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How to Choose Ceiling Lights

Flush mount ceiling lights are a simple go-to lighting design for those occasions when you don't have a lot of headroom or you want a lighting option that fits a more conservative profile. For these reasons, they're well-suited for almost any location.

What's the Difference

If you are wondering what the difference between flush mount ceiling lights and semi flush lights are, it is really very simple. Flush ceiling lights attach directly to the ceiling, with no gap. Semi-flush lights use a stem or other piece to create a gap between the light and the ceiling. Deciding which one is best for your room really depends on how much space you have. If you have 7 foot ceilings and a 6’5” member of your family, a semi-flush light will probably hang too low. If you have taller ceilings, semi-flush lights can fill in some extra space. For a slimmer profile, install a flush ceiling light.

Flush Mount Style

Flush mount ceiling lights are often used in bathrooms, kitchens and on porches, but the style is as versatile as you want it to be. Any room can be complemented by a flush mount light, whether in a contemporary, transitional or traditional interior design scheme, or something unique like a tropical or rustic look.

Finishes and Shade Colors

Flush mount lights come in a wide array of finishes and you can choose to pair it with your existing décor or set it apart. You may find, however, that the low profile of flush mounts makes them better suited to blending in with the background and popular finishes like bronze, nickel, chrome and white make it easy.

Finish is important, but what really separates flush mount styles are the shades. As the most dominant part of the fixture, the shade will often play a bigger role in defining the look and brightness of the space. Frosted or colored shades can diffuse the light, while white or clear shades will allow it to shine through.

Flush Mount Sizes

Flush mount lights are a favorite for spaces that don't have a lot of headroom, but could still use some overhead lighting. For really tight spaces, you can opt for a fixture that has a height profile as slim as one or two inches, although your selection will widen if you can find the right fit in a style that can come off the ceiling at least four inches.

The most popular height range for flush mounts is between five and nine inches, which is a size that will accommodate most common spaces. This is where you'll find the most variety when it comes to shade styles and designs.

You can also shop by using the flush mount ceiling light's diameter. The most popular designs can range anywhere from a few inches to up to 19 inches and may come in circular, square or rectangular shapes.

Next you will want to make sure the fixture that you purchase will provide enough light for the space. While there is no specific rule for calculating the necessary amount of space for a room, there is a general rule to follow. First, measure the length and width of your room. Multiply these two numbers, then multiply by 1.5. This will give you the approximate amount of watts you need to provide enough general illumination for the room.


Most ceiling fixtures will fit into standard electrical outlet boxes and are fairly basic to install. If you have an electrical box in place already, you will be able to install your new light directly onto it. If not, you will probably need to hire a professional to install one for you.

First and foremost, be sure to turn off the electricity before you start removing or installing new lights. Connect the fixture to the fixture stud, found in the middle of the electrical box, or attach the fixture strap. Connect white wires to white wires, black to black and copper to copper. Insulate wires and make sure they are securely connected. Then attach the outer casing. Follow the specific directions supplied with your product or hire a professional to help if you have any doubts or questions.

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