13 types of ceiling lights: room lighting guide - Lifestyle AU
13 types of ceiling lights: room lighting guide

13 types of ceiling lights: room lighting guide

Choosing the right type of ceiling lights in your home can be a daunting task, but doing it right can set the mood for each room exactly how you want it to be. The huge range available gives you some great options to consider but you want to be sure you make the right choice for the right room, used in the right way.

Words by Yohei Guy

If you’ve never shopped for ceiling lights before you might be surprised to discover just how many different types of ceiling lights there are. With a range so vast, picking the right lighting for each room can be quite challenging, requiring consideration of many factors. The breakdown below will help you understand these differences both subtle and significant so you can make the most informed choice when the time comes.

Colt Triple Pendant Light by Bert Frank from LightCo

1. Spotlights

This type of lighting is not typically used as an everyday light. Instead, it is a great light to add for entertainment purposes or to use in a specific area of a room.

For instance, putting a spotlight directly above a bed can set a calming mood before bed, especially if they are dimmable. Some also use them to highlight sculptures, works of art and other notable furnishings.

2. Downlights and recessed lights

If you are going for a more minimal look, downlights (also known as recessed lights) is a great option where the light bulbs are largely concealed, installed into the ceiling. They work effectively to cover large spaces like living rooms and can even be used as task lighting in kitchens. Most downlights these days use LED bulbs making them incredibly energy efficient.

Related article - Downlights: The essentials

Kap Recessed Light by Flos from Euroluce

3. LED indirect lights

LED indirect lighting typically works by shining light against a wall or ceiling as opposed to lights that shine light directly into a room. It’s a fantastic style of lighting to create mood and atmosphere, layering the light and creating depth.

Often quite a dramatic choice, it falls more under a contemporary style.

4. Pendant lights

Pendant lighting is a great type of accent lighting that comes in different forms. It can be a more contemporary style located over your kitchen island, or it can be the statement piece in a living or dining room.

This type of lighting can be used for practical purposes or decorative purposes. They often work well in conjunction with downlights in larger spaces.

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Snowflake Pendant Light from David Turnbridge

5. Inverted pendant lights

An inverted pendant light gives you the same look as a hanging light, but instead of seeing the lights themselves, there is a cover over them that directs light up. This can also create the effect of making a small room look bigger with a focus of light towards the ceiling.

6. Chandeliers

If you want to go for a more artistic or elegant style, chandelier lighting will help you achieve that. This is a great style of lighting to captivate a crowd and dazzle your guests.

Chandeliers have great history giving them a fantastic timeless quality. They are typically quite grand but you can get them in smaller sizes too. For elegance and sophistication, they can’t be surpassed.

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Diana 6 Light Cut Glass Chandelier by French Country Collections

7. LED strip lights

LED strip lighting is often used on the outside frame or borders of a ceiling. They are a bit like indirect lighting in some ways but the distinction is the lighting here works in a continuous strip, almost like an outline.

Its purpose is largely stylistic, used to create a particular mood but it also has some practical benefits, for instance, when you’re watching a movie and need some subtle illumination without being intrusive on the experience.

8. Ceiling fan lights

A ceiling fan is a must for some households in the summer, keeping spaces cool throughout the day and night. Many now also come with lights making them a multi-functional, multi-purpose feature of a room.

There are many different styles to choose from including models with one flush light on the fan or several semi-flush lights that come out of the fan for a more modern or contemporary look.

An attractive ceiling fan light at a modern family home in Sydney designed by Adrian Tarrant

9. Utility lights

The utility light is a simple type of lighting that is almost completely functional, providing lighting where it's needed. It is modest in appearance, without drawing attention to itself while providing enough illumination to get tasks done. A laundry room or a garage are appropriate places where you’ll typically find utility lights.

10. Track and rail lights

Track and rail lighting just refers to any lighting fixture that is on a metal track. There can be multiple lights on one metal track, it can come in different shapes, and most are customisable to your liking.

The great thing about track lighting is that it is extremely versatile and flexible as it allows you to aim multiple in different directions. They are used widely in art galleries because of this but for the domestic setting, they are often found in kitchens.

Zero Track Light by Flos from Euroluce

11. Flush lights

Flush lights refer to lighting that is "flush" or flat on the ceiling. The entire base of the light is attached to the ceiling as opposed to lights that hang from a cord or chain.

They are a humble form of light, fantastic for small to medium-sized rooms, especially those with lower ceilings where a pendant light becomes impractical.

12. Semi-flush lights

Semi-flush lights fall between flush lights and pendant lights. They are attached directly to the ceiling but hang down anywhere between 4 to 8 inches. The advantage to this is that they can spread light up towards the ceiling as well as down, as opposed to flush lights which just shine down.

It just adds a little bit more layering and dimension to a room and is a good one to consider if the ceiling is high enough to accommodate it.

13. Linear lights

Linear lights are unique in that they create a long, thin light source instead of the traditional rounded projection. They have been around a while in a few different variations and are experiencing a bit of a modern renaissance in Australia and abroad.

They can cover large spaces in unison especially well and can also be used on their own for task lighting, covering narrow areas like kitchen countertops and workbenches.

PC Linear Ceiling Light by HAY from Cult Design

Different types of ceiling lights for all

As you can see there is no shortage of choice when it comes to ceiling lighting for your home. From expressive chandeliers to subtle flush lights, you’ll find something for every setup and style of room in your house. So long as you understand how these lights work best, you’ll be able to take advantage of all their benefits with a result that looks great and works.

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