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Posts Tagged: Lighting for tall ceilings

Lighting a Room with Tall Ceilings

Home built by Seven Custom Homes

Home built by Seven Custom Homes

Many of today’s homes are built with tall ceilings, offering a feeling of  openness and spaciousness.  However, lighting for rooms with high ceilings can be a challenge. Too much lighting at eye level can result in a dark ceiling and make the ceiling seem even higher. If there are too many lights on the ceiling, your room can feel too much like a gym or commercial space. To get the lighting right in a space with tall ceilings, layering your lighting in a multi-level approach will work best.

Here are the types of lighting that you should consider for rooms with tall ceilings-


Chandeliers offer ambient lighting for the entire room and can use the ceiling as a reflective light source. Some chandeliers have lights that shine both upward and downward, casting light towards the ceiling and down into the room. Globe lights, candlestick lights and crystal prisms, in addition to polished metal finishes offer some reflective light. To get the correct size chandelier for your room, take the total of the length and width of the room in inches and that will determine the diameter. For example,  for a 15 x 20 foot room, the minimum diameter for the chandelier would be 35 inches. Often, homeowners choose fixtures that are too small for their rooms. In a room with a high ceiling the depth must also be taken into consideration, so going even a little larger than this formula will give you the best results.

Hanging Ceiling Lights

An alternative to a single fixture would be one or more clusters of pendant lights in the room. This idea works especially well in great rooms and large living areas that include both a conversation area and a dining area. The placement of the lighting often is guided by the rule of thirds: the bottom third for furniture, the middle third for art and accents and the top third for lighting. The recommended height for a hanging light fixture is 70 inches above the floor. In a room with a 10 foot ceiling, for example, a chandelier or pendant would best be hung 6 2/3 feet from the floor, about 3 1/3 feet from the ceiling.

Track/Strip/Rope/Tape Lighting

Track, strip, rope and tape lighting can be used based upon the details of the ceiling. Beams, rafters, angles and corners can be illuminated by track or strip lighting and LED rope or tape light can also be used to diffuse light over the ceiling while being concealed behind soffits or on the top of beams. Light reflected down from the ceiling reduces the height of the room and adds to the ambient light.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is great for general lighting, but remember that all the light is directed downward. Spacing is important to prevent shadows and uneven lighting.

Wall Lighting

Wall scones fill in the gap between the ceiling lighting and portables. They should be positioned at eye level or higher on the middle third of the wall. Vertical, columnar sconces can accentuate ceiling height and round shapes can bring attention to furniture and art. A dimmer switch is a nice addition to sconce lighting, allowing you to vary the amount of ambient light based on the available light, activities and mood.

Lamps and Accent Lighting

Add table and floor lamps in addition to accent fixtures to vary the contours of a room with pools of directed light. Shades from lamps send small beams upward, creating shadows. Use drum shaped, translucent shades to create upward and downward streams of light and add interest with small accent lights.

Click here to read an excellent article about lighting a room with tall ceilings written by Randall Whitehead, acclaimed author, designer, innovator and lecturer and America’s top expert in residential lighting.

Another great resource is Houzz. Click here to see photos of high ceiling lighting ideas from Houzz.

If you have questions about lighting a room with tall ceilings, our lighting specialists would love to help! Please contact our showroom at 512-251-0000 or come by to see us at 15342 N. IH 35, Austin, TX.




Traditional & Contemporary Lighting & Ceiling Fans | Custom Lighting Designs | Energy Efficient Solutions | Landscape Lighting
Architectural Downlighting | Cabinet Lighting | Turn-key Installation Services | Table & Floor Lamps | Home Décor | Light Bulbs