If you’re thinking about a home remodel or new home project, then you have some serious decision making to do regarding your ceiling lights. Some people don’t realize this, but few things make as big an impact on how your space looks and feels than lighting, especially ceiling lights. And there are many different types of ceiling lights. You might start out wanting recessed ceiling lights, and, despite other choices like flush mount, semi flush mount, or track lighting, etc, you might end up STILL wanting recessed lights. But have you given thought to what size pot lights? Low voltage or line voltage? Square trim, round trim, or no trim at all? What about finish? Plain old white, or maybe brushed nickel? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, asking five questions will make the process much simpler. So before you swipe that debit card, check out what’s below.
1. What are my options for recessed lighting?
I put this question first because recessed lighting is one of the most popular types of ceiling lighting. Many times, a home remodel intended to change the lighting will involve the installation of recessed lights. That’s because recessed lighting is inherently elegant. It’s low profile but can add the perfect ambient light in residential spaces. There’s something attractive about discreet light fixtures. They offer carefully calculated lighting and allow inhabitants and guests to focus on what is being illuminated rather than the fixture itself. So, if you want to go with recessed ceiling lights, make sure you educate yourself on all the different styles. If you do decide on recessed lighting, be sure and check out our guide to laying out pot lights.
2. If not recessed lighting, what type of fixture do I want?
When it comes to ceiling lights, I think of two categories: Recessed lights and then everything else, like track lighting, pendants, flush mount lights, semi flush mounts lights, cove lighting, and even fiber optic lighting. A lot of times, when people think of ceiling lights, they immediately think of circular flush mount light fixtures, which can be great, but you deserve to know that there is so much more out there. Decorative track lighting has become very popular as of late, for example. Cove lighting can give you an awesome effect that you might not be aware of. And fiber optics can turn a ceiling into a starry sky. Educate yourself on these types of ceiling lights before making a choice.
3. What kind of finish?
Whether you’re partial to recessed ceiling lights or chandeliers, you have control over the way the fixture will look. Most ceiling lights come in a variety of finishes, and, sometimes, the finish is the most important part. I mean, during the day, the finish is what you see. The type of ceiling in the room will determine to a large extent the kind of finish you want. For wood ceilings, metallic finishes are popular, for example. In minimalist lighting design, recessed lights with no trim whatsoever are popular. Again, there are probably more kinds of finish for ceiling lights than you know – they’re always developing new styles – so give yourself a chance to think about the finish of your fixture and consult some photos for inspiration.
4. What kind of light source?
What kind of light source makes the most sense for your new ceiling lights? (Psst! Here’s a guide explaining the differences between light sources.) Compact fluorescent (CFL)? Halogen? Light emitting diode (LED)? What about those antique light bulbs that have become so popular? The kind of light source you choose will depend on the function of your ceiling lights. For general light, you might choose fluorescent or CFL, which use small amounts of energy to produce light in a variety of color temperatures. For accent lighting, you might choose halogen or LED, both popular choices. Light source will also be determined by whether or not you want to use a dimmer. Educate yourself on the benefits of each kind of light source and match the appropriate light source to the function your ceiling lights will perform.
5. What kind of style am I going for?
Lighting is an absolutely integral part of any cohesive home design. If your style is vintage chic, fixtures with antique light bulbs might be just the thing to complete your look. If you prefer a modern style, then you will probably want to look for opportunities to utilize cove lighting, perhaps in a shade of blue or red. For WOW! factor, you might want to consider a track lighting option that will surprise your friends and look great. Lights will work with the rest of your belongings to create a cohesive design, so, if you have a particular look in mind, you definitely want to let your style guide your ceiling light decision making, and, as always, check out a lot of pictures of home design, paying special attention to that often overlooked aspect of interior design: Your ceiling lights.