- by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 10/19/2022
Choosing the right indoor lighting fixture for your home or business can get a bit tricky. After all, different spaces have different lighting needs and a fixture that works well in one location might prove inadequate in another. Today, we'll be taking a closer look at five of the most popular lighting fixtures and discussing the spaces they work best in.
Surface fixtures mount directly to the ceiling and typically feature a glass or plastic housing over the bulb.
Example: Circular LED fixtures
Surface fixtures are the most basic type of lighting fixture. They've been a staple of homes and offices for decades, giving off a bright, omnidirectional light that's well-suited to almost any space.
Although very practical, surface fixtures are not the most stylish of lights, so some home and business owners may want a fixture that's more decorative instead.
Business applications: Most offices & work facilities
Home applications: Living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, basements, work rooms & garages
Recessed lights, also known as downlights, are downward-facing lights that are installed into a hollow opening in the ceiling.
Examples: Color selectable, dimmable downlights & LED backlit panels
Recessed lighting provides a nice even level of lighting that allows you to illuminate the entire room. They also come in a variety of different styles, making it easy to customize your lighting to match the style of a particular room.
Recessed lighting can be difficult to install. For starters, you have to cut into the ceiling in order to mount each light. You also need to run additional wiring to each individual light, unless you are using a junction box. This can be difficult in a dry-walled ceiling. Because of their design, you will need to install a number of recessed lights in order to properly light a room.
Business applications: Offices, bars & restaurants
Home applications: Living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens & basements
Track lighting consists of a number of different lamps, called heads, which are affixed to a track that is mounted to the ceiling.
Examples: Swing arm track fixtures, painted glass track fixtures, tiffany-style track fixtures
Since the heads can be swiveled and repositioned, track lighting is typically used as accent or display lighting and is particularly well-suited to calling attention to particular objects or parts of a room.
Since track lighting is a directional source of light, it's mostly used for more aesthetic purposes. It's not a great way to light up a whole room and is typically used in combination with other fixtures.
Business applications: Bars, restaurants, retail showrooms, art galleries, museums & other display rooms
Home applications: Hallways, basements, bathrooms, kitchens, offices & home display rooms
Decorative fixtures feature stylish designs that allow them to become a part of the room's overall aesthetic.
Examples: Pendant lights, wall sconces & chandeliers
Decorative fixtures add beauty to the spaces they're used in and are a great way to create a focal point for a room. They're also well-suited to specific task-oriented lighting. For instance, pendant lights are a great source of additional lighting for food prep areas in kitchens.
As with track lighting, decorative fixtures are often used with an additional source of light since the fixtures themselves don't provide enough light for an entire room.
Business applications: Hotels, restaurants, display rooms, reception halls, concert halls & amphitheaters
Home applications: Kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms & living rooms
Bay lights are used to illuminate large commercial spaces. The chief difference between high and low bays is the height of the building that they're used in. High bays are designed for spaces with ceilings ranging from 20-40 feet above the floor, while low bays are used in buildings with a ceiling height of 20 feet or lower.
Examples: LED high bay & low bay fixtures
Bay lights are a source of bright, well-distributed lighting. They're designed to provide large groups of people with the illumination they need to perform a variety of tasks.
Non-LED bay lighting often features startup times before they reach their maximum light output. Additionally, halogens and fluorescent bay lights often suffer from high energy consumption and high heat output and are prone to flickering issues. Switching your bay lighting to an LED option will help solve these issues.
Business applications: Warehouses, stadiums, gymnasiums, storage rooms, athletic facilities, auto body shops, aircraft hangers & big box retailers
Home applications: Not used in homes
Many of the lamps being sold today come with the light built directly into the fixture itself, which can not be removed or replaced. These LED-integrated fixtures save you the hassle of having to replace bulbs once they burn out. These non-replaceable LED fixtures typically have very long lifespans and can last upwards of 30,000 hours before they need to be replaced. Breaking that down into years, if you use your lamp for 6 hours a day, it should last you close to 14 years.
If you have older fixtures in your home or business, you'll want to pay close attention to your choice of bulb. All fixtures, regardless of style, will have a maximum wattage rating and it's very important that you abide by this number. Using a bulb that exceeds the maximum wattage for a fixture can damage your system's wiring or socket and increase the risk of fire.
The maximum wattage rating can typically be found on the fixture itself or on the manufacturer's website. If you're not having any luck with either of those avenues, just match the wattage of the new bulb to the one you're currently using.
If you absolutely cannot find the maximum wattage rating for a particular fixture, your best choice is to use an LED bulb. LED lights consume less energy and give off less heat than other light bulb types and will, therefore, have a lower overall wattage. For more information on finding the right light bulb for your needs, visit our Lighting Purchasing Guide.
Whether you're searching for a single replacement light bulb or looking for help transitioning your facility's entire lighting scheme, Batteries Plus can help. Browse our selection of lighting solutions online. You'll find everything from ballasts and energy-efficient light bulbs to emergency lighting options. Looking for a headlight bulb for your car or motorcycle? We carry those too. We also offer a selection of different lighting fixtures, which are available through special order at your nearest Batteries Plus location.
Interested in learning more about this topic? Our online blog has plenty of additional information. Find out "What Kind of Lighting is Best for a Kitchen?" or learn "How Do the New DOE Lighting Standards Impact Your Business?"
Speaking of businesses, if you're interested in partnering with Batteries Plus, sign up today for one of our free business accounts. Once you do, you'll receive all kinds of valuable perks, including volume discount pricing, free needs assessments and more.