How to Hang a Pot Rack and Lights over a Kitchen Island

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Things You'll Need

  • Plumb-bob

  • String (Mason's line is the best)

  • Ruler

  • Small Square

  • A few nails and hammer

  • Painter's tape

  • Wrenches

  • Drill and Bits

Hang a Pot Rack and Lights over a Kitchen Island

This is a technique for hanging a pot rack and lights over a kitchen island.


You will see how to: - Determine where to hang it - Make sure it's sqaure and even to the island (or anything else you may want) - Hang it

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Step 1

Web Image

Decide what you want:

Since a pot rack is going to be a prominent feature in your kitchen, you should spend some time deciding what you really want. A great resource for this is the Finished Kitchens Blog. There are literally hundred of kitchen photos on this site in slideshow format. The link to the site is in the Resources section below.


Another good option is to visit show-homes and kitchen stores.

Step 2

Pot Rack and Lights in Their Locations

Determine the positions (this is the most important step):


  • Set the rack and lights on the island, in the positions you want them to be in when on the ceiling.
  • Take time with this step. Make sure you have everything where you want it, and that all pieces are centered. Measure from side-to-side to verify centering and location.


  • Have a someone else look at it and verify its correct - saving lots of pain later on.

Step 3

Mark the main points on ceiling:



  • The two pendant lights make the "long axis" of the layout.
  • Put tape on the island and mark the center of the lights.
  • Use a plumb-bob to transfer the marks to the ceiling.


  • Checked the marks against the closest side wall, just to make sure things are square. (In this case, they were within 1/8" inch of each other, so there was no problem. I think anything 1/4" or less is not even worth adjusting for)

Step 4

Lay out the ceiling:


  • Drive a nail at the two points marked on the ceiling
  • Stretch a string tightly between them. This is the key step, since the string on the ceiling is a main line for the pot rack.
  • Decide where the chains to go, and mark the positions on the ceiling along the line.
  • Using a square, marked the positions from the line where the pot-rack hanger-bolts actually go. The diagram gives the general idea of how this works.
  • One the marks are in place, checked everything against the side wall to verify everything
  • Note that I have put the pot rack chains going slightly outward in both directions in this example. This helps stabilize it, and reduce the "swing set" effect. Once a few pans were put on it, it hardly moves at all.


Step 5

Take a break

  • At this point, I suggest you take a 30 minute break from the project. Once back, look everything and re-verify.
  • The reason I focus on double-checking, is that it's much faster to do this project if you don't make mistakes.

Step 6

Mount the pot rack:

  • In this example, none of the places I wanted to put bolts had trusses.
  • Using toggle-bolts, etc. hoping that the ceiling sheetrock will be strong enough for the pot rack is nuts. Even if it does work today, it will come down at some point.
  • Drove nails through the ceiling where the bolts go. Go up in the attic and put some blocking in place (Pulling out insulation and putting this in is a pit of a pain, but don't skip it). Lowes has a fairly good article on adding blocking for a rack - see Resources below.
  • If you don't have attic access to the space, drill 2" holes, slide 1.5" wide wood strips (2x2) in the space with glue to hold them. Use decorative grommets to cover the holes.
  • Once the blocking is in place, drill and screw in eye-bolts.

Step 7

Decide on the height:


  • Determine how high you want the rack and lights. Create a layout diagram as shown here. Again, this is fairly detailed, but worth the effort.

Step 8

Hang the rack and adjust the final height:

  • Cut the chain to length, plus 8 to 12 inches.
  • Hang the pot rack, leaving the extra chain at the top. Use the rack for a few days before you cut the final amount off.

Step 9

Install the lights:

  • I am not going to go into light installation in this how-to, since the electrical steps are involved. I have provided a link in the resources section for this.
  • If you are not comfortable with electricity, best to contract this out.

Step 10

Hang the hooks, pots, etc.


Get a second set of hands to hang the rack. Take all precautions and use good sense when doing this type of work. Follow all safety guidelines for power tools Use eye protection


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