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Types of Ceiling Lights – Choosing the Best One

Ceiling lights are available in a wide array of options, each designed for a specific purpose. Deciding on a lighting fixture for your ceiling can be an overwhelming task for many.

You need to choose the right one from the available models to transform your space. The wrong lighting can rob the aesthetic appeal of your home.

We are here with this guide that will help you to understand the popular types of ceiling lights. Be it for your commercial or industrial applications – we will help you choose the right one that complements your interior design.

Let me get started by shedding some light on the most popular types of ceilings lights.

Types of Ceiling Lights

Below are the different types of ceiling lights we will be exploring today:

  • Ceiling Mounted Lights
  • Hanging Ceiling Lights

We can further categorize the Ceiling Mounted Lights as below:

  • Recessed Lights
  • Flush Lights
  • Semi-flush Lights
  • Utility Lighting
  • LED Indirect Lighting

We can further categorize the Hanging Ceiling Lights as below:

  • Chandeliers
  • Pendant Lights
  • Inverted Pendant Lights
  • Track And Rail Lighting
  • Kitchen Island Lighting

Let us discuss about each type and its categories in detail.

1. Ceiling Mounted Lights

Ceiling Mounted Lights

As the name says, these lights come mounted either on the surface of the ceiling or inside. The ceiling mounted lights are the best option for medium or large rooms and those with low ceilings. They are popular for giving ambient light to the entire room. Let us take a look at the various types of these fixtures.

a) Recessed lights

Also known as can lights, these fixtures come inside the ceiling. They are commonly used as ambient lights and are best suitable for low ceilings. You can even use them for the task or accent lighting to brighten your space like kitchen, hallway, playroom, etc.

If you want to have recessed lighting to your ceiling, there should be at least six inches of clearance above the ceiling. Only then you can fit the wiring and other components of lights without any hassle. 

Also, you need to ensure proper insulation of the ceiling. Else, there are chances of humidity development inside the light fixture.

The recessed lights sit inside of the ceiling and come with a glass panel over the bulb. This panel helps in diffusing the light inside your room. They come in different colours and sizes. If you want to have light fixtures that match the style of your home interior, you can opt for these little wonders. These are the perfect option to revamp the look and feel of your room without changing your lights.

Let us talk about the price. These light fixtures are very affordable and less expensive than the other types. However, they can add significant value to your home and transform its aesthetics.

The downside of recessed lighting is the installation process. You need a professional to install these fixtures, and this may charge you extra bucks for the procedure and the number of lights.

b) Flush Lights

Flush lights are basically half sphere-shaped fixtures that come mounted directly against the ceiling. These fixtures are ideal for rooms with limited space like bathrooms and hallways. They are available in different sizes, i.e., starting from 12” to 24”.

As mentioned above, these light fixtures look best for small rooms or spaces whose ceiling is below eight feet high. For such surfaces, these flush lights help to spread light evenly. Also, you can prefer to have them in your children’s room. And, guess what, it is a safe option, too.

Since you hardly have any hanging or dangling items from the ceiling, you can fix these lights in your kids’ room. If you are opting for these lights for a bigger room, you need to have bigger fixtures and brighter bulbs.

This lighting style is so versatile that you can use them to light up your closets, entryways, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. They are available in different styles and materials. You can choose from the traditional, transitional, and contemporary styles, and pick from the material based on your preference. And the best part, you can fit them with different lights like incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs, halogen lights, etc.

Since these fixtures direct their light downwards, they can add ambiance to the space depending on the bulb you are using.

The upside of flush lights is the easy installation process. Most fixtures do not need a professional to mount them. The user can do it by himself in just a few minutes.

The price of flush lights varies from model to mode. While you can get the basic ones at a very low price, the stylish or premium ones may be on the expensive end.

c) Semi-Flush Lights

Semi-flush lights are nothing but a blend of both flush-mount fixtures and chandeliers. They hang 4 to 8 inches below the ceiling and are a perfect option if you have a high ceiling, i.e., 10 feet high.

These versatile fixtures steal the show when fixed in kitchens and dining areas. They will stand out even in other areas. If you want to have the look of a chandelier for your room, yet want it to be a unique light fixture, these are what exactly you need.

The semi-flush ceiling lights are available in different sizes, having a diameter from 7 to 23 inches. The merit of these fixtures is that they are easy to install. You can fit them with any bulb easily and quickly without the assistance of a professional. Just like the flush ceiling lights, even these fixtures are budget-friendly.

Let us try to know the difference between the flush and semi-flush ceiling lights. While the flush lights direct their light downwards into the room, even the semi-flush models do that. However, they will light up the ceiling, simultaneously. As a result, your small beautiful room will look larger and the ceiling higher. Isn’t that amazing!! It is up to the user to decide whether he wants to go for a flush model or a semi-flush one. It is all depending on his preference and requirement.

d) Utility Lighting

These are the lights that we most commonly see in shopping malls, centers, etc. These are very simple fixtures that come in two different installations. You can either have them as mounted flush to the ceiling or individual casings with LED bulbs. The latter are the ones that we mostly see in public spaces. These fixtures are becoming obsolete, and hence you do not get to see them at home.

However, they can be the best option for areas like the laundry room, garage, or basement. And the best part, these fixtures are highly energy-efficient. No doubt why do you see them only in public squares.

We will tell you why you should prefer these types of lights.

  • Firstly, they are very inexpensive.
  • Secondly, they are available in different sizes to suit all your needs.
  • Typically, they come in the shape of a long bar and are several feet long.

If you have a dedicated space for work at home and spend more time there, the utility lighting can transform the entire space. Use LED bulbs for them, and you wouldn’t regret it. Long-lasting, cost-effective and bright light are what you can expect.

e) LED Indirect Lighting

LED indirect lighting is yet another type from the mounted ceiling lights. However, these do not come mounted on your ceiling. Instead, they have LED strip lights installed all around them. As a result, the ceiling reflects light from these strips. This wonderful effect makes your room look larger than it is.

The LED indirect lighting fixture is available in colour-changing options provided you use the light-changing LEDs in them.

Do you want to have something that aligns with the modern look and style? LED indirect lighting is the best bet. You can even choose to hide the strips by installing crown moulding on the ceiling. This will make the light to direct towards the ceiling and gives that classic look to your room.

2) Hanging Ceiling Lights

hanging ceiling lights

Hanging Ceiling Lights are another type of ceiling light mostly used for task and ambient lighting. You can use these fixtures to concentrate light onto a small area. You can have them shine on a particular spot or space of the room, becoming the focus. Below are the various types of hanging ceiling lights:

a) Chandeliers

A chandelier is that type of light fixture that will easily grab the attention of everybody, becoming the center of attraction. These are most commonly used in dining rooms. However, you can use them in living rooms, as well. They are available in different shapes, sizes, designs, and models and can be a perfect centerpiece for your room.

If you are hanging a chandelier in your dining room, make sure it is two and a half feet above the dining table’s surface. Moreover, the diameter of the fixture should correspond to half of the width of the table. 

Following these measurements are necessary if you want the chandelier to occupy its place of focus and dominance. Also, the other benefit is that it does not interrupt the line of vision of those seated at the table.

Are you still confused about how to determine the ideal size for a chandelier at your home? Do not worry! Below are some points that will help you with the calculation process:

Look out for the position of your chandelier. If it goes right above your dining table, ensure that the diameter is in correspondence to exactly half of the table width.

If you are placing the light fixture in another room other than the dining, add the length and width of that room. This sum (in inches) will help you with determining the ideal diameter of the chandelier.

Are you shopping for a chandelier for your home? Here are a few things you need to consider before purchasing one:

  • If you prefer a traditional look for your room, go for a chain-hung chandelier.
  • If you want your fixture close to the ceiling, choose a suspension chandelier.
  • If you want more lighting in the room, choose a chandelier with more branches. Fixtures with two or three branches are ideal for smaller rooms.
  • Chandeliers come in both uplight and downlight designs. If you want your room to seem larger than it is, then opt for an uplight design.

b) Pendant Lights

Pendant lights are almost similar to chandeliers because of their low hanging. However, they are a single source of light, and hence you can use them as additional lights in the room.

They are ideal for rooms whose ceiling is more than 10 feet in height. Using a pendant ceiling light in conjunction with a flush light can be a perfect combination. It helps in shining the light on a particular area for more focus.

If you prefer having task lighting in different spaces of your room, install several pendant lights. You can do the same for a smaller room, as well. Do you want to light up your hallway? Mini-pendants are the perfect option for that job.

There is another way to make the most of your mini-pendants. Let us say the room does not have enough space to display your décor items. This light fixture can be the best addition to make that room visually appealing.

You can choose the pendant lights from different designs and models to elevate the look of your room. Since they hang low and are very noticeable, be careful to identify those that complement the room decors and interior style.

When purchasing a pendant light, you need to pay attention to the below points:

  • Firstly, the size. Check for the length of the light, and see how long it will hang.
  • Second, comes the design. Check for the design of the fixture and see if it is correspondence to the room décor, interiors, and furnishings.
  • The last one is the themed pendant light. If you want to have a light fixture that aligns with the theme is already set, check out for these.

c) Inverted Pendant Lights

As the name says, these light fixtures have lamps facing upwards. They are similar to the pendant light, except that they come inverted, looking like a bowl. Hence, the light directs upwards for these models and illuminates the ceiling.

These lights come with an adjustable height setting wherein you can adjust the length according to your room.

The inverted pendant lights are the best option if you want to create ambiance or elevate the mood in a room. However, please note that they cannot provide functional light in those areas that require good vision.

Do you have crown moulding on your ceiling? Then, these light fixtures are the perfect fit to draw all the attention and become the focus of your ceiling.

The upside of these lights is their ability to make even small rooms appear bigger than they are. They are available in many designs, shapes, and modern styles. Bowl-shaped lights are the most commonly seen pendant lights.

d) Track And Rail Lights

Track lighting refers to fixing multiples lights on a single rod. Hence, the name track. These lights are the most versatile and customizable types. You can attach the track directly to the ceiling or wall. You can even suspend them from a certain height as per your preference (height and effect) to enhance the look of the room. Since these fixtures hang in a series from the track, they are best suitable for accent or task lighting.

When should you opt for these light fixtures? When you want to display a specific section or painting or an artistic piece at your home. The track lights are the perfect option to create a modern look and decorative ambiance to your home.

The customizable feature of these light fixtures allows the user to adjust the direction of individual lights. This is just perfect for your kitchen space or your desk.

Let us talk about the installation. Always mount these track light fixtures parallel to the wall. Depending on the ceiling height, you will have to install these lights. Let us say the ceiling is about nine feet high or less than that, suspend the track light two-three feet from the wall. If it is around nine to 12 feet, ensure the track placement is three to four feet from the wall.

Using both track lights and pendant fixtures can be a great combination. This helps in creating an original and optimal task lighting that elevates your room to the next level. All you have to do is choose individual pendant lights in the track lighting and hang them at different heights. This is something you should definitely try.

You need a professional to install the track lighting. But, needless to say, these fixtures stand out than the other types.

Let us now come to rail lighting. What is rail lighting, and how is it different from track light fixtures? Well, rail lighting is similar to track lighting. But the only difference is that it enables you to adjust the shape and position of each rail. These are versatile fixtures that even allow

you to change the position of each light in the series.

Rail lighting is ideal for task lighting, especially in a corner of the room or space. It optimizes the curved design by making it look the best.

e) Kitchen Island Lighting

This is the last type in the hanging ceiling lights. Although they are a bit similar to the track lights, these are exclusively for the kitchen island. Hence the name, kitchen island lighting. These light fixtures hang lower than the track lights and are a center of attraction. They are ideal for task lighting.

People mostly use pendant lights and hang them lower in a row for this type of lighting. It not only ensures proper lighting but also elevates the attractive appearance of the area. However, some designers prefer track lights over pendant lights for this purpose. Nevertheless, pendant lighting remains a classic solution. In the end, it is dependent on individual tastes and preferences.

The kitchen island lighting fixtures are available in various designs and shapes to enable effective task lighting for larger areas.

Types Of Ceiling Lights By Material

The material of the light fixture is the crucial factor to determine whether this element goes with the room’s design and atmosphere. Choosing the wrong metal fixture may ruin the appearance. Let us have a look at the different types of ceiling lights, based on the material used for the fixtures. They are:

  • Fabric Ceiling Lights
  • Metal Ceiling Lights
  • Glass Ceiling Lights
  • Crystal Light Fixtures
  • Plastic Ceiling Fixture

Let us discuss about each type in detail below:

a) Fabric Ceiling Fixture

Fabric light fixtures are best suitable for flush and semi-flush lights. One prime reason why you should choose the fabric material is that it creates a warm effect and relaxing mood in the room. Moreover, they create an ambient light that is just right for your space.

If you are planning to upgrade your interior on a budget-friendly note, these fixtures are the perfect option. They come at affordable prices.

The soft fabric material covers the light, makes the room warm, and adds a cozy feeling to space. Hence, these are ideal for bedrooms. You can also use them in living and dining rooms, provided you use them together with lamps.

When choosing the fabric shade, pay attention to the colour and the density. These play a vital role in determining the type of colour it displays. If you want to have a dim light atmosphere in your room, choose darker fabrics. These absorb the light and display a dim light.

Do you want to feel a natural vibe in your room? Choose linen or cotton shades for a cool appeal. For a more romantic appeal, go for velvet or silk fabric shades. The drawback of using fabric light fitting is that dust clings to the fabric and can be difficult to remove.

b) Metal Ceiling Fixture

Metal is that ceiling fixture material that has been gaining popularity over the recent years. Although it may be a little unusual, it is still a preferred choice for modern designs. Metal has high durability and very inexpensive, too.

The metal fixture suits perfectly well for track and rail lights. They can be a significant option for kitchen island lighting, as well.

Metal light fittings with black coating or copper-coloured finishing are the most popular ones. The common fixtures come in black, white, stainless -steel, and satin steel finishing. The less common metal light fittings are the gold-coloured ones.

The advantage of using metal light fittings is that they are very easy to clean than their glass and fabric counterparts. All you have to do is just wipe off the dust using a duster or a wet cloth.

c) Glass Ceiling Fixture

One of the most preferred and popular materials for fixtures is glass. Because of its excellent ability to diffuse light, the glass ceiling fixture is ideal for flush, semi-flush, and pendant lighting.

You can prefer glass material for your lighting if you want the fitting to blend perfectly without any show-off. Moreover, this is that material that works well with almost every décor at your home. There are available in a wide array of designs, and you can choose a traditional or modern look depending on the design.

The glass fixtures are available in various colours and stainless steel, as well. The commonly used glass is an obscured one, i.e., less harsh and gives more ambient lighting.

The major downside of a glass ceiling fixture is the cleaning. They are susceptible to getting dirty and hence, require frequent cleaning. Moreover, glass has less durability and can easily get shattered or smashed when not handled properly.

d) Crystal Ceiling Fixture

When you talk about chandeliers, you cannot stop discussing about the crystal material. Crystals are for chandeliers, and these lights are incomplete without this material. Since crystals are delicate materials, they are used for semi-flush and pendant lights, as well.

Although crystal is very expensive, it gives a stronger and more appealing look than glass fixtures. The interesting fact about this material is that it diffuses light and bounces it off through the crystal facets.

If you have a larger room, having a large crystal fixture simply promotes the aesthetical appearance of the room. It can either be a chandelier or any other ceiling light. Here is why you should prefer one. The crystal fixture disperses light throughout the room by creating small pockets of lights on the wall, from where the light bounces off.

e) Plastic Ceiling Fixture

Plastic light fittings are yet another type of material for fixing lights. Although they are not popular, they are still available in the market. These fixtures are typically used for pendant lights. They come with a coating on the surface that makes them resemble metal items.

If you want to have a decent and modern look for your ceiling light fixtures without spending much on your wallet, these lights are the best bet. Plastic lights, as mentioned in the above paragraph, are very inexpensive and fit your budget. Above all, they are lightweight materials, when compared to metal, but give the appeal as the latter.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do you need to install a false ceiling for all ceiling lights?

Not all ceiling lights require installing a false ceiling. Some light fixtures like chandeliers, LED indirect lighting, and also, pendant lights can be installed on the ceiling without a false ceiling. Nonetheless, having a basic false ceiling can helps you to add ambient lighting to it like the cove lights and recessed lights.

2. Can you use ceiling lights on the walls?

Well, this is the most common question that many have. However, one should remember that not all ceiling lights go on the wall. A few might look when placed on the wall like the track lights. Imagine suspending chandeliers and the similar ones on the wall! That seems weird. Isn’t it! Most ceiling lights are not suitable for walls because they emit heat and light, which could damage the wall fixture. So, see which ceiling lights fit the purpose and choose accordingly.

Conclusion:

I hope this article shed some light on the different types of ceiling lights. This discussion should have enlightened you on what suits you the best for your home and requirements. Now that you have complete insights on the ceiling light fixture, make a wise decision that illuminates your home. Let us know of your choice in the comments section below.
Write to us if you find this article helpful and informative. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions and need more information on this article. Do not hesitate to add your inputs to this article. Also, let us know if we missed out on any points.
Stay radiant and stay safe!!!

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