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7 Types of Ceiling Lights To Upgrade Your Home

Upgrade your ceiling lights and see what an impact it has on the overall look and feel of your home.

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Brigham Frosted Glass Flush Mount Ecomm Via PotterybarnVia Merchant

Flush Mount

A flush mount light is a common option, especially for low ceilings. Flush mount fixtures are installed flush to the ceiling, hence the name.

Builders often use a simple dome flush mount fixture in the middle of the room, but there are lots of flush mounts with style out there. You’ll find a surprising variety of decorative options and fixtures with multiple light bulb sockets.

The Brigham Frosted Flush Mount from Pottery Barn is a perfect example of form plus style. It provides a nod to Art Nouveau design and comes four metal finishes. (Remember: Frosted glass means more diffuse light, with less eye strain!)

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Alder And Ore Aidan Drum Shade Ecomm Via YlightingVia Merchant

Semi-Flush Mount

A semi-flush mount hangs from the ceiling about three to six inches via a rod or chain, says Doreen Le May Madden, president and certified lighting architect at Lux Lighting Design. Semi-flush mounts are typically better for ceilings taller than eight feet.

Le May Madden says a semi-flush mount can be an upgrade if it offers uplighting onto the ceiling, or radiates light in more directions. If you already have track or recessed lighting on your ceiling, or a lot of floor and table lamps, a semi-flush that directs light upward offers another great way to layer light. Uplighting can make your space appear taller and airier.

This Aidan Drum Light from Adler & Ore is a classic option. The fabric shade comes in three colors. Along with the bottom diffuser shade, it provides plenty of light without glare.

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Mitzi Hudson Valley Lighting Ecomm Via YlightingVia Merchant

Pendant

Pendants are mounted on the ceiling and suspended on cords or chains. Typically they have one light at the end, although styles continue to evolve.

Pendants can range from the purely decorative to an option for task lighting. They’re effective over a kitchen island or a reading nook. In bathrooms they provide one layer of light on either side of a mirror on a vanity, and in small bedrooms over nightstands.

Lantern-style pendants are extremely popular, but Le May Madden says they usually require secondary recessed or track lighting to illuminate a whole room. Candelabra-style pendants have gained in popularity. They throw a lot of light but do nothing for task lighting. Always keep function top of mind.

The Ariana Pendant from Mitzi features round opal glossy glass shade supported seamlessly by a metal shade holder. It throws light from the sides and underneath, allowing for more diffused illumination than something more directional and task-oriented.

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Allenglade 11 Light Shades Chandelier Ecomm Via RejuvenationVia Merchant

Chandelier

A chandelier is the showiest ceiling light option. It usually features a branched structure with multiple bulbs, plus glass or crystals that refracts the light around the room. Chandeliers provide general illumination and aren’t typically used as task lighting.

Style-wise chandeliers run from ornate to modern, vertical to more horizontal with LED or incandescent bulbs. Le May Madden says if you go the LED route, be sure they’re are encased with high-quality plastic to stop glare and cut down on hotspots that can strain your eyes.

This Allenglade Chandelier would surely make an impression over a dining table or island. It’s available in seven finishes with two shade sizes and three tier options.

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Articulating Flat Cylinder Semi Flush Light Fixture Ecomm Via RejuvenationVia Merchant

Monopoint

Monopoint lights are “basically a ceiling-mounted single track head — the ceiling-mount version of recessed lights,” says Le May Madden. “It’s a very directional light … [They] throw light in a cone shape that is ideal for lighting artwork, walls or specific tables or objects.”

These lights are better for specific illumination of art, furniture and architectural details, and not so much general or task lighting. Many monopoint lights look standard and aren’t so much focused on style. But the Paige from Rejuvenation comes in five metal finishes and features an articulating shade, so you can direct the light exactly where you want it.

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Jonathan Lighting Conley Indoor Lighting Via BuildVia Merchant

Linear

Le May Madden calls linear lighting modern and on-trend. Many linear lighting options recess into the ceiling. But if your ceiling can’t accommodate it, these fixtures can also hang down. The long, narrow tube of light is often suspended from aircraft cable.

“People like to use them for long hallways, very minimalistic looks over kitchen islands or tables, and even in home offices,” she says. “They provide a lot of light using the tiniest footprint of a fixture.”

Linear lighting comes in various style and material options, from metal to wood. This 40-inch wide LED Linear Light Fixture from Jonathan Y Lighting is a classic example of this type.

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Dome Semi Flushmount Ceiling Light Ecomm Via LumensVia Merchant

Indirect Ceiling Mount

As the name implies, indirect ceiling lighting is a light mounted on the ceiling, with the source hidden from the view. “Basically, these lights give you uplighting,” says Le May Madden. “It would hang down like a semi-flush mount or provide a pendant-like look, but the light is shining up on the ceiling.”

It also can replace cove lighting. But Le May Madden says if your ceiling is dark wood or stone, your room may be too dark because those surfaces absorb light.

This Dome Semi-Flush Mount Light from Atelier de Troupe is a good indirect choice. It directs light only upward, shielded by an elegant shade.

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Katie Dohman
Katie Dohman is an award-winning freelance writer who has written about home, design, and lifestyle topics for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured in Artful Living, Midwest Home, Star Tribune, and Teen Vogue, among many others. She is currently living her own how-to story as she and her husband work through a complete gut remodel on their 1921 home—while parenting three tiny tots and dodging their dog and cat, who always seem to be underfoot.