Picking a lighting fixture might seem like a standard task, but today’s options make this once-easy decision more complicated. Depending on the room you're lighting up you'll have to decide between a few options: pendant or chandelier? Track light or wall sconce? Cabinet or recessed lights? No matter how mundane it seems, picking the right light fixtures is important, so consider all the options below before taking your next lighting plunge.
What types of lighting are available?
Your choice of lighting fixtures is much more complex than choosing the right finish to match your decor. You’ll want to make sure the lights you purchase are not only stylish, but functional for the space you plan to use them in. For example, while pendants may sound visually appealing in the kitchen, consider how much light they actually provide and whether you need to combine multiple types of light fixtures to achieve optimal brightness for the tasks at hand. Check out this list of common home lighting types to help you shop:
More: The 3 Types of Lighting and How to Use Them
- Pendant Lights: A pendant light is a smaller fixture suspended from the ceiling by a cord, chain or metal rod. Pendant lights traditionally include only one lightbulb, so they don’t cover as much ground; several are often used to cover more space. There are many styles of these lights, including drum pendants and globe pendants, making it easy to find one that will fit your decor. They work well when you’re trying to showcase a smaller, specific area, such as a kitchen island or a dining room table.
- Chandeliers: Chandeliers have multiple lightbulbs combined in one unit to create a larger, more dramatic statement piece. Unlike pendants, they produce a stronger glow and therefore can often stand alone. Chandeliers are traditionally more elegant and more expensive than other indoor lighting fixtures, and therefore are used less frequently — you may see one in an entryway or a formal dining room.
- Ceiling Fans: Primarily used for practicality as opposed to beauty, ceiling fans are a great way to cool a room down and brighten it up at the same time. They are often used in bedrooms, though they come in handy where there’s a lot of activity, including playrooms and home gyms. They also make great outdoor light fixtures for a covered patio or sunroom.
- Wall Sconces: Mostly used for adding ambience and decoration, a wall sconce is any kind of wall-mounted light fixture. It provides dimmer, less vibrant illumination and is therefore likely to be used in multiples down a hallway or near a front door.
- Recessed Lighting: If space is an issue, recessed light fixtures are a great option, because they take up no space at all; a fixture is inserted directly into the ceiling. Because they are often used as accents in a larger space, such as a kitchen or living room, recessed bulbs are almost always used in multiples. Although not as common a use, they can also be inserted into floors and walls to provide additional brightness in dark spaces.
- Cabinet Lighting: These lighting fixtures are mounted underneath a cabinet or shelf and provide illumination for a particular task. They are most often placed in kitchen cabinets to act as pinpointed spotlights for cooking, but they can also provide accent brightness for home office or living room shelves.
- Track Lighting: Like a chandelier, this interior lighting source includes several lightbulbs in one fixture, but instead of being grouped together, the bulbs are strung along a horizontal track. Tracks are a more casual way to get a lot of illumination in one space, and therefore they look good in less formal settings, such as a hallway, an office or a kitchen. Most of them can be positioned to highlight specific areas, which makes them great for showcasing artwork.
- Floor or Table Lamps: If you’re looking for a more traditional light fixture, you can always opt for floor lamps or table lamps. Because of their many different shapes, sizes and designs, they are often a great way to add some flavor to your living room or bedroom. Lampshades are easy to switch, so if you’re looking for a fresh, new look for your room lights, you can change them out as often as you like.