What Are the Different Types of Ceiling Lights?

Pendant ceiling lights are popularly used over kitchen islands for both appearance and functionality.
Some lights hang from the ceiling.
Fluorescent light tubes are common in laundry rooms or hallways.
Less ornate light fixtures may be more appropriate for office settings.
Recessed lighting fixtures are embedded into the ceiling to provide low-profile illumination.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2015
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Ceiling lights are not only available in many different colors, materials and styles, but they're also designed for many different purposes. Some types are made to diffuse light around a room, while others direct it downward onto a work area. There many choices of ceiling lights available to suit every room in a home.

A ceiling fan light serves a dual purpose as it's both a light fixture and a fan. Fan types of ceiling lights are suitable for every room, especially in warmer climates as they help circulate the air. Ceiling fan lighting looks great with tropical or rustic decor, but a ceiling fan light with fancier blades, perhaps even trimmed in metal, can blend well with more upscale rooms.

Fluorescent light fixtures are usually rectangular shapes that hold fluorescent tubes and these lights often attach directly to the ceiling. Fluorescent tube lights tend to be economical fixtures often found in rental apartments, hallways and laundry rooms. The outer frame may be a lightweight metal and a clear plastic cover may fit over the section that contains the fluorescent light tubes.


Chandeliers are glamorous types of ceiling lights that hang down. They contain multiple lights as well as decorative features such as tiny individual lampshades or many pieces of crystal. Crystal chandeliers are very opulent, bright and glittering, while wrought iron chandeliers are dark and often feature ornately curved metal. Pendant lights hang from a metal tube or other fixture rather than being attached directly to the ceiling. These can be hung in rows to create task lighting such as over a kitchen island or work area.

Track lighting features rows of lights that light up work spaces and each lamp fits into a metal track. Track ceiling lights are very flexible as each individual light may be directed to a certain area of the room. Track lighting can be an excellent choice for home offices and craft rooms.

Recessed lighting is usually mounted in groups of round lamps pushed up into the ceiling. This adds a softer light, as each lamp is flush with the ceiling and the lamps are spaced evenly apart. A wall of recessed ceiling lights can look especially attractive on an angled ceiling to create a focal point in a living room.


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