How to Choose Lighting for a High Ceiling - LightUp

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How to Choose Lighting for a High Ceiling

Published by Danielle Sherrer on Apr 17th 2024

Large rooms have their perks, but they have proven to be difficult when figuring out how to effectively light them since the ceilings are so tall. Furniture, artwork, and other decor are all as equally important as the lighting within a space. It is important to pick lighting that will make sure the room is well lit, but also has task and accent lighting in mind as well.

First, use design principles to divide your room into three sections. Light fixtures should be added to all three sections.

Design does not just apply to art like furniture and decor. Lighting is also an important element of design. In design, the rule of thirds is a common rule used. It works great when planning lighting as well. Lighting can be planned into three distinct "design levels." Those three levels include the top, the middle, and the bottom.

Adding lights to each layer will not only help light the room up but will accomplish ambient, accent, and task lighting as well. Ambient lighting is tackled within the top level. Lighting can include recessed cans, a ceiling fan or multiple ceiling fans, or other large lighting that hangs from the ceiling. Track lighting can also be used at the top level although it should not be used solely for ambient lighting. The middle layer is usually more of the accent lighting layer to highlight certain aspects of the room. Floor lamps, wall sconces, and pendants work well for this layer. The bottom layer is all about task lighting. Lighting for that layer includes table lamps, desk lamps, and maybe even step lights if there are stairs involved within the room.

Modern living room with high ceilings and cove lighting

You have the tall ceiling - Now is the time to hang that Chandelier or Large Pendant. Read on for more light ideas and options.

In smaller rooms, normally one or two fixtures hanging from the ceiling or installed flush mount to the ceiling is required to adequately light up the space. But, in a large room, there is so much space to have a large chandelier or multiple large pendants. Other options include a ceiling fan or numerous recessed lights. The sun is another great option that is not always considered. Natural lighting from skylights is a great way to open up a tell ceiling. High ceilings offer many options for ceiling lighting. When choosing lighting, it is always important for it to create an inviting atmosphere by considering the lumens of the fixture that will affect the brightness and the color temperature of the fixture or fixtures used.

If the large room is an open floor plan that serves as a living room, kitchen, and dining room, the rule of thirds can be used there as well. Pick three distinct lights for each of these areas as a great way to break up the space a little more. This helps clearly define each area of the room and its purpose.

Luxury room with tall ceiling and chandeliers


Recessed can lights can be both as ambient lighting and supplemental lighting.

Recessed lighting is a popular choice for many tall ceilings. They can be used not only on their own for a great source of ambient lighting but with a statement fixture or fixtures within the room to help supplement the ambient lighting. Dark spots do not make for the best lighting and recessed cans are a great way to get some of the best lighting out of a high ceiling height. There are numerous options and styles of recessed cans as well. Most options are also dimmable and can be used with compatible dimmers. Using a dimmer can adjust the lights to the brightness needed when used as supplemental lighting.

Read the article How to Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy Steps for more information. It also includes information about why LED bulbs are a great choice because they are energy efficient and have a long lifespan. Other key points are explained to help create a lighting plan for your next project using recessed lights.

Luxury bedroom with tall ceiling and recessed lights

High Ceilings in a Living Room or Kitchen? Consider installing track lighting.

Track lighting is a type of lighting fixture that consists of individual light heads that are mounted on a track. It is a flexible way to add lighting to any space as the lights can be positioned in any direction and the track can be cut to fit any size space. Track lighting makes the perfect accent lighting within a kitchen or living room.

Track lighting is an easy way to aim light in different directions within a room to help light up the room. Track lighting should not be the entire lighting design of a room though. The rule of thirds should still be in play when using track lighting as one of many fixtures to light a tall ceiling. Track lighting is used in many commercial applications to highlight certain areas or features indoors. This can work within your home too if there are textures or architectural features that you want highlighted. Washing or grazing walls with light is another common use of track lighting. This helps eliminate shadows.

Add additional lighting to highlight architecture.

Highlighting architecture to draw the eye to it is a great idea. Display shelves or glass cabinets can utilize tape lighting to highlight the items displayed. Other accent fixtures like rope lights and puck lights are easy solutions that do not take much labor or effort to install.

Which light fixtures work fantastic with taller ceiling?

When it comes to lighting fixtures for high ceilings, it's important to find a fixture that won't get lost in the space. Chandeliers, pendants, and recessed can lights are all excellent choices for illuminating high ceilings. These fixtures come in a variety of sizes and designs, so you can find the perfect one to complement your space. Many fixtures are dimmable and can be used with compatible dimmer switches to adjust the atmosphere of the room. The lumens of the fixtures chosen should also be considered. There should be enough lumens that the room is bright enough.

What type/kind of lighting is the best for high ceilings?

When it comes to lighting for high ceilings, it is important to choose the right type of lighting that will provide the right amount of light for the space. There are a few different types of lighting that are well-suited for high ceilings. These include recessed lighting, pendant or chandelier lighting, and track lighting. Each type of lighting has its own unique benefits and will provide a different effect in the space.

Other types of lights should also be included when considering lighting a kitchen or other area with a tall ceiling. Lighting for task and accent lighting is just as important. In a kitchen, there may be puck lights, tape lights or undercabinet lights installed as task lighting and smaller pendants installed for accent lighting in addition to the ceiling lighting.

Are LED lights and lamps the best option?

When it comes to lighting for high ceilings, LED lights and lamps are often the best option. LED lights offer bright, efficient lighting that is perfect for large spaces with high ceilings. They are also available in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors, making them easy to customize for any space. Additionally, LED lights are energy-efficient and cost-effective, which makes them a great choice for high ceiling lighting.