You have purchased a new set of pendant light fixtures that you are going to place over a bar or counter, as shown in Figure 1, and now you face the age old question; what is the optimum height of a pendant light fixture?
Figure 1 - Pendant light fixtures over kitchen counter
Selection of pendant light fixtures.
There is no "absolute" or "definitive" answer to what height to place the pendant lights, however there are some guidelines.
The minimum height from the top of the surface of the countertop or bar to the lowest point of the pendant light fixture should be 2 feet, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 - Height of pendant light fixture above bar
If the height of your bar is the standard 42 inches, then the bottom of the pendant light fixture would be a minimum of 5’ 6" from the top of the finished floor.
If the height of your countertop is 35 inches, then the bottom of the pendant light fixture would be a minimum of 4’ 11" from the top of the finished floor.
In other words, the height of the pendant light fixture should be based on the height of the countertop or bar that the pendant light fixture is above rather than the distance from the ceiling or the floor.
The pendant light fixture should not be in the line of site of an individual standing or sitting as the light emanating from the light fixture will be detrimental to actually seeing what they are doing.
In a kitchen environment having a pendant light fixture that was at 4’ 11" or even the 5’ 6" from the top of the finished floor would definitely be an obstruction in a proper work environment.
Guideline 2 says that the bottom of the pendant light fixture should be a minimum of 6 feet from the top of the finished floor.
It should be noted that a bottom height of the pendant light fixture from the top of the finished floor of 6’ 8" would be in line with many other objects in the kitchen such as frames around doors and kitchen wall cabinets.
In general pendant light fixtures are not utilized as task lighting. The choice of light bulb wattage can have an enormous effect on the aesthetic value of the pendant light installation.
Consider the use of a dimmer light switch, as this will allow you to adjust the light output according to the mood you wish to create with the pendant light fixtures.
Selection of dimmer light switches.