How to light an island is a subject of endless speculation and worry, but it needn’t be a subject so fraught with uncertainty. It helps to understand the three main types of home lighting: Ambient lighting, the general illumination you get from ceiling lights and some wall-mounted lights; accent lighting, which draws attention to a feature of a room, and task lighting, like pendants and under-counter lights.

In a working room like a kitchen, task lighting takes on an importance that’s hard to overstate. Pendant lights, especially when suspended over an island, get all the glory and rightly so. Even though every room and lighting goal is different, here are some examples of island pendant lights done well: