Lighting Low Ceilings; The Lowdown on the Best Lights for Shorter Heights
Rooms come in all shapes and sizes, and designing the lighting in rooms which have low ceilings can be as challenging – and as rewarding – as lighting up larger, loftier spaces. If you’re trying to effectively light up rooms with less height, whether it’s a cosy cottage, a modern attic conversion, a basement or extension, then you will find something useful in this guide.
While there is no formal minimum ceiling height (except above the stairs for safety reasons), the standard height of a ceiling in a newly built or renovated home is 240cm, with anything above 260cm considered to be a high ceiling. 210cm is the minimum recommended height for a ceiling, and any rooms which are around this height will require careful planning on how they are lit.
The biggest drawback of a low ceiling is that it can make the room feel small and tight, but there are some lighting tips and tricks used by interior experts and hobbyists the world over that help to remedy this and give the illusion of a taller, larger space. So what kinds of lights are most effective for low ceilings?
Which lights to choose?
Avoid Long Pendants (most of the time)
Pendants pose a particular problem for the vertically challenged room. Without much clearance above to hang, they can encroach too far into your usable space – and become a real headache for tall people. That said, most ceiling pendants are height adjustable, so if there’s a specific pendant design that you can’t find an alternative for, then you might be able to get away with a pendant light which has been installed with a short drop, especially pendants which are wider than they are tall, as per the example below.
Innermost PORTOBELLO Modern Ceiling Pendant Red Gloss
Does that mean that longer pendants can never be used with low ceilings? Not at all, there are some situations which are the exception to this rule and allow for a long pendant to be used without taking up usable space. This is usually over a piece of permanent furniture, such as a kitchen island, dining table, or bedside tables. Adding pendants in this way can extend the character of that part of the room by making it a floor to ceiling “unit” where the combination of these elements can create an effect stronger than the two can make separately.
Below, the interior designer has made clever use of a multi-functional space, whilst tying the theme together with the same lighting. The light over the dining table hangs much lower, while they have shortened it in the sitting area.
WOODSTOCK contemporary black ceiling pendant light - large
The big appeal of pendants comes from their stunning designs and variety – often being described as jewellery for the ceiling.
However, when it comes to general lighting, low ceilings don’t have to miss out on the best adornments as we offer a huge range of flush, semi-flush, and dual mount decorative lights to give class and style to even the most diminutive rooms. But which is right for you?
Flush and Semi Flush lights
Far from being a compromise to hanging lights, flush and semi-flush fittings can offer a huge array of designs and shapes which are not always achievable with pendants. Their presence can give the room a fundamentally different character, and they are often used in rooms even with higher ceilings for design reasons alone.
Flush lights have their main bulk flat against the ceiling and are usually the first place to look when working with ceilings that don’t afford much height. They generally have a larger “footprint” than other ceiling lights in order to match the same brightness and size without taking up much vertical space.
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