Lighting is one of the most important design elements in your home, setting the tone for each room.
Three different types of lighting establish the feel of a room, from romantic to working.
- Ambient lighting fills a room with bright light or a mellow glow.
- Task lighting focuses a beam of light on a work area.
- Accent lighting highlights art or an architectural feature.
A variety of ceiling lighting styles are available, from sleek chrome and steel fixtures to period-specific antiques or reproductions, often part of lighting collections with coordinating wall sconces and lamps, to complement and complete the decor in every room in your home.
Once thought of as fancy fixtures for ballrooms or mansions, today's chandeliers are found in nurseries, bathrooms, libraries and kitchens, in styles and materials to fit any budget or decorating scheme.
When shopping for a chandelier, keep these things in mind:
- The recommended height for hanging a chandelier above a dining room table is 30 in. for the lowest part of the chandelier.
- The recommended diameter for a dining room chandelier is one-half the width of the table.
For other rooms, consider this formula for finding the appropriately sized chandelier:
Add the length and width of the room together. For example, a room that is 10 ft. by 12 ft. would total 22 ft. Convert that number to inches: 22 in. is the recommended chandelier diameter.
FLUSH MOUNT FIXTURES
Flush mount fixtures, which hang flat against the ceiling, are not just for closets and hallways anymore. If you have low ceilings and are looking for ambient light, flush mount fixtures are available in styles that range from inconspicuous to ornate, for illuminating bedrooms, dining rooms and more. Some flush mounts house fluorescent bulbs to provide light to a large space, while saving you money on energy costs. Keep in mind that changing light bulbs in flush mounted fixtures can be a challenge, especially if you have high ceilings.
Fluorescent lights have come a long way since the days of being tucked away in a workshop, closet or industrial space. Today's decorative fluorescent fixtures are available in styles to complement every room in your home, while providing more light for less money than traditional incandescent bulbs and fixtures.
A pendant light hangs from the ceiling like a chandelier, but has a single light source, which might have one or more light bulbs. Pendant lights have shades directing light up, called an inverted pendant, or down, called a downlight. Inverted pendants provide ambient light, while downlights are typically used for task lighting or illuminating a workspace such as a kitchen island.
Also used for kitchen islands, island lights are similar to pendants, often with lights that hang at the end of a stem or rod. However, island lights may have two or three light sources shining downward to create a pool of light for tasks.
Recessed lighting, also called can or pot lighting, is mounted in the ceiling, so that the fixture is flush with the ceiling, rather than being mounted on the surface or hanging down from the ceiling. Recessed lights provide inconspicuous ambient lighting or task lighting for many rooms in your home.
Track lighting used to be strictly utilitarian, with straight electrically charged tracks and basic fixtures inserted along the track. Now, however, the tracks have become curvy works of art with fixtures, from pendants to spots, designed to complement any decor.
Track lighting is used as task lighting, illuminating a kitchen island or countertop, or as accent lighting to focus attention exactly where you want it on photos, paintings or architectural features. More about the uses and benefits of track lighting can be found in our Track Lighting Buying Guide.
Dimmers can be used with most ceiling mount fixtures to adjust the brightness level in any room, allowing a wide range of lighting moods. Dimmers not only provide more flexible lighting, but also help you save energy and extend the life of your light bulbs. Learn more from our Dimmers Buying Guide.