21 Different Types of Light Fixtures

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Find out the best way to stylishly illuminate the different rooms in your home by getting to know the different types of light fixtures that vary in style and features. Blend function and aesthetic features to make your room look lit.

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Retro-style home office and living room with pink walls, framed art, pendant vintage lights, floor lamp, and sofa.

Refurbishing your home with the right lighting fixtures is the best way not just to illuminate but also to set the tone of your room. The choices can be overwhelming so choose according to the design elements and functions of each room.

You can mix and match lighting fixtures by layering, choosing a focal point, coordinating the overall feel in an open floor plan, and mixing two to four finishes. Most importantly, don’t choose a lighting fixture just because it looks great. Keep in mind the lighting needs of your room and be sure to pick one that serves that purpose as well.

Lighting Type

Ambient Lighting

Living room with sputnik chandelier, floor lamp, and table lamp with soft glow lighting.

Also known as general lighting, ambient lighting is one of the most common and popular types of lighting, and for good reason. It is used to create a soft glow throughout your space so that you have the light that you need in your home or office. It is generally a very soft light so that you don’t have to deal with any glares in your home. It’s important to make sure that your room is evenly lit, and ambient light is perfect for that.

While it won’t make it easy for you to focus closely on a task that you are working on or to see the fine print, ambient lighting is important to illuminate a room so that you can safely find your way through space. It’s normal for people to start illuminating their space with ambient lighting and then to add additional lighting as they see fit, as this ensures that they can see what they are doing and that they are able to create the right atmosphere in their home or office.

Task Lighting

Floor lamp beside a sofa for task lighting.

Once you have enough ambient light in your space that you can easily see and move around your room, you will want to add task lighting so that you can focus on work. This is a much smaller and more concentrated source of light and will often be adjusted so that it is shining right on the project you are working on so that you can easily see it. Task lighting is ideal in an office, if you are going to be reading or writing, or if you are working on a handicraft, such as sewing.

It’s a good idea to make sure that you choose task lighting that will be a contrasting light to the ambient light in your room. While you may think that brighter is better in both cases, task lighting works best when the ambient lighting is softer and the task lighting is brighter. This will result in much less glare and make it easier for you to see what you are working on without hurting your eyes.

Accent Lighting

Exterior home accent lighting

When you want to have incredibly concentrated light in your space so that you can draw someone’s attention to a specific area of your room, then you need to make sure that you invest in accent lighting. This is a great way to add drama to your home and to highlight a specific area, whether that is an architectural detail or a piece of art. You will be able to cast a light on a specific area, illuminating it, while also creating shadows in other areas of your room, which will result in a very dramatic effect.

Accent lighting can be used both indoors and outdoors, and when used outside, it can be a great way to highlight areas of your home or your garden that you are particularly proud of. When you use accent lighting correctly, you will be able to make a certain part of your home feel a lot more important than other parts of your space, and this will draw attention and focus from others.

Fixture Type

Desk Lamp

Desk lamps on wooden desk beside an indoor plant and stacks for paper.

As any student or employee knows, having the right amount of light at the desk is imperative if you are going to be able to see what you are doing and do a good job on your project. A desk lamp is a great way to get the focused light that you need so that you can stay on task. They generally are easy to move so that you can swing the arm around if you need to illuminate a different area of your desk, making it easy to see exactly what you are working on. When you choose a desk lamp, you will want to make sure that you use a bright bulb so that the light doesn’t have to compete too much with the general lighting in your space.

Table Lamp

Table lamp on bedside table.

Table lamps add both light and visual interest to your home, which is why when you are shopping for one, you will want to take your time to choose one that will fit with the décor in the rest of your space. These lamps often have shades that can be removed or changed so that you can make sure that you love the way it looks in your home, and they are designed to fit nicely on a table in your home without taking up too much room.

They are ideal if you are going to be sitting by the sofa table reading or if you want to illuminate a darker corner in your room without having to install additional lighting. When shopping for a table lamp, remember that the appearance of the base of the lamp is something to consider, as you can change the shade, but you can’t as easily update or change the base of the lamp.

Wall Lamp

Wall lamp on wooden walls.

While these light fixtures may look similar to a sconce or other wall light, they have one major benefit that will set them apart from other types of light fixtures on the market, and that’s that they will swing out or angle so that you can easily adjust where the light will go. This makes it easy to either pull the wall lamp towards you when you need additional light or to turn it so that it is angled and correctly illuminating the item that you want to look at. They are great to have by your bed so that you can read in bed without having to have the ceiling light on, and they are also ideal in a very small office if you don’t have room for a floor lamp, but you still want to have enough light to see the project you are working on.

Floor Lamp

Floor lamp beside a sofa in a room with brick walls.

A floor lamp is an attractive way to add a lot more light to your home and will allow you to improve how well you can see when you are working on a project. One of the reasons that so many people love floor lamps is their heavy base. Thanks to this large and heavy base, you don’t have to worry very much about the lamp being knocked down or pulled over, which is great if you have rambunctious children or pets in your home. Another great reason to consider a floor lamp is that you can tuck them behind furniture in your living space and still get the additional light that you need without having to devote space on a table to a lamp.

Chandelier

Chandelier on coffered ceiling.

In terms of general lighting, a chandelier is one of the most breathtaking choices that are available on the market. When you opt for a chandelier in your home, you are getting much more than simply a source of light – you are getting a statement piece that is sure to attract a lot of attention from visitors to your home. Because chandeliers are available in so many sizes, styles, and out of so many different materials, it is generally fairly easy to find one that will look great in your space and provide you the visual interest that you want from your lighting.

One thing to consider about your chandelier is how well it fits with the rest of the décor in your home, as it is likely to be the first thing that people notice when they step into your room. Chandeliers are often installed over a dining room table, although they can be breathtaking when used in other rooms of the home, as well.

Floodlight

Bathroom Vanity Lights

Wall lamps serve as bathroom vanity lights.

It’s important that you have enough light in the bathroom that you can easily see what you are doing, no matter whether you are putting on makeup for the day or getting ready for bed. It’s a good idea to install ample lighting in your bathroom, and one of the best ways to do that is to install vanity lights over the top of your mirror. These lights will illuminate your vanity and allow you to easily see yourself in the mirror so that you don’t have any problems getting ready.

When choosing vanity lights for your bathroom, you will want to take into consideration the size of your mirror and choose lights that are large enough that they do not look out of place. Very small bathroom vanity lights will look strange when paired with a large vanity mirror, and the opposite is true, as well.

Pendant

A trio of pendant lights hang above a dining table.

Pendant lights are a fun way to add additional light to your home and to enjoy an attractive fixture. These lights are most commonly used over an island or bar in your kitchen, or they are designed to hang in a group over your table. While they are not usually as ornate as a chandelier is, they are still very attractive and will add beauty and light to your space. If you have a large area to illuminate, then you will either want to purchase multiple pendant lights to hang in a row or opt for a larger fixture that has multiple bulbs. Either choice will be sure to provide you with the amount of light that you need to be able to easily see what you are working on or eating.

Recessed Light

Open-concept kitchen with recessed lights, stainless steel appliances, and an island.

These lights are actually installed above the ceiling and are flush with the ceiling itself. This type of light isn’t ideal in every home, and it can’t be installed in some ceilings if they do not offer the required clearance to correctly install the light.

When installing recessed lights in your home, you need to make sure that they are correctly insulated so that there isn’t any condensation that drips into the fixture, which can not only ruin the fixture but also cause a dangerous situation. Recessed lighting doesn’t brighten up your entire space, but rather will send a narrow band of light to one area of your room. For this reason, it is normal to install multiple recessed lights in the same area of your home.

Sconce

Gilded oval mirror flanked between a pair of gilded candle-style wall sconces.

This lighting fixture is mounted directly to the wall, and sconce lights are common both inside and outside of the home. They are able to direct light either down or up, and homeowners love to look for shades that will add a lot of drama or style to the room. They are often used around a piece of art to draw attention to it, around the front door on your porch, or by the mirror in your bathroom.

Additionally, many people love installing sconces on either side of the master bed, as this is a great way to light up the bedroom and provide you with the light that you desire when you want to read in bed before falling asleep. They come in many sizes and designs, making finding the right one for your home relatively easy.

Track Lighting

Track lighting

While not as popular a light fixture as it was in the past, track lighting is still a great way to add a lot of light to your space without much work. Track lighting consists of a linear housing that holds multiple different heads that can be adjusted or moved in order to direct your light wherever you want it to go in your room.

They are ideal for use as accent lighting, as you can turn all of the light heads to the same direction to really draw attention to an area in your room or focus them in different areas to highlight a few objects. One important thing to consider when you install track lighting is to put them on a dimmer switch, as this makes it very easy to add a lot of drama to your space by turning up or down how bright they are.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Eat-in kitchen with wood flat panel cabinetry, under-cabinet lighting, and peninsula breakfast bar.

It can be very difficult to make sure that you have ample light when you are working in the kitchen, especially if you are worried about whether or not you will accidentally cut yourself with a knife or be able to accurately read the recipe. To ensure that you can easily see what you are doing, it’s time to stop relying on your ceiling light and install under-cabinet lighting in your space. This is a great way to illuminate the entire countertop, which will ensure that you can easily see what you are working on, no matter what time of the day or night you decide to cook.

Ceiling Fan

Tropical style ceiling fan light combo

One concern that many homeowners have when installing new light fixtures in their home is whether or not the fixture will help provide double duty and keep them comfortable, while also supplying them with the light that they need. A ceiling fan with a built-in light is a great way to ensure that your light meets your needs, that you can see what you are doing, and that you are comfortable.

Look for a ceiling fan that doesn’t just match the color scheme of your home or room, but that also provides ample light. You can rely on your ceiling fan for most of the ambient light in your space, but only when you choose one that has large or multiple bulbs.

Pool Table Lights

Pendant lights shine on the pool table.

Made specifically to go over your pool table so that the whole table is evenly illuminated and you can see exactly where your balls are and how to line up your shot, these light fixtures are indispensable if you are serious about the game. While some pool table owners attempt to use pendant lighting over their pool tables, these tend to cast shadows and can make it difficult for you to see what you are doing. The best way to have complete control over the game and your shots is to opt for a light fixture that is designed specifically for this purpose, as it will be large enough and designed to cast light in the right places on your pool table.

Feature

Built-In USB Port

Table lamp with built-in USB port on wooden side table.

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It’s very normal for a family to run out of USB ports in their home and to become frustrated when they don’t have a place where they can charge their tablet or smartphone. Rather than having to move your phone to an entirely different room when it needs to be charged when you choose a light fixture that has a built-in USB port, you will be able to charge your electronics right there. This makes it much more convenient to ensure that everything is powered up and ready to be used at all times.

Solar

Solar floral light

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If you want outdoor lighting at your home, but you don’t want to have to worry about how you are going to run the necessary electricity to the fixtures, then it’s a good idea to consider installing solar-powered lights. These lights rely on the sun to charge so that they can illuminate your space, and they come in options from spotlights to post lights. One thing to consider before spending the money to buy and install new solar lights is how much sunlight your home gets on a daily basis.

If you have a very shaded yard, then it is likely that you won’t be very impressed with how bright your solar lights are. In this case, you may be better off trying to run electricity to your light. On the other hand, if you don’t have a lot of trees around your home and your yard gets a lot of sunlight, then solar lights may be a great way to illuminate spaces in your yard at night without worrying about increasing your electricity bill.

Vintage

Different styles of vintage lights.

A vintage light is a great way to carry a décor theme through your home if you have a barn, rustic, or cabin theme. The important thing to remember when you decide to use a vintage light in your home is that you need to make sure that the wiring is all safe and up-to-date. The last thing that you want to do is buy and use a vintage light, only to find out that there was faulty wiring and you have put your home and your family at risk. Being careful when purchasing a vintage light and then paying to have it rewired isn’t a bad idea, as this is a great way to mitigate the risk of faulty wiring.

Dimmable

Table lamp with dimmable feature.

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Being able to control how much light your new fixture releases will ensure that your room is always as bright or dark as you want. Dimmable light fixtures are ideal in a number of situations, including creating ambiance in your space, being able to dim lights in order to help the family relax and get ready for bed, or not waking up your child in the middle of the night when you go to check on them. When you buy a dimmable light fixture, you can be certain that you will always have complete control over how bright it is in your room.

Sloped Ceiling Adaptable

Pendant light that's sloped-ceiling adaptable

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One problem that many people run into when they are going to be installing a pendant light or a chandelier is that if their ceiling is sloped, it is impossible to install it correctly. This is a problem that you can easily avoid when you buy a light fixture that is sloped ceiling adaptable. This means that you can install the fixture on a sloped ceiling without it negatively affecting the way the fixture is going to hang or look.





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