Ceiling Light Buying Guide

Quick calculations will help determine the right size ceiling light for you.

Placement guidelines take the guesswork out of hanging the light.

Consider the other layers of light before determing the wattage.

♦ Selecting the right size ceiling light is critical to achieving a well-designed space.

♦ To find the width of the ceiling light, use this easy calculation:

  1. 1.  Measure the length and width of the room in feet.
  1. 2.  Add the numbers together.
  2. 3.  Convert the feet to inches to get the desirable width of the ceiling light.

♦ To determine the desirable height of the fixtures, follow these steps:

  1. 1.  Measure the height of the room (floor to ceiling) in feet. 
  1. 2.  Multiply the height by 2.5″-3″ per foot. 
  2. 3.  Convert the number into inches for the desirable height of the ceiling light.

♦ As a general rule of thumb, a light should hang 28″ to 32″ over a table. Make sure to center it and leave equal space on all sides of the light for optimal balance.

♦ When hanging a light in places such as foyers, hallways and living rooms, where people could be walking underneath, be sure to keep a 7 foot clearance from the bottom of the fixture to the floor. 

♦ Pay attention to down rod length. Most fixtures come with a few different sizes to be used in a variety of instances.

♦ If the ceiling light is going to be a main light source in the room, consider the light output or think about adding additional layers of light to your space. 

♦ To determine how many watts you need, use this simple calculation:

Room Length x Room Width x 1.5 = Wattage needed to light up a room.

♦ Fixtures that are more decorative than functional will typically have a lower light output, so supplement the space with other light sources like recessed or track lighting.

For more information on selecting the right size ceiling light, visit our Ceiling Light Size Guide.

- Erin Davis of Mosaik Design & Remodeling

Guide to Different Types of Ceiling Light Fixtures


♦ Typically have several light sources (or bulbs)


  • ♦ Serve as the focal point of a room


  • ♦ Can be centered over a bed, dining table, seating area or in an entry way


  • ♦ Can add an element of art and sparkle to a room
  • ♦ Similar to chandeliers but typically have one light source


  • ♦ Ideal for over a kitchen island, bar or small breakfast nook


  • ♦ Great for providing functional, task lighting while adding elements of style


  • ♦ Small pendants are often arranged as a group, while a larger pendant can stand on it’s own
  • ♦ The best option for small spaces and low ceilings


  • ♦ Great for closets, hallways and foyers


  • ♦ Average size is about 13 inches wide


  • Can provide general, ambient lighting to a space
  • ♦ A cross between a pendant and a flush mount


  • ♦ Suspended only a few inches from the ceiling, making them great for spaces with short ceilings


  • ♦ Ideal for providing overall illumination to a space


  • ♦ Perfect for kitchens, entryways and hallways


  • ♦ Great option for functional and general lighting


  • ♦ Commonly used as spotlights to highlight artwork or wall art


  • ♦ Should be used to supplement decorative lighting with overall illumination


  • ♦ Available in a variety of colors, styles and light sources including incandescent, CFL and energy efficient LED
  • ♦ Can be used in any room to provide general lighting and overall ambiance


  • ♦ Unobtrusive and compact size


  • ♦ Works well in showers, kitchens and family rooms


  • ♦ Available in a variety of trim and housing options


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