Flush & Semi-Flush Basics in How-To's & Tips
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 fan 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.
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