Ceiling Lights Buying Guide

Ceiling lights can set the tone for an entire room while accentuating certain elements. This ceiling lights buying guide has some bright ideas to help you choose the right lights.

Ceiling Lights 101

Every part of your home can benefit from the right choice of ceiling fixture. For example, carefully arranged track lights will focus attention on architectural features, prized furniture, art pieces and family photos. Similarly, a chandelier will add drama to your entrance way, and recessed lighting will give your kitchen a modern, organized look. Strategic placement of dimmer-controlled ceiling lighting is an effective way to create subtle mood shifts from one room to the next. You can also using ceiling lights to illuminate specific areas for specific purposes, for example food preparation, dining, working or exercising. Your options are almost endless, and you'll enjoy your home even more when it's lit just right.

Types of Ceiling Lights


Ceiling Mount Lights

Flush-mount and semi-flush-mount ceiling lights come in a vast range of styles, sizes and shapes, each intended to fully illuminate your space in an efficient and pleasing way. Flush-mount ceiling lights are commonly used for bedroom lighting, bathroom lighting and smaller rooms in general. Semi-flush-mount lights hang down slightly from the ceiling and are better suited to living rooms or family rooms. There are many style options to choose from (colour, size, shape etc.) and many bulb types available.

Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting is a terrific solution if you want bright light on a specific area of your home, such as the dining room table or the island counter in your kitchen. Since pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling, they naturally serve as focal points. This also makes them ideal for creating dramatic flair in a foyer or an atrium. Pendant lights controlled by a dimmer switch are perfect for setting the mood in a room. Glass, metal and fabric shades in many shapes and sizes are available to match your decor. 

Track Lighting

Interior designers recommend track lights to highlight specific elements in a room. That’s because each track light can be positioned independently. They’re designed to pivot or rotate into different positions to provide a direct beam to a certain area, like a reading chair, for example. You can also use track lights in place of flush or ceiling mount lights to give your space a modern flair and complement most contemporary decor. Track lighting positioned around the outside of your room can help showcase artwork and bookcases, or add emphasis to wall treatments. 

Recessed Lighting

If you prefer a streamlined look, then recessed lights, also known as pot lights, are an attractive option. The fixture is tucked above the ceiling surface between the ceiling joists, exposing only a thin edge of trim called a baffle. Recessed lights cast light downward onto traffic and sitting areas in a wide beam or targeted stream, depending on the size of the light and the type and angle of the bulb. Recessed lighting is particularly useful in rooms with low ceilings, such as finished basements with limited headroom.


The word conjures images of cascading crystals and glittering excess in a romantic, castle-like setting. A chandelier is a great way to add class and drama to your entranceway or dining room. This type of lighting instantly draws attention, and hints at both elegance and refinement. Choosing a chandelier involves finding the right size for your space and selecting a style that suits your decor. Depending on its weight, a chandelier may require special mounting. Most styles also work well with a dimmer switch.

Ceiling Fans with Lights

Replacing your ceiling mount light with a ceiling fan can leave with you in the dark unless you purchase a fan with a light. The light fixture is usually connected to the hub of the fan and wired into the ceiling outlet as part of the fan installation. Ceiling fans with lights range from basic units with a single bulb and dome-style cover to more elaborate models with multiple lights and directional shades.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are the practical and economical solution to lighting your garage, basement workshop or laundry room. They can also be installed beneath kitchen cabinets to illuminate countertops and serve as secondary back-lighting or night lights. Since fluorescent lights hang only a few inches down from the ceiling, they're a good option for providing bright, steady light in rooms with limited headroom. Use a diffuser (plastic cover) to soften the light and minimize the flickering effect.

Wall Sconces

Sconces are throwbacks to the time when we lit our homes with wall-mounted candles or torches. Modern wall sconces with electric lighting perform the same task. They come in countless styles, shapes and materials, adaptable to any home fashion. Some wall scones have multiple bulbs for ambient lighting, while others are designed to point straight up or straight down for targeted hallway lighting. To achieve a balanced, elegant look, consider hanging matching sconces on either side of a furniture item, fireplace or bathroom mirror. You can even install them on either side of your bed as reading lights.

Ceiling Light Buying Tips:

• Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs are cooler than halogen or incandescent lights
• Use track lighting in place of floor lamps where children and pets are active
• Flush-mount ceiling lights work best in small rooms and closets
• Measure from the ceiling to the countertop or tabletop to determine the best length of pendant lights
• Scale the size of chandeliers and pendant lights to match the size of your room
• Choose a ceiling fan with a light for large family rooms
• Light unfinished basements and garages with low-cost fluorescent lighting

Lighting Styles

Ambient Lighting +

Flush-mount and semi-flush-mount ceiling lights and chandeliers provide general or ambient lighting for illuminating wide spaces or entire rooms. Ambient lighting is typically controlled by a wall switch. Some models feature a wall dimmer switch for adjusting the intensity of the light.

Task Lighting +

Recessed spotlights, track lighting and pendant lights are well suited to focusing light on a work surface such as a kitchen counter, sewing machine, workbench, craft area or desktop. The light should be bright enough to show every detail, and positioned so that your vision isn’t hampered by shadows.

Accent Lighting +

Accent lights influence mood, enhance objects and highlight displays of artwork or wall treatments. Wall sconces and recessed lights are best for blending light and shadow to create an effect or to spotlight specific areas while subduing others.

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Ceiling Light Maintenance Tips:

• Do not exceed maximum wattage when replacing spent bulbs
• Consult local waste management guidelines for proper disposal of used bulbs
• Allow halogen and other bulbs to cool down before changing
• Check fasteners occasionally to ensure light fixtures remain tight
• Clean glass shades on kitchen fixtures to remove grease residue
• Replace or upgrade light fixtures to reflect changing room needs
• Install dimmer switches to vary light intensity and enhance mood
• Call an electrician or home repair specialist if water drips from ceiling mount lights

Ceiling Light Bulbs

Most jurisdictions have imposed new standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs. They are also promoting the use of energy- and cost-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), light emitting diodes (LEDs) and halogen bulbs. CFLs and LEDs can be used in most of the same fixtures as incandescent bulbs. CFLs stay cool to the touch and use a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs. LEDs last longer than other types of bulbs. Halogen bulbs focus intense light as recessed spotlights and task lamps but operate at the highest temperatures and require special housings to withstand the heat. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before installing any bulb and ensure that the fixture is compatible. 
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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