Contemporary Ceiling Lights & Pendant Lighting
Essential light fixtures for providing overhead ambient lighting, ceiling lights are some of the most effective light fixtures for illuminating large spaces all at once. They can range from simple and unobtrusive to elegant and decorative, and can establish a visceral atmosphere in any space. There are several different types of ceiling light fixture to choose from, but most ceiling lamps wire directly into your home’s electrical system, so they require professional installation.
For all your lighting needs, shop contemporary ceiling lights and contemporary pendant lighting at HAY. Or meet designers Inga Sempe and Ana Kras to learn more about the creation of bestselling lighting solutions at HAY.
Contemporary Ceiling Light Types
The primary difference between ceiling light types is in the distance they hang from the ceiling.
Recessed Ceiling Lights: Recessed lighting fixtures install directly into the ceiling, with no overhang. They’re some of the least decorative but most effective ceiling lights, as they have the highest position of all the ceiling light types. Recessed ceiling lights make great living room ceiling lighting if your living room has high ceilings.
Flush-Mount Ceiling Lights: Flush-mount ceiling lights mount so their lamp shades are flush against the ceiling, so none of the light’s wiring or hardware is visible. These ceiling lights are subtle but still decorative, and can be a great option if you’d like elegant but understated ceiling lights.
Semi-Flush-Mount Ceiling Lights: In comparison, only one component of a semi-flush-mount ceiling light mounts flush against the ceiling, most often the light’s canopy or back plate, rather than the lampshade. The lampshade on a semi-flush-mount ceiling light fixture typically protrudes a bit lower than a flush-mount ceiling light’s; semi-flush-mount ceiling lights are an even more noticeable and decorative option.
Pendant Lighting: Pendant lights are also called hanging lights or hanging ceiling lights because they hang much further from the ceiling than the other ceiling light options, either on a cord, chain, or rod. They hold one light bulb sheathed inside a lampshade or diffuser.
Because they hang low and are such visible fixtures, pendant lights typically have decorative lampshades or diffusers, which can be made of glass, metal, paper, or other unique materials, like yarn. Contemporary pendant lighting includes glass pendant lights, like HAY’s Pao Glass LED Pendant, lantern pendant lights, like HAY’s Rice Paper Shade, and bubble pendant lights, like those in HAY’s assortment of Nelson Pendant Lamps. For a unique contemporary pendant lighting solution, consider the handmade yarn lampshades in HAY’s Bonbon Shade Collection.
Chandeliers: Chandeliers are also decorative hanging lights designed to be central focal points in a space, like pendant lights; however, instead of holding just a single bulb, chandeliers typically feature multiple light bulbs. Traditionally, chandeliers are grand and ornate, made with glittering crystal and polished metal. Nowadays, chandeliers can range in style from traditionally ornate to contemporary minimalist.
How to Choose Contemporary Ceiling Light Fixtures
Because ceiling lights and pendant lights wire directly into your home’s electrical system, they require pre-installed electrical boxes for placement in your home. If your home already has electric boxes for ceiling lights installed, the placement of your ceiling light fixtures will be predetermined by the locations of those boxes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still choose what types of light fixtures to install.
If you’re interested in effective, wide-reaching overhead lighting, recessed ceiling lights are the ceiling light fixtures to go with. But if you’d like your ceiling lights to have more visual intrigue, consider a flush- or semi-flush-mount ceiling light with a compelling lampshade or diffuser. These are particularly impactful in the center of an entryway or hallway ceiling, and can also make great bedroom, living room, or dining room lights if you have low ceilings.
Pendant lights are ideal as central bedroom, living room, or dining room lights if your spaces have high ceilings, as they can instantly establish a focal point. Pendant lights with downturned glass, metal, or fabric shades make excellent kitchen island pendant lighting solutions, as the downturned shade will direct a focused beam of task lighting at the area directly beneath it. Glass pendant lights with globe pendant diffusers or paper lantern pendant lights are better as atmospheric dining room or living room lights as they provide softer ambient lighting.