Types of Lighting Fixtures and How to Use Them in Your Home

Lighting fixtures are more than just about fluorescent versus LED or white versus warm. Aside from practical purposes — everybody needs their homes lighted properly, after all — choosing the right lighting fixtures can also serve aesthetic purposes that will bring some personality into your home.

Here’s a list of different lighting options you can choose from, depending on your practical lighting and decor needs.

Ceiling Fixtures

As the name implies, these lights are installed directly on the ceiling to provide ambient lighting, with plastic or glass covers to conceal the bulb. The covers are usually dome-shaped, and can either be frosted or colored to diffuse the light.

Where to use:

Ceiling fixtures can be used in any room in the house; the wattage of the bulb can simply be increased or decreased depending on the size of the room.


Chandeliers can also be considered as ceiling fixtures. With their height and often intricate designs, chandeliers instantly add drama to a room. Shades can be added to each individual bulb to direct the light up or down, or onto a specific area, depending on the homeowner’s or designer’s preference.

Where to use:

Bedrooms and foyers can benefit from the design impact of chandeliers. Smaller chandeliers can also bring a cozy atmosphere into dining rooms.

Pendant Lights

These lighting fixtures are also suspended from the ceiling, much like chandeliers. However, pendant lights usually only have one bulb at the end, which directs the light downwards.

Where to use:

Pendant lights are usually installed above dining tables, kitchen islands, and work or game tables. The downward-focused light can help provide ample ambient lighting in these relatively small areas. Switching the shades can also provide much-needed whimsy to a rather utilitarian design.

Track Lighting

These series of small lights, usually grouped in threes or more, can be installed on the wall or suspended on the ceiling. The individual bulbs can be focused on one or on different areas and can also be adjusted along the tracks, depending on the intended purpose.

Where to use:

Track lighting usually serves a “spotlight” to draw attention toward a specific feature of the house, like a painting or mantelpiece. These small lights can also serve as non-invasive night lights or as task lights in a home office or garage.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is installed above the ceiling with at least 6 inches of clearance above and at least 3 inches from the wall. Its opening is flushed with the ceiling as well, which is why proper insulation is also a must to ensure that no condensation will drip onto the fixture.

Where to use:

Recessed lighting provides a rather narrow band of light. If installed evenly spaced around the walls, it can provide ample ambient light in any room. Using low-intensity bulbs can provide mood lighting in bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.

Wall Lighting

Mounted to walls rather than the ceiling, these fixtures are also referred to as sconces. Often covered with shades, these lights are more of a design choice than a practical one.

Where to use:

Sconces can be used in smaller areas like a home office for task lighting. In place of bedside lamps, wall sconces can also be used in the bedroom for reading or mood lighting.

Floor and Table Lamps

These lighting fixtures are extremely versatile, with hundreds of styles and sizes. When used with a shade, these floor and table lamps usually diffuse and direct light downward, though higher-powered bulbs can extend the reach across a room. A specific kind of floor lamp called a torchiere directs its light upward, however.

Where to use:

Any room can benefit from floor or table lamps. They can be used as task lights, reading or writing for example, but can also be used to provide ambient light.

Some of these light fixtures are easy enough to install on your own. However, should you need professional assistance, you can call on the expert electricians at Handy Crew Services to have these lights installed safely and properly.

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