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Guide To Ceiling Lights: Ideas And Designs

Guide To Ceiling Lights: Ideas And Designs

Ceiling lighting fixtures make a considerable impact on home atmosphere. One fixture can make or break a room in function or aesthetics. But with so many ceiling lights to choose from, it’s hard to know which ones work best in a given area. Familiarizing yourself with the fixture types and their role in lighting design is key because not all fixtures are suitable for a room. Knowing your lighting purpose, such as whether you want ambient lighting to illuminate an entire room, task lighting for performing any activities, or to add visual intrigue, will determine your fixture. Considering these factors will help create the perfect lighting design to effectively light your home with style!

Types of Fixtures

There are various types of ceiling lights. Some illuminate the entire room, others brighten workspaces, then there are fixtures that provide visual intrigue. So, decide whether you want your ceiling light to serve a functional purpose or as a decorative piece. Once you determine your goal, take a look at the placement location. This will help you pick a ceiling light that will fit the area.

Chandeliers and pendants

If you’re looking to make a statement, then go for chandeliers and pendant lights. Think about how you want the light to fit with the space. Chandeliers provide a room with ambient lighting and eye candy. A glamorous style works in any space. Or opt for bold.

Pendants create ambient lighting, task lighting, establish mood, or add a decorative touch. Hang a sole fixture or install multiple pendants together. Keep in mind that size and number determine placement. You’ll usually find multi-pendants over kitchen islands, billiard tables, or dining tables. Pendants don’t emit much light on their own. A linear design will increase illumination and add a touch of sophistication. Pendants are easy to clean and have many different styles. They are attached to a cord, chain, or downrod.

Be mindful of bulb intensity. If it is too bright, it’ll cause shadows. It’s best to consult with an interior designer before you choose your fixture. That way, you know the ideal place, height, and wattage for your fixture.

Flush mounts and semi flush mounts

Known as close to ceiling lights, flush mounts and semi flush mounts are popular fixtures for providing overall lighting in rooms with standard 8ft ceilings. Semi-flush mounts can be placed a bit higher at a maximum of 10ft. These versatile fixtures use little ceiling space, provide enough illumination for an entire area, and have many available choices.

Flush mounts have many beneficial qualities. The light sits flush against the ceiling and is low profile. This hides dust and allows the light to blend with existing decor. They are easy to clean, practical, and perfect for areas with foot traffic. These fixtures do have decorative options in many styles and finishes. Some are designed with elegance and simplicity. There are statement pieces with crystal features or patterned shades. Flush mounts are useful in smaller spaces with 8ft tall ceilings and lower, such as bathrooms, hallways, and closets. The downside to flush mounts is the inconvenience of changing a bulb since it’s so close to the ceiling.

Semi flush mounts extend down less than a foot away from the ceiling, making bulb replacement easier. The fixtures are designed to shine light upward and downward simultaneously. This gives off more ambient lighting, making the ceiling appear higher and the room larger. Semi flush mounts are more decorative than flush mounts. Place them in areas where there is heavy foot traffic, over dining tables, seating areas, bathtubs, and over vanities.

Track lighting

Another space-saving fixture is track lighting. They are easy to install and perfect for rooms with few outlets. Its adjustable feature allows you to focus on specific areas. The drawback is the lights don’t operate individually. They aren’t meant to be a primary light source so supplement the lights with other fixtures.



Recessed lighting

These low profile fixtures are directly installed into the ceiling. Like tracking lighting, recessed lighting needs to be supplemented by other light sources, such as a small semi-flush mount.

Room By Room Style Options


You must think about each room of your home when choosing your ceiling lights. Know your ceiling height. Consider the size and number of bulbs because this impacts the amount of light the fixture emits. Know the amount of light needed for the area. Some lights will work well in some spaces and not so much in others. Keep your home design and style in mind. Low ceilings around 7-8 ft don’t give you a lot of choices, so try vintage-inspired flush mounts for an ornamental touch.


Taller ceilings offer more flexibility and the opportunity to leave an impression on guests. Chandeliers and pendants are meant to serve as focal points and typically have showy designs. Your entryway sets the tone of your home so give it some character with a chandelier or pendant. Use chandeliers or pendants to fill the space of a vaulted entryway and provide enough light. However, you might be able to place semi flush mounts in the space.

Living room

Your fixture should shine enough light for the whole room. If you’re using flush mounts or semi flush mounts, note that the bigger the room, the bigger lights need to be for proportion. Ceiling fans are preferred for vaulted ceilings. Track lighting fits nicely into the space, as well. Another look is to hang a pendant in the middle of your living room and shorten the cord for enough clearance.

(Helpful Links: Buyer's Guide To Living Room Lighting)

Dining room

Dining rooms are the perfect place to make a statement with a large chandelier or many mini modern pendants. Remember to take the height of the table and ceiling into account. Smaller dining areas are best for a single pendant or semi flush light.


Kitchen overhead lights are essential for providing both task lighting onto your sink area and kitchen island. Place small semi flush mounts with recessed lights above sinks or bar nooks. Install flush mounts for ambience. The number of lights needed depends on the size of your kitchen.


Using a hanging light fixture will give you enough ambient lighting for your entire bedroom. Create a focal point with a chandelier or go for a modern flush mount or semi flush mount. Hang two small conspicuous pendants on either side of the bed to provide accent lighting and visual intrigue. Try a mid-sized or large chandelier for an attention-grabbing statement piece or elegance. Use mini-chandeliers in a child’s room for a playful atmosphere or to give a large closet an intimate vibe.


Outdoor fixtures must have the appropriate damp or wet rating to withstand environmental elements. Put a ceiling fan with a light in a covered porch. That way, you’ll have a cool breeze during the day and light to see at night. An industrial style pendant or semi flush mount would work in the area, as well.


There are many ways to use ceiling lights creatively in your space. You can mix style with practicability. Have a multifunctional light that’s practical and trendy, such as farmhouse ceiling fans. Drop down lighting is unique and effective. If possible, take advantage of the natural light from a sky light with a DIY shade. Make sure your ceiling lighting fits with room theme and decor. Your lighting finish should match the overall design scheme. Consider fixtures with dimmable features to control atmosphere.

Figure out your lighting goal in each area you’re placing ceiling lights. Take note of room size and ceiling height. Whenever you’re unsure, refer to the guidelines for lighting a space and the proper fixtures for it. Keep proportion and design in mind. Ceiling lights can make a world of difference to your home, transforming it into a beautiful and enjoyable place.

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