How to Light a Room With Low Ceilings

When leafing through design magazines or browsing Pinterest or Instagram, it’s easy to feel like everyone lives in a home with high ceilings. While homes are increasingly being built with higher ceilings, the majority of them don’t top the standard ceiling height of eight feet.

Choosing lighting for a room with a low ceiling can seem challenging at first, but a bright, open feeling is totally achievable. Knowing the right type of light fixtures for low ceilings can create a dramatic effect in any room.

Guidelines for Lighting in Rooms with Low Ceilings

Begin by painting or repainting the ceiling a fresh, crisp white. A higher-sheen paint provides a reflective surface that bounces light around the room and makes it feel brighter. Then keep these guidelines in mind to ensure the ceiling lighting is placed correctly in the room.

  1. Generally, a light should be hung so that its lowest point is approximately 6’8” above the floor. This gives plenty of clearance to people to walk through the room without hitting their heads. When a ceiling is eight feet high, this leaves only 16” of height to work with for lighting.
  2. Look for a light that is large in diameter or width but not too high, to create a dramatic look without overpowering the space.

Pendants for Low Ceilings

Pendants are not impossible for low ceilings, but there are some things to consider, such as where the light will be hung. When the ceiling is only eight feet high, any hanging lighting, such as a pendant, will need to be over a space where no one walks. This means a kitchen island, sink or bar, dining table, or coffee table are your best bets.

Designed by @andreawestdesign

Alden 18 Inch Large Pendant by Savoy House

One reason why pendants are becoming a popular choice for kitchen lighting just might be how great they work with low ceilings. The warm bronze finish on this pair of Alden 18 Inch Large Pendant by Savoy House offers comfortable elegance perfect for the striking black and white colors in this kitchen. The adjustable hanging chain keeps them at the ideal height while the shade design concentrates light downward to provide task lighting.

Designed by @summit_drive_design

Alexa Hampton Markos 26 Inch Large Pendant by Visual Comfort and Co.

Another essential thing to consider is the scale of the lighting in relation to the space. Wider is better than taller when working with a low ceiling. Look for compact designs such as the Alexa Hampton Markos 26 Inch Large Pendant by Visual Comfort and Co. that can sit comfortably above a dining table or bed. This lovely chandelier is putting the finishing touch on the sweet bedroom above.

Dramatic Flush Mounts for Low Ceilings

With their low profiles, flush mounts are the quintessential lighting for low ceilings, but they often bring to mind half-dome lights that do nothing for the design of a room. However, there is a whole new world of flush mount lighting out there these days. There are so many stunning styles that it is easier than ever to find ones that bring the wow factor into rooms with low ceilings.

Designed by @mollypattondesign

Aerin Liscia 25 Inch 6 Light Flush Mount by Visual Comfort and Co.

Just because lighting needs to be functional doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Many flush-mounted lights look just like chandeliers, making them outstanding additions to low-ceilinged living rooms. The Aerin Liscia 25 Inch 6 Light Flush Mount by Visual Comfort and Co. brings on the bling and so much more in the boho space above. Taking its cues from the style of crystal chandeliers, this lighting offers sparkle and opulence in its compact, rounded shape. This is an excellent example of how gorgeous lighting is possible, even with height constraints.

Designed by @happyhivedesign

Lettie 14 Inch 1 Light LED Flush Mount by Hudson Valley Lighting

According to Tobie Earley and Morgan Wishnew @happyhivedesign, the biggest challenge when lighting a room with a low ceiling is “Dark spots and ensuring you don’t wind up creating a spotlight.” To avoid this “use a fixture that spreads light, whether it is linear, tapered, or something with arms.”

The Lettie 14 Inch 1 Light LED Flush Mount by Hudson Valley Lighting is a great choice for a hallway, small entryway, or breakfast nook. The aged brass finish and demi-glass shade is a fresh update to traditional flush-mounted lighting. Spun metal swerves out in a funnel shape, adding interest to the simple, clean lines of the shade. At 13.25 inches, this light will fit in almost any space.

@heirloomandivy

Somerset 11 Inch 1 Light Semi Flush Mount by Hinkley Lighting

This living and play area is a good example of a room with a low ceiling that cannot take a large lighting fixture. The simple elegance of the Somerset 11 Inch 1 Light Semi Flush Mount by Hinkley Lighting is just right for this space, subtly fusing vintage and modern appeal. Its close-to-the-ceiling style offers drama without taking over the space.

Designed by @wilkonsonsupplyco

Allure 13 Inch 2 Light Flush Mount by Troy Lighting

The laundry room may be the most neglected space in the house, but a little love from stylish lighting can make laundry less of a chore. The Allure 13 Inch 2 Light Flush Mount by Troy Lighting does just that in the laundry room above. Its gold leaf shade and white opal glass are the perfect mix of form and function.

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