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How to Choose the Perfect Close to Ceiling Light Fixture, in less than 5 minutes – Guaranteed!

Flush Mount or Semi-Flush Mount lights are likely the most common lighting fixtures in your home. They are versatile, don’t require much space, and are available in a multitude of styles and finishes. Close-to-ceiling lights are natural choices for closets, hallways, and small rooms. Just because you don’t have the space for a large, elaborate light fixture, doesn’t mean you have to settle for plain, boring lights. So how do you pick the perfect ceiling light? Follow these easy steps:

When to use Close to the Ceiling Lighting

• For ceiling heights of 8’ or less where people walk underneath the light, you don’t have much choice other than a Flush Mount ceiling light
• If you need general illumination (sometimes called “ambient light”) Flush or semi-flush are good choices to brighten an entire room.
• Close-to ceiling lights are perfect for lighting closets, bedrooms, hallways, entry ways and bathrooms
• Adventurous designers are picking semi-flush fixtures for dining areas too. Just be sure you are getting at least 300 watts of light and the styling is distinctive. Never pick a functional or boring light for a prime location.

When NOT to use Close to the Ceiling Lighting

• If you need to focus the light to highlight your room’s artistic features, instead of ambient light, designers recommend recessed lighting or even track lighting.
• If your ceiling isn't wired for a light fixture, you can hire an electrician, or instead choose a Table Lamp or a Floor Lamp.
• If you would like to also move air, consider a ceiling fans with lights, especially above your bed to make sleeping more comfortable during the dog days of summer.
• Task lighting in the kitchen or above a bar is normally left to pendants or recessed lights. Task lighting in your home office best handled with a desk lamp
• For a large room with higher ceilings, consider a larger fixture like a chandelier which provides both more light and a focal point to your room.Determine the height

Flush vs. Semi Flush Lighting

Once you have decided a close to the ceiling light is the right pick, you can save time if you can eliminate half the options by knowing if you need a Flush Mount or Semi-Flush. A flush mount naturally sits directly on the ceiling, while a semi-flush hangs down several inches, leaving airspace between the ceiling and the fixture. Based on your ceiling height, you may be limited in what fixture you can install:

• For low ceilings (below 8'), you will want to pick a flush mount light fixture. (If you will ALWAYS have a table or counter below the light, you can choose a semi-flush or even a chandelier)
• For ceiling heights of 9' to 10'), consider a semi flush mount light. Most hang less than a foot from the ceiling.
• For over 10' ceilings, you should consider chandeliers or pendants.
• A flush light fixtures work best in hallways, closets, bedrooms, or bathrooms.
• A semi-flush light fixture adds a nice touch to a kitchen nook or a smaller low-ceiling dining room.
 15" Notting Hill Ceiling Mount Light Chrome L9905-CH   1-Light Flush Mount Fixture Old World Etruscan Glass 3508-11-95  14" 2-Light Energy Star Etched Ribbed Glass Flushmount Brushed Nickel P3765-09STRWB  14" Merritt 2-Light Flush Mount Black FM358BK
 Loft 3-Light Semi-Flush Fixtures Burnished Bronze 3923BB-479  Fireside Semi Flush Mount Bolivian Finish 204-78   Beau Jardin  Semi-flush Mount Rose Gold 5400-SFRG   Hidalgo 2-Light Semi-Flush Sovereign Bronze 1051SFSBZ 

Size Matters

The 2 factors to consider when sizing up your semi-flush or flush ceiling light are the:

1. Width of the fixture – To select the fixture size that will feel right in your room, start with this rule of thumb. Add together the width and length of the room in feet. Then convert this sum to inches. This is the approximate width of the ceiling light fixture you need. Like all rules, this one doesn’t apply to every situation, so don’t get too hung up on hitting an exact number.

2. Amount of light provided. Recall Ceiling lights provide ambient light. To find proper ambient lighting for a room, multiply the room dimensions to get your total square footage (12’ x 14’ = 168’). Then multiply the square footage by 1.5 for total watts of illumination needed (168’ x 1.5 = 252 watts

Designer Tip – If you think you need more light than a normal fixture provides, consider a light that accepts CFL bulbs. These efficient blubs work well with Flush mount lights and can boost light output up to 4 times. (For example, a fixture with 2 40 watt incandescent bulbs gives 80 watts of light. But if you switch to 2 x 40 watt CFL bulbs, you get the equivalent light of a 300 watts, increasing your output by almost 400%!)

What’s Your Style?

Hang in there, we are almost done. One critical decision remains. What STYLE best fits your personality? The old options of traditional or contemporary or Transitional (whatever that means) just don’t fit anymore. So we have sorted our ceiling lighting into 11 distinct categories. Explore the ones that are pinterest-worthy.

Formal Styles



Shop Crystal Flush Mounts  Shop Traditional Flush Mounts  Shop European Flush Mounts
Shop all Crystal Semi-Flush  Shop all Traditional Semi-Flush  Shop all European Semi-Flush 

Modern Tastes



Shop Casual Flush Mounts Shop Contemporary Flush Mounts Shop Mission Flush Mounts
Shop all Casual Semi-Flush  Shop Contemporary Semi-Flush Shop Mission Semi-Flush 

Theme Styles

Art Lights


Art Lights Flush Mounts Products  Shop Industrial Flush Mounts  Restoration Flush Mounts
Art Lights Semi-Flush Products  Restoration Semi-Flush 
Lighting Products & Fixtures 
Tropical Lighting &
Shop All Tiffany Semi-Flush Fixtures Products  Attractive Tropical Semi-Flush Products 

With so many options available to you finding the perfect semi-flush or flush ceiling light to fit in with your current interior décor is within your reach.

Matchy Match or Blended?

• If your room has additional light fixtures, you should always consider buying lights from the same collection. Yes, look at them, but please don’t feel locked in to only these options. Designers today are not constrained by only choosing “Matchy-Matchy” options. Blending is in. Think outside the box a bit and try to blend different looks together. If you need a second opinion, just call or chat with one of our lighting pros. We love to help creative thinking customers!

Insider Tips & Trends

• LED and Xenon ceiling fixtures push the style envelope and create lights that will stun your guests.
• Energy Star close mount lights can significantly lower your utility bill and boost your light output.
• Fabric shades are back. Check out the new styles.

Choosing the right semi-flush or flush ceiling light should be determined by your own personal taste and style. Trust your gut and first impression. You know what you like and what makes you feel good.

Choosing the Right Light Bulb in your Flush Mount Light

Ideally, low wattage bulbs are used in flush mount lights or Semi Flush mount lighting because otherwise the fixture could over heat, given the closed nature of flush mount lights. Be careful not to exceed the maximum wattage shown on the label. Helpful Tip: If you need more light than the maximum wattage allows, consider using a high lumen CFL bulb. A 27 watt CFL gives you the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent. Incase, flush mount lighting is used outdoors, a fixture every 8-10 feet will provide safe light for walking.

Easy Maintenance of your Flush Mount Fixture

Cleaning, maintaining and installing bulbs in flush mount lighting are an easy process. It usually requires one to:

• Unscrew the center bolt.
• Remove the bowl and clean or install bulbs.
• Restore bowl and screw it back in position

Flush mount lighting is available in a variety of finishes and styles. Some interesting types include:

Silver & Pewter Flush Mounts
Brown Flush Mount Fixtures
Dark Flush Mount Fixtures
Cream & Light Flush Mounts
Modular Flush Mounts
Crystal Flush Mounts
Tiffany & Art-Glass Flush Mounts
Ceiling Track Flush Mounts Lighting

Slider Hallway Lighting Inspiration Gallery
Closet Lighting Inspiration Gallerycloset gallery

Steve Brielmaier – Lighting and Lamp Design  


Blog    Tips    Lighting Galleries    Seniors

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