Urban Road

What height to hang pendant lights?

Ever wondered what height to hang pendant lights?

Pendants are such a beautiful addition to your home — adding drama, interest or luxe-factor to any room — yet when they’re hung too high or low, it can make them look completely out of place.

Related article: How to light your kitchen: Different kitchen lighting options
Related article: Light locations in a new home? Expert advice on the dos and don’ts

Michael and Carlene kitchen on the Block Glasshouse

Is there a winning formula or height to always hang your pendants?

Truth is, it depends on a few key things:

  • the size and style of your pendant light.
  • height of your ceiling.
  • area the light will hang from (ie kitchen vs dining).
  • personal preferences.

Despite these variables there are some tricks to getting it right!

What height to hang pendant lights by zone of the home

Kitchen pendant lights

Kitchen pendants will often be hung 70-80cm above the island bench. However, if you have higher ceilings, you will need to raise them slightly… but by how much? A rule some interior designers use is to add 7-8cm for each 30cm. For example, if your ceiling height is 2.4m instead of 2.1m, you would hang your kitchen pendant 78-88cm above your island bench instead of 70-80cm.

Dining pendant lights

The right height to hang your dining pendant light vary significantly depending on the style you choose. Gina has the Droplet light by Copper ID in her home, which is a sleek design that lends itself to being hung lower. Whereas if you opted for a much larger pendant, you would hang it higher to avoid blocking views across the table. A general rule is hang your dining pendant 75cm higher than your table top but scale is everything! Keep reading for our tips on scale.

Droplet light

Staircase pendant lights

Pendants in a stairwell can look ah-mazing when done right. The most important thing to consider here is allowing plenty of clearance for people to walk under. Keep at least 2.1-2.4m clear so your tall guests don’t need to duck when they walk up your stairs. A staircase also offers other opportunities such as hanging one of more lights at eye level. This works especially well in a large staircase, where pendants will be hung to the side (so there’s no need for guests to walk under).

Entry or hallway pendant lights

Ceiling lights or wall lights are much more common in hallways but they are still done elsewhere. The right height to hang them will also depend on whether people will need to walk under them or to the side. For example, if you want to hang one or two pendant lights at either side of a mirror in the entry, consider hanging these at (or just above) eye level. You don’t want to knock your head on these but you also don’t want them too high. If you intend to hang pendant lights to walk under, we recommend hanging them at 2.4m (but keep reading on about ceiling heights).

Bathroom pendant lights

Pendant lights in the bathroom can offer serious wow factor. They are normally hung by the mirror or sometimes in a corner near the bath. Just like in the entry, you want to hang bathroom pendant lights at or just above eye level. Hang them close to the wall so people won’t bump their heads on it. Something to consider with pendants by the mirror is that while they look great, it can prevent you from having face level storage which can be more valuable in a bathroom. This is why Gina opted for a pendant in her powder room versus other sources of light in the main bathroom.

Check out this complete guide to lighting your bathroom.

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Michelle and Steve entry

Bedroom pendant lights

Bedroom pendants are normally hung either side of the bed or in the centre of the room. Pendants on either side of the bed are used instead of table lamps. An easy tip for the ‘right height’ would be to visualise hanging them at a table lamp shade height. Remember to allow a minimum of 30-50cm from your bedside table top so you have space for bedside styling. Also consider that small pendants are often hung lower than larger pendants. However, in this room more than any other in the house, your personal preferences will determine the best height for your bedside pendants. We like the look of Dea’s bedroom below where she hung the pendant lights slightly above the height of the bedhead.

Other tips to hang pendant lights at the right height

1. Consider scale

You need to look at the size and style of your pendant and the space where it will be hung. All the ‘general’ rules of measure we mention can be ignored if you have a huge statement light or cluster of smaller lights.

2. Consider ceiling height

Another big factor that can overrule the suggested heights we shared is your ceiling height. The bigger the volume of space between your furniture and the ceiling, the more you’ll need to balance this by lifting your lights. The general rule of thumb is to lift lights by 8cm for every 30cm above standard ceiling height.

Darren and Dee ceramic pendant lights

3. Place furniture or mark out room

We understand how tricky it is to lock in decisions about where hang lights. It’s especially tricky when you’re doing a new build and working with a blank canvas.

Use masking tape to mark out exactly where your furniture will be placed. That way you know exactly what you’re working with. The biggest trap people get caught in is when they ‘think’ they know the size of the furniture in a space. Check this all before fixing the lights. The last thing you want to do is complete the fixings to find the lights are off balance in the room.

4. Stand back and check

The final test to getting the height right is your personal preference. Enlist the help of someone to hold the pendant lights at the your testing height. Take a step back and check that you’re happy!

Have you got any other tips for hanging pendant lights? We’d love you to share them in the comments below!

Check out more lighting articles here

This article was originally published in July 2017 but was updated with new information and images.

Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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    1. Hi
      I would love some advise. I have a 5.5 metre high ceiling. My dining table is 300 x 120 . What is the correct height to hang a pendant? What size pendant should i be looking at so that its in proportion to the room.

      • Hi Marisa

        I would suggest having someone hold the light for you at 105cm above your table top (or 2.25m from the floor). It’s best to do this with the dining table in place so you can visualise the space. Stand back and decide if you think it looks ‘right’ or should be adjusted slightly.

        For example, if your pendant light is simplistic and small, you may want to lower the pendant to 90cm above your tabletop.

        Truth is, like we say in this article, there’s no fixed rule as many things influence the best height to hang your pendant light – including of course the light fixture itself.

        Hope this helps though!

    2. Thanks for this information. It is very useful for me at this time because I purchased the Modern Hanging Pendent Light from Akari Lanterns, which is infact beautiful for home decoration, and have been thinking about what would be the correct height to hang it in my house. Thanks again!

    3. Hi, I have a ceiling of 2550mm in height and an kitchen island bench of 3000mm Width and 900mm High.

      There is this pendant from Pottery Barn called Rustic Glass Pendant – Large (https://www.potterybarn.com.au/rustic-glass-large-pendant). Will this look good if I put 3 on my kitchen island bench?

      They have the small one but I am loving the large ones and not too sure of the small will be too small.

      Appreciate your advice. Thanks 🙂

      • Hey, thanks for your question. From what info you’ve provided, it sounds like these pendants could look fab. A 3000mm island is huge so you want lighting that’s in proportion and being glass, these pendants won’t dominate the space. The only thing to be mindful of is that they are quite high (430mm) and given you need clearance under the lights, the top of the pendant might only be 400-450 from the ceiling. Again because they’re made of glass, I think you can get away with this but I’d suggest holding them in place before installing to check you’re 100% happy 🙂

    4. What is the correct distance from the edge of the bed to the center line of a pendant light. The pendant is 8″ diameter the bed is a king sized bed?.

      If I have different size night tables, should the pendants be centered on the tables or equidistant from the edge of the bed?

      • Hi Andru, sorry for the late reply. I would make the pendant lights equal distance from the centre of the bed as you may change your bedside tables down the track. There’s no hard and fast rule for the correct distance from the edge of your bed as it does also come down to preference but I would hang it so there’s approximately 3-5″ space between the bed and the edge of the pendant light. That way, when the light is on there will be light cast over the bed and bedside table (so you can read in bed) but it won’t look like they’re hanging on top of the bed if that makes sense? Hope that helps 🙂

    5. How much chain length should you allow in relation to the size of a pendant. For instance if you have 2.6 ceilings and choose a pendant with 30-40cm diameter will it look silly if you only allow 30 cm hanging chain/cord? So confused!!! Hoping you can help TIA. ?

      • Hi Corinne, could you tell us a bit more… is this a dining pendant light or what type of pendant is it? And is it a glass orb or could you describe the light to us? We shared the general ‘rules’ to hanging pendant lights in this article but in the end, it always comes down to the light you choose and your space. So let your gut decide if you think a pendant should be higher or lower. Of course, if you’re still confused please tell us more and we’ll share our opinion x

    6. Thanks for these great tips! I have an island bench under a 3.4m ceiling. Going by your calcs, we should place it 70cm + 7cm for each 30cm above 2.1m …. which would be 70cm + (7cm x 4) = around 1m off the island. Is that correct?

      • Hi Kylie, yes that’s right but don’t forget what can be even more important is the shape and scale of the pendant light itself. I suggest getting someone to hold the light at 1m above the island for you so you can stand back and make sure you’re happy with it in the space – if it’s a large light, you may want to raise it even higher or vice versa. Hope that helps x

    7. Hi Gina,

      I live in a condo and have an open kitchen, dining room area.
      My kitchen is in an L shape and is 9′ x 14′ in area.
      I would like to replace the existing ceiling mounted track lighting with a 3 light pendant.
      Would you think I could hang this pendant in the middle of my kitchen for lighting. I do have a small bar counter that is 20″w x 4′ L, but I’m not sure if I can just hang in the middle of the kitchen, or would it look out of place?
      Any suggestions would be great,

      • Hi Shelley

        Thanks for your questions. Generally pendants aren’t hung in the middle of a kitchen because it can create the feeling that people need to duck when they walk through the space. Are your ceilings extra high? If so, it could work… but generally speaking pendants are best hung to the side (such as 2 at different heights towards one wall of a kitchen) or over the island bench.

        Rules can of course be broken though so maybe you should get a friend to hold the pendant lights up where you’re thinking of hanging them and standing back to see what it looks like.

        Hope this helps 🙂

    8. Hi Gina, I want to buy a pendant for my void entrance ( 5.692 H from the floor to ceiling) I am looking at a pendant size H99cm W137cm D94cm, how high from the floor would you hang the pendant please? There is a staircase but it’s to the side so won’t be in the way of pendant. Thank you in advance.

    9. Hi. I have ceiling height of 3 metres in the new kitchen extension. I have a heritage style 3 light polished brass bench pendant; so by rule of thumb I should hang at 92 to 104 cms above kitchen bench. However, I also am hanging 2 individual lights ( same rod and shade as main bench pendant) in the kitchen where people will be walking under . What height can I hang these – minimum 213cm from floor – so will it be ok to have different height levels in the kitchen? Kitchen size is 6.3m by 4.6m. Advice please.

      • Hi Helen, sorry for our late reply! It would be great to see the space and lights to visualise how they would look – if it’s not too late, feel free to email us at hello@stylecurator.com.au – as the last tip about standing back and seeing is most important. Sometimes lights in a space are at different heights, for example a dining light lower than a kitchen light in an open plan space, but we’d really need to see your home before giving any advice!

    10. Brilliant thanks – we are just trying to work out lighting placement now for our new home – I’m struggling with pendant light height in our bedroom and family
      Room. Hopefully the 2.4m rule will work well for both areas for us!

      • Hope these tips come in handy Caity and I always find it helps to have someone hold the pendant at the height (on a step ladder) while I stand back to see the overall scale 🙂

    11. Thanks Gina, it’s great to know what switch panels you are using too. It’s hard to tell in all the beautifully styled pics with pendants if they have switched there or not. But I did spy some cleverly positioned on The Block pic you posted which helps with positioning clues. Thanks again

    12. Fabulous tips thank you, this is just the guidance I was looking for (I don’t know if it was a coincidence I posted a comment on another post asking about this very thing). But the other part of my query is pertaining the bedside pendants specifically, I was wondering where you are planning to put the light switches for your master bed pendants? Do you put one on each side of the bed or are you using a master switch with dimmers at bedroom entry? From a practical sense I was thinking of putting ours beside the bed but I’m worried about the look of the switch panels and where exactly to position them. Any designer know-how would be greatly appreciated.

      • Hi Tobi, sorry I didn’t respond more quickly to your comment on my pendant light post. I knew I read that you asked about pendant lights but I thought it was in the email you sent… and when I couldn’t find it in there I just thought I was losing it, ha ha, so thanks for commenting again here to help me find your original comment! We’ve been inundated with comments on the blog this week because of our birthday competitions 😉

        I have replied on the pendant light post now but to recap, I will have a light switch at each bedside for the pendant lights, and a separate lights switch at the door for the ceiling light (with a dimmer). So long as the bedside switches are relatively close to the bed, easy to access and look good (we’re using Clispal Saturn switches), I don’t think you’ll run into any trouble 😉 Hope this info helps!


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