Ceiling Light Fixtures

Ceiling lights are probably the most commonly used light fixtures in the home.

The reasons for this are clear: Ceiling lights come in a wide variety of styles to suit any room; they light a wide area, and they don’t take up valuable floor space.

Whether you are planning a new home or remodeling your existing home, you’ll want to plan ahead for adequate ceiling-mounted light fixtures since adding ceiling lighting is not an easy post-construction or retrofit project.

If you have existing ceiling fixtures, we have also provided an overview of the different types and styles available, along with simple instructions for replacing your ceiling lights.

Consider the following suggestions and options when selecting and installing new ceiling light fixtures.

Things to Consider When Selecting Ceiling Lights

The most important consideration when selecting ceiling lights is the level of brightness they’ll provide and how much of the room will be lit.

The most common mistake that people make is relying on a single ceiling light fixture in the middle of the room. This may not be a problem in the dining room, where low light can contribute to an elegant ambiance, but it’s not such a good idea in the kitchen where you’re likely to be handling knives and could cut off a finger if you can’t see what you’re doing.

You will also want sufficient light in the living room where you might want to curl up with the latest best-seller. Consider what tasks you’ll be doing in each room; task lighting might be in order. You can install multiple ceiling light fixtures, light strips, or supplement your fixtures with table lamps or floor models.

Also consider the size and design of your room. You want to make sure that the model you choose complements your style and doesn’t over- or under-whelm your room.

Ceiling Light Types

Ceiling light types range from the simplest designs to ornate versions that would set off any mansion. So what options are best for your rooms?

  • Bare bulb – Sure, you could go with a socket and a bare bulb. A plain hanging lamp will give off the most light, but the decorative element is zip.
  • Frosted globes – These come in plain and etched versions. Simple lights covered with frosted globes are probably best suited for hallways, workshops, or laundry rooms. For other areas in your home, try something with a little more design pop.
  • Chandeliers – Ornate chandeliers are great choices for formal dining rooms, and now more modern versions in metal or plastic are also available to coordinate with more contemporary dining areas too. A chandelier in the kitchen can also be an interesting design element. Another option is to put it in an entryway, particularly if you have a high ceiling.
  • Track lighting – Track lighting is growing in popularity. Individual fixtures are attached to a track on the ceiling, allowing the fixtures to be moved and positioned individually. You can select wide or narrow beam options depending on if you want to use them for area or task lighting.
  • Downlights – Downlights are ceiling-mounted lights that project light downward. They can be recessed into the ceiling or flush mounted (also called “surface mounted”). These lights tend to cast a very narrow beam of light, so consider using them for task lighting.

Ceiling Light Styles

Within each of the above light types, you can find a hanging lamp style that will best suit your home.

Traditional, craftsman, and contemporary models are just some of the examples available. For example, if you decide you want a chandelier, you could go for a vintage ceiling light model or an art deco ceiling light. Similarly, if you want a globe light, decide if you want a vintage ceiling light or an art deco ceiling light, or another style choice.

Also consider the finish that would best suit your room. Shiny metal finishes or plastics are best for modern rooms. Brushed metals are better for country or elegant styles.

A variety of metals are available, including brass, pewter, nickel, and chrome, so one option is to take a look at any metals already in the room and try to coordinate with them.

Simple Ceiling Light Installation Steps

To install a ceiling light, make sure you have the following equipment available:

  • Ladder
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Utility knife
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire nuts

Once your materials are assembled, follow these simple steps to install your fixture:

  1. As with any electrical work, turn off the circuit breaker before you start.
  2. Remove the old ceiling fixture. You will probably need to remove any globes or glass first, just like you were going to replace the bulb. You will need to remove a central rod or screws to take the fixture down. Hold on to the fixture so it doesn’t pull on the wires when you do this. Use your wire cutters to cut the wires on the fixture, not the house wires!
  3. To prepare for installation, take out the leftover bits of fixture and grounding wire.
  4. Review the instructions on your new fixture, as each model wires differently. Think about getting a helper if your fixture is particularly large.
  5. Connect the fixture wire with wire nuts, and then do the same with the grounding wire. Push the wires into the electrical box so that they don’t tangle and they stay out of the way.
  6. Place the fixture and secure it with a metal rod or screws as required by your model.

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