Pendant lights over a kitchen island are a common design element in modern homes, providing both aesthetic appeal and functionality. When determining the proper height to hang pendant lights, your main consideration should be the amount of space between the countertop and the lighting fixtures. Measurements are therefore made from the counter upward, rather than from the ceiling downward.
Ideally, the bottom rims of your pendant lights should hang about 30 inches above the surface of your kitchen island counter. An alternate way to determine the proper height is to measure from the floor upward. With this method, the bottom rims of the lighting fixtures should be positioned 60 to 66 inches above the floor. If the ceilings in your kitchen are higher than 8 feet, light from the fixtures will be dispersed more evenly if you increase the height of the pendant lights 3 inches for every extra foot of ceiling height. In addition, if you have tall family members, it's a good idea to raise the lights a couple of extra inches to allow more head room.