You’ve hung up every piece of art you had, strategically placed all of your decorative ornaments, and color coordinated all of it – but there’s something missing, something that would’ve otherwise tied the whole room together. You’re missing the perfect ceiling light!
In an ideal world, everyone would’ve had an interior decorator or designer at their disposal. The world is far from ideal and you’re left browsing through piles of catalogues to find furnishings that work best for you and your space.
Preliminaries: What Are Ceiling Lights and Types
Credits: Renopedia, Ciseern by Design Furnishings Pte Ltd
A ceiling light is a ceiling-mounted fixture that varies in shape, size, and design from one manufacturer to the next. Of the three broad categories of lighting solutions (ambient, accent, and task), ceiling lights are often used for ambient lighting.
Basically, a ceiling light is an over-head light mounted onto the ceiling that helps in providing generalized illumination. However, there are several other types that offer accent and task lighting solutions. It might be interesting to note that you can layer all three lighting types together in the same room with nothing but ceiling lighting.
A common misconception with ceiling lights is that they’re limited in type to only chandeliers and pendant lighting. While they may be the more well-known kinds of ceiling lights, they aren’t the only ones.
Broadly classified, there are two types of ceiling lights:
- Flush Ceiling Lights – Lighting fixtures that have very little space between the ceiling and them (if at all). These fixtures are mounted directly onto the ceiling space.
- Semi-flush Ceiling Lights – Lighting fixtures that hang down from the ceiling. They have reasonable clearance space between them and the ceiling.
Factors to Consider When Buying Ceiling Lights
Shown in Image: Gundersen Spider Leg Styled Industrial Rustic Chandelier
In the long check-list of what needs to be bought, coloured, and refurbished when renovating or remodelling any space, lighting elements are usually at the very end. This is probably due to the fact that people are under the misconception that lighting is the easiest thing to master. The truth is, however, that it’s one of the easiest things to get wrong.
There are several things you’d have to consider when buying ceiling lights, some of which include:
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Everything that you buy has to fall within your predetermined budget. Your budget should be based on:
- Median costs for the item, and
- What you’re willing to spend on the item
The budget is a compromise between these two factors. Never exceed your predetermined budget. You’re basically setting up an entire budgeting plan which includes, but is not limited to, ceiling lights. If you splurge on one item, you might not be able to get another in the same range that you had intended to.
Coming up With a Lighting Plan
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A lighting plan is basically a floor plan for lighting elements. It’s a rough sketch of the architecture of your living space which may or may not include furnishings.
A lighting plan is different than a floor plan because it shows where furnishings go and determines what you should accentuate and where you’ll need more illumination.
For example, a lighting plan for a kitchen would include a rough layout of the kitchen with the kitchen cabinets, table tops, and any ornaments you’ve laid out. The lighting plan for the room will include task lights over the cabinets, ambient lights over the table tops, and accent lights over ornaments.
Shown in Image: Griet Eclectic Eye-Catching Pendant Lamp
The three parameters you need to consider for ceiling fixtures are; diameter, length, and clearance:
- Diameter – To determine the diameter of a fixture that’s best suited for your space, measure the length and width of your space (in feet). Add them up and replace the measurement scale with inches. If it was ten plus twelve feet for the length and width which gave you twenty-two feet in total, you now have twenty-two inches.
- Height – The height of your fixture varies over the surface that’s directly underneath it and the amount of clearance you want. Ceiling lights can either be flush lights or semi-flush lights which vary based primarily on height and clearance.
Regardless, if you’re looking for a fixture in an open space without a table top between the ceiling and the floor, your ideal height would be the height of the space multiplied by three and converted into inches.
Basically, ten feet multiplied by three to give thirty feet and then converted into thirty inches.
- Clearance – Clearance is defined as the space between your fixture and whatever is between the ceiling and the floor. In dining rooms this could be the dining table, in bathrooms this could be the bathtub, and so forth.
For ceiling lights fixed above doors, you’ll need at least six inches of clearance between the fixture and the door. For low ceiling rooms, you might want to steer clear of large chandeliers that hang down too far. Ideally, your fixture should have between six to eight inches worth of clearance.
Shown in Image: Mikkel Spider Hardwired Rustic Ceiling Lamp
Besides flush and semi-flush lights that are particular to ceiling lights, there are three broad categories of lighting solutions, namely:
- Ambient lights
- Task lights, and
- Accent lights
For ambient lighting, the most common example would be chandeliers. Typical designs include candle or crystal chandeliers, but manufacturers have come out with chandeliers for every aesthetic. This includes drums, shaded, sputnik, novelty, and geometric designs.
Other examples include trims that are typical examples of flush lights. Trims are attached directly onto your ceiling and include several types such as, decorative, pinhole, adjustable, pinhole, and reflector.
For task lights, the most common example would be pendant lights. In this case, small to medium sized pendant lights. They vary in shape from very small to dominating. The designs might call for one, two, or several lighting fixtures attached to the same framework.
For accent lights, the most common example would be track lighting. A number of lighting elements are attached onto the same framework in a row. Varieties of track lights include, standard, fixed, monorail, and swing arm track lights.
5. Flexibility and Dimmers
Credits: Renopedia, Starry Homestead PTV LTD
How flexible could a ceiling light possibly get? Pretty flexible, quite a lot more so than most people would have expected. Understandably, the term flexibility over here is used to describe the use of the light and what the homeowner can get out of it.
Besides general illumination, homeowners are on the look out for lighting solutions that add more depth to the living space. One way to do this would be by installing a dimmer with the ceiling light.
A dimmer is an electric device attached with or within any type of lighting solution to, as the name indicates, alter the brightness of the light as required. Dimmers should be considered as more of an investment because they transform your living space from one theme or feel to a whole other.
When buying ceiling lights, aim for ones that either have dimmers incorporated within them already or can be modified with one. In most cases, the lighting solution can be hooked up with a dimmer – hence the term ‘solution.’
6. Types of Bulbs
Shown in Image: Surface Mounted LED Downlight Round
Broadly speaking, there are four common types of bulbs:
- Incandescent bulbs
- Halogen bulbs
- Fluorescent bulbs, and
- Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
Suffice to say any lighting fixture you incorporate into your living space needs a light bulb to function. Your ceiling light can provide design and, to an extent, variations of the light that it radiates. However, it can not provide any lighting without the bulb. It’s pretty understandable.
There is, however, a popular misconception when it comes to light bulbs and that’s the fact that most people would consider buying one as simple as that. There are, in fact, several considerations to make when choosing the right kind of light bulb.
For example; an incandescent bulb provides yellow, warm, and calming light. They are therefore commonly incorporated in chandeliers in alleyways or in living rooms. Halogen lights, on the other hand, provide brighter lighting.
Other considerations also include the longevity of the light bulb. Taking the aforementioned example; an incandescent light consumes less energy than a halogen bulb which in turn would consume less energy than a fluorescent bulb.
Maintenance is another concern for most homeowners when choosing which light bulb should go with their lighting fixture. Ideally, maintenance should be as nominal as possible.
Homeowners concerned primarily with maintenance should consider choosing LED fixtures, which have the highest upfront cost but which require the least maintenance of the three common types of lighting.
The normal rated lifespan of light bulbs varies from:
- LEDs – 100,000 to 150,000 hours.
- Fluorescent bulbs – 35,000 hours.
- Halogen bulbs – 15,000 hours.
When it comes to ceiling lights, your options are practically limitless. There are several factors that need to be considered before you set your heart on any particular type, style, or framework of ceiling lights.
For more designs and best prices, visit Light Vault today!