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If you’re reading this post, then you know it can be tricky to find the right lighting for your French country kitchen, especially because most authentic French country homes don’t even have a kitchen island! Instead, Europeans embrace the kitchen table in the middle of the room, so it can be hard to find inspiration to know what style of lights should go over your kitchen island.
We’re still waiting on our house bid to come back, so I’ve been spending hours making mood boards and planning out my house, down to the kitchen pendants. All that research brought me to 15 lighting options for a kitchen that would look beautiful! It’s only fair to share. 🙂
A kitchen island isn’t common for most French country houses, but if you ask most Americans what their top house must-have is when house hunting, they’ll tell you a large kitchen island. Myself included!
Whether you use it as prep space, extra storage, informal dining, or staying connected with your kids through homework and crafts, a kitchen island has become very popular since the ’80s and it’s not going away anytime soon.
And since we just bought our appliances over black Friday weekend, naturally my brain is on the kitchen even more. So if you’re looking for some pendant lights for your inspired French country kitchen, here you’ll find pendant lighting options that you’re sure to love!
First, I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I’m looking for authentic French country design inspiration, I look at French real estate sites to see what’s currently for sale. By browsing homes for sale in the French countryside, I can get a pretty good idea about how French people are actually living.
This is how I know kitchen islands aren’t really a thing, but it also helps me to see what type of lighting they use and I like to figure out how to recreate it. And of course, our kitchens will always look a little Americanized, but it helps to add in some authentic details to achieve that modern French country look.
Okay, before we get into the French country kitchen pendant lighting options, let’s have a quick unpopular opinion time:
You don’t have to spend a lot on lighting!
Designers say that lighting can make or break a home, and I totally agree. I urge you to switch out your builder grade and basic boob lights for something that makes a statement! But why does it have to cost an arm and a leg? In my (nondesigner) opinion, lighting is a great place to save money when it comes to building a home.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive as long as it looks like it is. Some things we touch and handle every day, like kitchen faucets and hardware. But a light is going to get hung up and never get touched. Besides collecting dust, it doesn’t get a lot of action. And most people can’t tell if something is hollow or not just by looking at it.
Of course, you don’t want the finish to look cheap, so it’s always best to order from a place with free shipping and returns just in case. And yes, if you have your eye on some splurge lights, then by all means! But I’ve been doing a lot of digging and finding out that one cool light doesn’t have to cost 400+ dollars.
For our modern French country build, I’m looking for brass fixtures, chandeliers, lanterns, and a classic style. I’m not a designer, but I did a lot of research to see what French country lighting consisted of by following interior designers, looking at European retailers, and doing my own style research.
Most of the lighting in our home will be brass, so you’ll see I gathered a lot of warmer options. That’s not exactly French country, but it adds the elegance of European decor and the modern touch that I like. I see a lot of designers doing brass/gold fixtures lately, so I know it’s a good choice haha. We have some brass in our master (primary) bathroom and it instantly classes up the space.
From a glass pendant to candle-style lights, here are some lovely pieces that would look fantastic in your kitchen. Most of these are from Amazon because I’m hoping to save money in our lighting, but I did include a few splurge choices as well.
Shop French country kitchen pendant lighting:
How beautiful, right? Here are some key things to look for when you’re shopping for your own French country pendant lighting, should you not shop off this list. 😉
Key things to look for in French country lighting:
- Natural elements- Wood, iron, pottery (ceramic)
- Rustic elements- Weathered or patinaed, metal frame
- Effortlessly casual
- Hint of glam
- Flame bulb. Even the light bulbs matter, you don’t want to go too industrial like an edison light bulb
- Sconces are well-loved
- Cozy style
When in doubt, pick some French lanterns! A pair of lantern pendants are classic and timeless. An open frame can make your kitchen appear larger too.
Ironically enough, the ones that I tentaively bought for our kitchen are not on this list haha, but they are similar to #2 and #14.
I had planned on doing lanterns, but I’m going to use those in the living room instead. Once you find a light you like you may think that your job is done, but then it’s important to make sure that everything flows together nicely, from your dining room to your living room- especially in an open concept like we’ll have! I did a lot of combinations to see what I liked and it took me about 6 hours to put together some lighting combinations!
Below is what I’ve settled on for now, though we’ll see how it all looks together when they arrive. I’ll have 2 pendants hanging over the kitchen island and then I’ll have 3 sconces go over the window. I like that these mesh well together in shape and color without being matchy matchy.
Another thing to keep in mind- is your island going to double as your cooking space? Then you’ll probably want your ceiling lights to be bright instead of a warm glow. Or, if you want the best of both worlds, you could always opt for lights with dimmer switches.
So many things to think about!
You probably already know that a key characteristic of the French country style is a French chandelier. It makes for a beautiful focal point in a home and many French country interiors aren’t complete without one. So what else makes a French country home, dining room, and kitchen?
Well, you’ll want a large wooden dining table, iron furniture, architectural details, timeless toile prints, antique-inspired decor and decorative items, subtle hues, rustic stone tile, open shelving in the kitchen, and large chandeliers in your living spaces, for starters.
French country design is embracing the simplistic beauty of country style. I’ll be sharing my mood boards on our new home soon, but in the meantime, check up on all the projects we’ve done so far!