Bobby Berk reveals exactly where to hang your kitchen light – for an ambient yet practical space

This is how to get your lighting right – in the most multifunctional room of your home

Pendant light hanging over a kitchen island
(Image credit: Future / Matthew Williams)

Bobby Berk has made a name for himself as one of the world’s top designers following his show Queer Eye – where he reshapes interiors across the US. However, Bobby’s latest tip focuses exclusively on the most practical space in the home: the kitchen. 

Sharing his modern kitchen ideas via his blog (opens in new tab), Bobby explained that the key to a stylish yet functional space is in the position of your lighting. But how can you get the balance right? The Netflix personality recommends keeping things central. 

‘Lighting should be centered on an island or counter and not extend past the edge,’ Bobby says.

Pendant light hanging over a kitchen island

(Image credit: Future / Marc van Praag)

He emphasizes that above all else, the kitchen is a functional space, and so you should consider this practicality when considering lighting ideas. He recommends dangling the light with at least 30-36 inches between the bottom of a fixture and the top of a counter.

‘This will provide enough room for you to work – without your head awkwardly running into any lighting,’ he adds. 

However, while Bobby Berk offers specific measurements on where the light should hang, the designer explains there is no exact fitting for the correct size of the pendant. 

Pendant light hanging over a kitchen island

(Image credit: Future / Rei Moon / Moon Ray Studio)

‘The larger your kitchen (and island), the larger your pendants can be,’ he says. ‘Kitchens with higher ceilings can also accommodate fixtures that have a larger or heavier visual feel.’

Plus, to emphasize your space further, esteemed kitchen designer Tom Howley (opens in new tab) suggests pairing the power of a pendant with reflective work surfaces that will bounce light around the kitchen. 

‘To keep an open feel, choose light paint colors and reflective materials such as bright quartz or a mirrored splashback,’ Tom says whilst sharing his small kitchen ideas. When choosing the best pendants for the job, the designer recommends sticking to a theme or a core tone that brings the kitchen together visually. 

Pendant light hanging over a kitchen island

(Image credit: Future / Matthew Williams)

‘Pendant lighting can draw the eye to an impressive dining room table or a social seating area. However, avoid placing your accent lighting in places you don’t want to draw attention to, such as sinks or preparation areas,’ he says. Because, as always, placement is key.

Our Bobby Berk-approved kitchen redesign begins now. 

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.