Hallways are a chronically overlooked space in our home’s design.
We may not spend hours of our daily lives there, but they are a major thoroughfare for a house – and so should be considered when thinking about lighting and decor!
When choosing lighting for your hallway, a great option is flush light fittings.
In this article, we explore exactly what forms and features of hallway flush mount lighting might be best for your space.
Main Two Types Of Flush Lights For Hallways
Flush lighting is the most common type of lighting in home decor. These lights don’t need much space, come in a huge variety of styles, and have great versatility.
The most notable feature of flush lighting is its closeness to the ceiling, meaning it’s less obtrusive and works great for small spaces.
Flush lights won’t hit you on the head as you go past, and allow for easy movement of furniture later on as well! They are great for ambient lighting and adding to a space without taking it over entirely.
As such, they can be perfect as hallway light fixtures for many homes.
But, what exactly are flush light fittings? To begin with, there are two major types: Flush and Semi-Flush.
Flush Mount Lighting
Flush mounted lighting refers to fittings that sit flat against the ceiling, with no gap between the fixture and the surface.
The biggest plus to flush lighting is its unobtrusiveness.
Flush mount ceiling lights stay out of the way, allowing the room to feel as large and open as possible- which can be very important in small rooms such as hallways. In most cases, the goal of the flush light fitting is to feel invisible.
This invisibility also means they can blend seamlessly with existing decor, allowing the rest of the space to feel cohesive and true to its desired style.
When it comes to practicality, flush lighting is king!
Being flush against the ceiling means it has few large surface areas to collect dirt and grime, allowing for easy cleaning.
Many of the simple styles are cost effective due to their materials and lack of decorative features.
However, most flush lighting does require the entire fixture to be removed in order to change bulbs.
In short, these fittings are excellent for flying under the radar, lighting a room without interrupting its existing style. They come in a huge variety of styles and types, giving you plenty of creative control over your hallways design.
Semi-Flush Mount Lighting
These light fixtures have a small gap between their surface and the ceiling. They are usually suspended with a stem, creating a similar effect to pendant lights without hanging quite as low.
This form of light has a few benefits compared to its fully flush cousin.
Notably, it allows for a greater area of illumination thanks to the lower hanging light. It also creates more ambient lighting, in part due to the light bouncing off the ceiling.
Semi-Flush lights are usually more complex and ornate than Flush lights, with a greater variety of styles and types. This allows for more creative freedom when choosing your light.
These lights are a great compromise if you need the space saving attributes of Flush lighting, but still want something interesting and unique!
The bulbs in this form of light are easier to replace than in Flush lights, since you usually only need to remove the outer layer of the fixture. However, they do have more nooks and crannies for dust to gather.
With such great variety and versatility, these lights are great for pretty much any space, especially if the room is small with low ceilings.
What Is The Difference Between Flush Mount And Semi-Flush Mount Lighting?
It can be a bit confusing to distinguish between these two types since at a glance they can look pretty similar. Let’s identify exactly what sets them apart from each other:
The biggest difference is that flush lights sit completely flat against the ceiling, whereas semi-flush lights hang slightly below it.
To count as a semi-flush light, there has to be between 2 and 8 inches between the light fixture and the ceiling.
Often, semi-flush and flush lights can look very similar. However, semi-flush lights tend to be more detailed and ornate, whereas flush lights are usually more minimalist. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules.
Whether you want a highly ornate flush light, or a super simple, minimalist semi-flush light, we’re sure you can find one somewhere.
For very low ceilings, you’ll want to use a flush light. These take up the least space in the room, allowing it to feel less cramped overall!
In very small spaces, lower hanging lights may even restrict movement or bump people’s heads.
However, if placed above a table or counter, you can sometimes get away with lower-hanging lights in low-ceilinged spaces.
In a low to medium-height room, a semi-flush light will probably work best. These will help illuminate the entire space without making it feel cramped or getting in the way. They also offer a wider range of styles to choose from.
In a high-ceilinged room, semi-flush and flush lights probably won’t work. You’d be better looking at chandelier or pendant lights to fill out the space.
Flush and semi-flush lights are best for illuminating large spaces with soft, ambient light. They aren’t a good choice if you want strong, directional light for task areas, such as offices or kitchens. This should be kept in mind when choosing your light fittings!
If you want a light to highlight a piece of art, architectural feature, or workspace, then a pendant, wall or floor light would probably be better.
The Varieties Of Flush Mount And Semi-Flush Mount Lights
Now that we’ve identified the two main types of Flush lighting, we can get into the nitty gritty details. Let’s talk about some of the varieties these lights can come in;
Lights with a glass shade are highly versatile, with a huge variety of styles to choose from.
They range anywhere from the simplistic and modern alabaster, to the ornate, highly decorative tiffany style.
They also allow for a wide variety of light diffusion and warmth levels, letting you customize your choice to the space at hand.
These lights can match all kinds of decor, but are very popular in modern and minimalist styles.
They can be completely invisible and unobtrusive, or they can stand center stage as a conversation piece.
This style of light is great for a cozy, warm space.
The color and style of the fabric can be customized to match the feel of your hallway. Though not likely to be a centerpiece, these lights will play nicely with almost any style of decor if chosen carefully.
This choice of material is also very affordable when compared to options such as glass or crystal.
Fabric shades work excellently amongst traditional or eclectic styles, especially if you are brave with your choice of fabric and shape.
Crystal Flush Mount
Light fittings in this style are great if you want a dazzling, elegant feel in your hallway.
The material means they are often a more expensive choice, but they allow for a wide variety of intricate, beautiful styles that match a traditional or classical space perfectly.
The light shining through the crystals will create a shimmering, bright effect, rather than the gentle light that shines through fabric or frosted glass.
These lights are great if you want to bring some elegance and pizazz to your hallway, though maybe not the best if you want a more understated, cozy feel.
Caged Flush Mount
This form of light has a “cage” that sits around the bulb, most often made of metal or matte material. In some cases, this style is paired with fabric or glass that sits between the “bars” of the cage.
These lights are far less invisible than their peers. This means that they are in danger of being out of place if they don’t match the style of the rest of the space.
However, it also means that they can elevate the decor if chosen carefully, contributing rather than staying out of the way.
Unless paired with fabric or glass, the light in these fixtures is mostly uninhibited, making it brighter than in other options. The cage will create a pattern in the light, becoming a feature of the space all on its own.
These lights are a great choice for industrial, modern or contemporary spaces. An industrial feel is especially suitable if using a metallic or matte black finish.
Themed Flush Mount
These modern flush mounts are the most “out there” form of flush light fittings! They are generally themed after one or more elements; for instance, natural or nautical features.
These are definitely not the lights to go with if you want your ceiling lights out of the way and unnoticed.
However, when matched well to the room, they can be major additions to the style of a space, and may even be a great centerpiece to the room.
Themed lights are highly specialized decor, most likely to match eclectic or contemporary feeling rooms. They are not a great choice in a modern or minimalist room.
However, if strong features, colors and themes are your preference, they are the perfect choice!
Modern Ceiling Lights
These lights involve simple shapes and colors, usually coming in white, black or simple metallic materials.
Some modern ceiling lights are complex, able to contribute greatly to the space as a feature all on their own.
Other lights in this section are simplistic and understated, allowing the rest of the room to speak for itself.
These lights are a perfect choice for minimalist, modern or any other styles that prefer simple forms and colors, though their simplicity means that they could easily fit into most spaces.
Three-Light Flush Mount
These lights involve three different bulbs and come in a wide variety of types and styles, allowing them to fit into most rooms without too much trouble.
More bulbs mean more light, allowing a greater area of illumination. However, it also means they use more energy than their single-bulb counterparts.
Greater light means a brighter room, and won’t work if you want to achieve a cozy, warm feel.
However, this could be a major advantage if the space has high ceilings or is very large. In a hallway, a long and thin three-light mount could work very well to make the most of the space available, and light up the whole length of the hall.
Shades And Finishes
The shades and finishes of a light can have a huge effect on its impact on the space. For this reason, they should be considered carefully when choosing your light fixture.
This type of glass is frosted, which creates a blurred, opaque effect.
This means the light is diffused and softened. Gentler light like this can help combat too-bright, direct lighting, especially in small spaces. It helps create a cozy, calming atmosphere.
This shade works well with plain designs and minimalist or modern styles. It’s simple and unobtrusive, allowing it to blend easily into a space.
This glass has etched patterns or designs on its surface. These can range from simple and geometric, to highly complex.
Similar to frosted glass, it diffuses the light and creates a softer, gentler glow. It shares its benefits with frosted glass but allows for more interesting, intricate designs that might suit a more eclectic or classical style.
In this style, the glass has raised ridges along its surface.
Unless it has frosted or etched glass alongside the ribbed design, light will be mostly unhindered and thus fairly bright. The ribs will refract the light and make it less direct and harsh.
This style would work best in a modern or contemporary space. It matches simplistic fittings with matte or metallic finishes very well, and is fairly flexible in its style and feel.
This type of glass is even more opaque than frosted or etched glass, diffusing the light further and creating a very soft glow. It’s excellent for small, cozy spaces. The light it emits will be dim and gentle, allowing for a relaxing environment.
It’s mostly seen in simple designs, matching well with traditional or contemporary spaces. In some cases, especially if paired with wood or warm metallic finishes, it will fit great in a nostalgic, homely room.
This glass has a beige, opaque coloring on it, which diffuses the light into a warm toned, soft illumination.
These lights are an excellent choice in traditional and farmhouse styles, giving the room a warm, comfortable feeling. They can be anything from simple, basic shapes to more intricate designs that can match a range of styles.
This is by far the most “out-there” option when it comes to shades. These lights are decorative, with a range of colors and shapes that create an intricate design.
In some cases, the color and shapes of the glass mimics the style of classic stained glass windows.
The light is diffused through the frosted glass, and coloured according to the design. This will bathe the room in the tones of the light, creating a magical, nostalgic effect.
These lights can vary from fairly simple to incredibly ornate, allowing for a wide range of styles. In any form, they have plenty of personality, and are definitely not “stay out of the way” light fittings.
Similar to many of its glass alternatives, linen diffuses the light and creates a warm, soft feeling. This is especially true if the linen is a warm-toned color.
Linen shades allow for a high level of customization, with many colors, textures and levels of opacity available.
This allows for the perfect match to your existing decor, with linen working especially well alongside contemporary and modern styles.
Additionally, linen is an excellent choice if affordability is a concern, often being cheaper than other shades.
This finish is a faintly warm gray. This subtle undertone gives it a less cold, clinical feeling than something like stainless steel, making it a popular choice in modern and contemporary styles.
It’s a muted and unobtrusive choice, allowing for almost any combination of colors and tones throughout the rest of the space. This means it also works very well in a minimalist design.
Similar to Brushed Nickel, this finish has an even warmer, redder undertone. This means it works best with warm colors, though it’s still fairly flexible.
It’s another material that excels at remaining unobtrusive and versatile, being suited to most rooms without feeling out of place. It’s often used in door knobs and faucets, allowing light fixtures to match these features.
This finish has a much darker color than either of the nickel options.
It’s designed to replicate aged bronze, resulting in a color that can range from a deep chocolate brown to dark gray. In either form, it has a slight reddish undertone.
This finish is best for cozy or dark-toned spaces, going very well with modern styles. Lights in this style will be more dramatic than those finished in nickel, but not necessarily centerpieces.
This finish is similar to Oil-Rubbed Bronze, with a more yellow undertone. It’s often used on faucets, light switches and doorknobs, allowing light fittings to match these features of a room.
Antique Bronze goes very well with dark color schemes and can fit a wide range of styles, including minimalist, modern and industrial. In some designs, it can even fit neatly in a traditional style.
This finish gives a brighter tone and can result in a very vibrant feeling light. It’s great in almost any space and helps the light be an unobtrusive feature.
It’s most often used in simple designs, working very well in modern and minimalist spaces. It’s especially good in cases where you want the fitting to disappear, particularly when against a white ceiling.
How To Choose The Best Type of Flush Lights For Your Hallway
With so many options, how do you choose what style of light fitting is best for you? Let’s go through some of the major considerations that will lead you to the right light for your hallway.
What Is Your Preferred Style?
The biggest feature you need to consider in light fittings is, ultimately, your personal taste, and the already existing style and feel of the room.
If you want a space that is cozy, then lights that give off a muted, warm-toned light will be best.
This means materials such as tea-stained glass or linen would be ideal.
If this space is eclectic and cluttered, with high levels of detail and flair, then tiffany-style glass and bronze finishes are an excellent choice.
Alternatively, if the style you like is cool, sleek and modern, then more simplistic, understated lights will be best.
This means things like full flush lights with frosted glass or cage styles. A brighter light will match this style best, especially in more open spaces with light colors.
If you like a traditional, classical feel in your home, then delicate crystal fittings with complex shapes and features would work perfectly!
This style of light matched with rococo or other dramatic furniture choices would create a cohesive, impactful feeling.
What Is Your Purpose For The Hallway Light?
The next thing to consider when choosing your light is the purpose it will serve within the space.
In a hallway, the most important roles of a light are creating a consistent style with the rest of the room and house; fully illuminating the space so that it is functional; and making sure the hall doesn’t feel too cramped and small, especially if its ceilings are low.
Flush lighting is an excellent fit for hallways because it meets all of these requirements fairly easily. Fully flush lighting is very good at making a room feel bigger, since it takes up practically no space.
If ceilings are high enough, semi-flush lighting can allow for a greater variety of styles and themes to choose from. This could mean a more interesting final result.
Another practical consideration when choosing hallway lights is centered around cost.
In most cases, crystal is going to sit at the top of the price range of flush lights. On the other end of the scale, glass and linen are excellent affordable options to fit your budget.
Choose The Right Size
Size is very important to consider when choosing your light, especially when it comes to narrow hallway ceilings.
In a smaller space, a smaller light will be needed to avoid the hall feeling cramped. However, in a high-ceilinged or large hallway, more freedom is available in the size of the lights you choose.
If you’re looking for an interesting statement piece, a large, complex design might suit.
In a narrow hallway, thinner lights may also work well. Not all flush lights have to be square or circular.
Using some long, thin lights that flow in the direction of the hallways length may help to maximize space and make the hall feel longer.
Note The Height
Both flush and semi-flush light fixtures can vary greatly in height, meaning this must be considered in the context of your space when choosing your light.
If your ceiling is low, a light that sits as flat against the ceiling as possible will help to avoid the space feeling small and cramped.
Conversely, in a hallway with a high ceiling, a light that hangs fairly low will help bring the space together, and make it feel less empty.
If the ceiling is extremely high, then flush or semi-flush lights are unlikely to provide enough light, and you might have more luck with other types, such as pendant lights.
Most importantly, make sure that lights are high enough off the ground to not hit passing people- since this is both a hazard and annoying!
There are many choices of bulbs for different preferences and situations. Some light fixtures come with bulbs ready to be fitted, but if they don’t, here are the things you need to know about choosing a bulb.
The main types of bulb are Halogen, Fluorescent, LED, and Incandescent.
Incandescent bulbs used to be used pretty much everywhere up until recent years. They provide a gentle, warm look, but are very inefficient in their energy usage.
Fluorescent bulbs are very energy efficient, especially compared to Incandescent bulbs. They usually have a cool tone but can be found in a variety of different temperature and brightness models.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lights are extremely efficient. They can last a very long time and don’t require bulb changes.
They give off a bright illumination and come in a great variety of color options, with some offering color changing features.
Halogen bulbs are ideal for task lighting, such as at a desk where you need to see what you’re doing. They emit a strong, bright light.
These bulbs are more energy efficient than Incandescent lights, but are not as good as LED or Fluorescent.
When buying a bulb for your fixture, you should pay attention to its maximum wattage rating. Wattage is, in basic terms, the amount of power a bulb needs to shine brightly.
To get a light to shine as brightly as possible, you should aim for a bulb at its maximum wattage rating! Any lower, and it will be dim, any higher and it may damage your light fixture.
Temperature is also an important consideration in bulbs. This is measured in Kelvins, with higher numbers meaning a whiter and brighter light.
A soft light will sit at around 2,900K, while a harsh, white light will be nearer 6,000K.
If you want a cozy, warm feeling, you should aim for a lower Kelvin value. If you want a clean, modern space, you should aim for a higher Kelvin value.
Whiter lights will also help to make a large space feel more illuminated, but may overwhelm a small room.
The most important thing when installing a light fixture is to be aware of safety.
Make sure to read all information provided by the lights manufacturer, and remain aware of common safety practices when dealing with electricity and installing light fixtures.
As always when dealing with electricity, there is a danger of shocks and fire! So, be aware of safety rules- and if in doubt, call in a professional.
The Bottom Line
In summary, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing a ceiling light!
The process is a lot more complicated than you’d probably assume, with a plethora of different variables involved. It may feel overwhelming at times.
But, in the end: It’s worth it.
If you can find a light that perfectly aligns with your desired style and feel, it will elevate the space greatly.
Whether you dream of a cozy cottage or a striking minimalist apartment, we hope this comprehensive guide helps you reach that perfect interior.
- Mullan Lighting. (2016.) How to Choose the Correct Ceiling Light Fixture.
- Build with Ferguson. Ceiling Lighting Guide: Flush Mount Lights vs. Semi-Flush Mount Lights.