Tips and Tricks for Lighting Design With Low Ceilings

April 23, 2023

In 2023, the newest and trendiest homes are remarkably spacious, with every room boasting at least 10 feet and perhaps 12 feet between ceiling and floor. This provides ample opportunity to explore glamorous and eye-catching lighting design, utilizing large and luxurious light fixtures that take up a significant amount of space.

However, not every homeowner has extra head space to spare. Most homes maintain just 8 feet between floor and ceiling, which can make incredible lighting design difficult to accomplish. If you want to illuminate your interior space in a dazzling way without compromising on critical overhead space, you might take advantage of the following tips and tricks.

Be Careful Where You Hang Pendants and Chandeliers

You might assume that with low ceilings, any kind of hanging fixture is out of the question — but you would be wrong. It is possible to utilize pendants and chandeliers in rooms with lower ceilings, but you do need to be careful about where you place them in your space. It is imperative that hanging lights appear only over areas of your room that are impossible to walk beneath, such as over a kitchen island or over a table. Then, there will be no risk of anyone bumping their head or damaging your home due to a low-hanging fixture.

Choose More Compact Fixtures or Linear Shapes

Hanging or standing on the floor, light fixtures in rooms with low ceilings should be relatively compact. Foyer-style and tall fixtures can serve to highlight the grandness of an entryway or high-ceilinged living space, but in a room with low ceilings, they will only dwarf the room, taking up valuable space and making everything else feel small and cramped. You should look instead for compact lights or else fixtures that have wide rather than tall dimensions, which will be more flattering when ceilings are low.

Look for Trendy Flush Mounts

Flush mounts suffer from a bad reputation thanks to the ugly builder-grade flush mounts that seem to appear in every home built in the last few decades. Believe it or not, there are flush mount fixtures that are beautiful in design, offering a gentle ambient lighting while contributing positively to the stylish feel of a space. You can even find trendy flush mount ceiling fans that offer illumination while helping improve air circulation in small or low-ceilinged rooms. This is all to say that you don’t have to sacrifice functional overhead lighting in favor of aesthetics; you can have both with a gorgeous flush mount.

Place Recessed Lighting Carefully

Many homeowners with low ceilings naturally gravitate toward recessed lighting, as these overhead lights suit every style, require no head space and blend seamlessly into the ceiling. However, many homeowners place recessed lights incorrectly; these bright lights should be directed onto something, like a wall or countertop, to prevent unsightly glare and shadows on faces and furniture. If you want to install recessed lights around your living spaces, you might consider integrating some design element that reduces their intensity, like colored glass or crystal, which can also enhance the appearance of these utilitarian fixtures.

Take Advantage of Accent Table and Floor Lamps

Overhead lighting is an important element of lighting design, but it is not the only way you should be illuminating your rooms. In fact, many interior designers heavily promote the use of table and floor lamps, which tend to shed more flattering light that will feel more comforting to you and your guests. What’s more, accent lamps at the table or floor level can be more affordable and offer greater variation in design, giving you more control over the look of your room without compromising on cost or head space.

Consider Using Wall Sconces

If you have some electrical know-how, you might consider running wiring up to wall sconces placed strategically around your home. Wall sconces provide some of the beauty, convenience and ambient light of overhead lights without the hassle of hanging or coopting head space. In some spaces, like bathrooms, wall sconces can function even better than overhead lighting, as lights at face level tend to cast more flattering shadows, making it easier to apply makeup and style hair. The best indoor wall sconces will cast light back onto the wall rather directly into the room, providing a soft and gorgeous glow.

There is no way to add four feet to the ceiling height of your home — and with the above tips and tricks, there is no reason to. You can style yourself a spacious and welcoming room with the perfect lighting design.


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I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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