lighting feature. This stainless steel and sheet acrylic fixture featured in Design Galleria at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center serves double duty as sculptural lighting and practical stovetop ventilation.

Hood Vent Lighting: Interior Detail

While the exterior surfaces of decorative vents are clean and sculptural, the interiors are much more utilitarian. To keep the cooking space below light and bright, small halogen lights are mounted inside along with the inner workings of the ventilation system.

Hood Vent Lighting: Translucent Panels

There are many different styles of decorative hood vent lighting to choose from, some solid and others translucent. This fixture is made from sheets of acrylic resembling alabaster. During the day, the panels take on a sculptural look. After dark, the interior halogen lights create a beautiful glow through the panels, bringing ambiance to the kitchen island.

Glass Bell Pendants

Glass bell pendants are excellent choices for traditional kitchens with hefty islands. These versatile and classically styled fixtures work well with a variety of architectural styles including Southern traditional, Victorian, Georgian and farmhouse.

Glass Bell Pendants: Coordinating Finish

The decorative accents on a glass bell pendant can help coordinate it with the rest of the kitchen. In this traditional kitchen, the polished brass finish of the cabinet hardware is echoed by the brass fittings of the pendants. One thing to prepare for when installing glass bell pendants is frequent cleaning. As dust is stirred up in the kitchen, it’s likely to gather inside of the glass opening.

Drum Pendants

Classic in style yet modern in finish and scale, drum pendants are an excellent fit for transitional kitchen islands. Characterized by their drum-like shape, these are often manufactured in single-, double- and triple-light options.

Drum Pendants: Open or Closed?

Drum pendants are available with open- and closed-bottom construction. When used over kitchen islands, closed-bottom options are better since the bulbs will be protected from grease splatters or wet accidents. Additionally, frosted acrylic diffusers added to the bottoms of pendants will create a soft, ambient glow over the island.

Grouped Pendants

Homeowners who want to make a statement with their kitchen island lighting may consider a group installation. In this loft-style kitchen, all of the main elements are simple, allowing the bright white sculptural pendants to stand out. When grouping pendants together, it's best to stick with odd numbers for a balanced look.

Mini Pendants

Mini pendants are commonly used in contemporary and minimalist kitchens to offer functional lighting without detracting from other architectural elements. Characterized by their sleek, slim profiles, mini pendants are often grouped together in threes, fives and sevens.

Mini Pendants: Subtle Detail

From far away, many mini pendants appear simple and without ornamentation; however, up close they may reveal beveled edges or etching, adding a hint of pattern without overwhelming the island.

Double Fluted-Glass Pendant

Fluted-glass detail is found in many antique fixtures and can add a sense of history above a kitchen island. Commonly found in transitional- and industrial-style fixtures, fluted-glass pendants are available in single-, double- and triple-arm versions. Similar to glass bell pendants, fluted glass tends to gather dust in its bevels and will require more cleaning than other styles.