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How to choose the right ceiling light for your home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Exclusive pendant light BURN with crystals Modern dining room by Luxury Chandelier Modern
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Want to illuminate your home’s furnishings, wallpaper, and overall good taste? Obviously the right lighting is a must, but many people get fairly nervous when presented with the vast array of choices in terms of size, design, style, etc. 

Don’t worry – with homify, choosing the right ceiling light is relatively easy! And luckily you can always have a chat with a Lighting expert to ensure your home’s lights are effective in terms of illumination quality and visual aesthetics.  

1. What to consider: High ceilings

Independent Villa - Pune Modern dining room by DECOR DREAMS Modern

Independent Villa—Pune


Is your room’s ceiling higher than 2.4 m? That means you have so many more options to choose from, like designs hanging down on chain suspensions. 

2. What to consider: Lower ceilings

Classic luxury chandelier for kitchen island with decor and patina finishes by Luxury Chandelier Classic Copper/Bronze/Brass
Luxury Chandelier

Classic luxury chandelier for kitchen island with decor and patina finishes

Luxury Chandelier

If your ceilings are lower than 2.4 m, a semi-flush fitting may be the best solution. With no chain attached, these are usually suspended by a mount or different height rods are incorporated into the light fitting itself. 

3. What to consider: Much lower ceilings

Hallway designed with stone cladding on wall and asymetric wooden ceiling with linear lighting Modern corridor, hallway & stairs by Enwave Modern

Hallway designed with stone cladding on wall and asymetric wooden ceiling with linear lighting


Consider a flush ceiling light fitting (a fixture that has little to no gap between the fixture itself and the ceiling) if your ceilings are below 2m, which is the case with a lot of houses. 

But just because your ceiling light isn’t an eye-catching chandelier doesn’t mean your lights can’t still be the decorative focal point of the room. Remember that layered lighting is a must in any room of the home. Thus, opt for something more striking for one of the other fixtures, such as the wall sconces, table lamp, etc. 

4. The style

Consider the existing style of your home / room, as this should nudge you in the direction of the lights’ design. Is it modern or traditional? Contemporary or rustic? 

5. Complementary styles

We understand the importance of a lighting fixture grabbing attention, but choosing something that is very far removed from the surrounding style is not the way to go. Never choose a fixture simply because it’s flashy or trendy – these will be out of style faster than you realise. 

6. The finish

Not sure what finish to choose for your lights? Look towards your door handles, light switches, curtain rail, etc. If these are modern, for example, lean towards this particular design style to ensure a look that flows easily. 

7. Choosing another finish

The Sea House, Porth, Cornwall Modern media room by The Bazeley Partnership Modern
The Bazeley Partnership

The Sea House, Porth, Cornwall

The Bazeley Partnership

But what if you’re decorating a completely blank room with no door handles or switches yet? Then you, once again, look at the style of your home / room to guide you.

There are various finishes to choose from, such as brass (which has recently made a comeback) and chrome – thus, should one of these complement your home’s existing style, then have at it! 

8. The size

The diameter of your ceiling light is vital, as that’ll help determine the amount of illumination the room will receive. The larger the diameter, the wider the fitting, as the bulbs are spread further apart and will ensure light reaches further into the room. 

In general, the larger the room, the larger fitting you require as it holds more lamps than a smaller diameter alternative. 

9. Testing the size before buying

Living Room cum Working Area Classic style living room by Dezinebox Classic

Living Room cum Working Area


Sometimes it’s tricky visualising a fitting’s size simply by reading the measurements. What a lot of people do is use an old cardboard box to cut out the light’s diameter. They then hold this at the appropriate height the light would hang, helping them visualise the size of the ceiling light and the impact it would have on the room (i.e. is it too small for the ceiling’s size). 

10. Testing the height

Luxury pendant light with crystals Modern dining room by Luxury Chandelier Modern Glass
Luxury Chandelier

Luxury pendant light with crystals

Luxury Chandelier

This method is also used with the fitting’s height to determine how far down it will reach into the room. A light’s height is given from top to bottom. Any fitting with a chain is measured in the same way, but the chain length is usually not included in the measurement – this must be added afterwards. 

Different manufacturers use different chain lengths, so always double check the chain length before paying. If need be, you can always reduce the chain length by removing a few links. 

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Chandelier? Pendants? Downlighters? What sort of ceiling lights would you choose for your home?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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