We hope to shed some light, literally, to those who are reading right now and deciding what kind of home lighting to go for and how it will impact how you live with it for your new home.

It is not just about how beautifully you renovated your home or going to fill your home with extravagant furnishings or accessories, don’t get us wrong, those are important factors of how to do up your home and getting the right mix of everything to compliment each part of the house. Here we are talking about illuminance, aka lighting that helps to set the mood and feel of the overall and how it really enhances the space.

We know it can be perplexing or sometimes think it is such a challenge especially if this is your first time doing renovation. We are here to help and explain the different types of ceiling lights which will help you make an informed decision when you’re deciding which lighting to go for.


Image source/credit: Pinterest


Let us briefly introduce some basic types of lighting:

  • For ambience: Soft, yet subtle kind of lighting that sets the ‘tone’ for your room as it is normally known as the primary source of light as well as general lighting.
  • For task: Usually this provides a more targeted and focus light for various tasks such as night time reading, storage or even cooking that doesn’t light up the entire room.
  • For accent: Mostly use for focusing on certain objects or special features in the room, like feature wall, built-in or even corners.

Though it may sound like it is very specific, but these ceiling lights mentioned are functioned as one of the above types, so it can be doubled up as a secondary lighting or even a combination of both, it really depend on how you utilise them.

Now that you have a better idea, it’s time to read on!

Image source/credit: Pinterest

Flush mount lights

Most common for HDB BTO homes, the lighting points for BTO homes are ready to install such lighting as they sit directly against the ceiling without any gaps between the light shade and the ceiling, hence only require a minimal amount of space.

Flush mount lights may be some times used as the main light for the room as it spread out to the entire room, providing general illumination. 


  • Suits small rooms and low ceiling heights (~2.4m) 
  • They are the most common type, lots of options to choose from and pricing varies from different sellers.
  • Easy for maintenance 
  • Easy to install
  • More than one light fitting is required to light up the whole room
  • Depending on the design, some may require additional reinforcement to securely hold the fixture in place when replacing the light bulb, or LED driver

Given the nature of the simple designs, flush mount lights are very popular among homeowners as they do goes well with any kind of interior style.

Semi-Flush mount lights

Semi-flush mount lights are quite similar to the flush mount lights, except they have a gap about 10-20cm that is hanging down from the ceiling, they can be normally seen in living rooms, or some dining room which many at times known to be installed for general illumination.

Great for homeowners whom fancy the outlook of pendant lights or even chandeliers but having insufficient space for them plus having a low ceiling, this is just perfect.


  • Suits low to medium ceiling heights (~2.6m) HDB & Condo
  • More decorative styles than flush mount lights (some are classy too)
  • Easier to replace the bulb since it is exposed
  • May need frequent dusting and wiping since the lighting enclosure comes with gap and has more exposed parts compared to flush mount lights.
  • May be hard to find a replacement if you buy it from overseas/online as the design is usually exquisite and posh.

Image source/credit: Pinterest

Image source/credit: Pinterest

Downlights (Recessed lights)

These lights have 2 names, some called it downlights and to some it is known as recessed lights. As the name suggests, this type of lighting fixture can be installed into the ceiling or wall. They are designed to sit flush with the surface for a sleek and polished finish especially if you decide to go for a false ceiling.

The housing and electrical wiring components are both hidden, and the bulb appears to glow from within the opening, there are also optional dimmer version or tri-color models to suit your preference.


  • Sleek design, flush completely against the ceiling
  • Doesn’t collect/trap dust
  • Ideal for room which the illumination can be evenly distribute the across the whole room.
  • One of the most important requirement, it requires false ceiling
  • Need to install more than one bulb to cover the entire room

The key point is to having false ceiling installed, and there is no limit to the amount of downlights/recessed lights for each room. You may also consider installing cove light as a combination along the same false ceiling for more options to light up the room.

Cove lights

For those who do not fancy direct lighting and prefers a softer illuminance, this is for you. Cove lights are commonly used nowadays as it is not only energy efficient, and it is also ideal for decorating like the photo on the right illustrates the bathroom lighting.

The fact that the cove lighting is concealed means one can not see the light clearly. It is able to create dramatic effects, an ideal quality for decor and its dimming system literally ensures you can adjust the light effectively.  


  • Popular choice among homeowners
  • Creating soft and diffused lighting 
  • Customisable dimming for LED (smart lighting controller)
  • May not be sufficient to be used as task lighting (eg: studying or cooking)
  • Require false ceiling, hence may collect dust over time
  • Not possible to change the light strip on your own (require an electrician)

Image source/credit: Pinterest

Image source/credit: Pinterest

Track Lights

Who doesn’t like the feel of being in a cafe/gallery ? These track lights are best to create a cozy feel and they are a great option for accent lighting, especially each of the lights on the track can be adjusted to point in different directions or towards a certain spot such as your decor items, painting or even photos to create that arty look in your home.

These lights are interchangeable since it is a modular kit, changing the light itself has never been as easy as a click-to-lock. Track bars are also made easy to install on the ceiling itself, which doesn’t require false ceiling.


  • Easy to install as they can be mounted on the ceiling
  • Flexible and multi-directional
  • Available in a variety of styles and pricing
  • Not suitable to be used as the primary source of light as it is meant to create spot lighting and focus on certain areas
  • Hardware is protruding and may look massive for some
  • Be sure to get more spare units for replacement

Pendant lights

Move over to the last type of lighting for today, Pendant lights – a fixture that is suspended from the ceiling with only a single light bulb incorporated into its fixture. The difference between a pendant light and a semi-flush mount light is the gap and distance from the ceiling to the light fixture. Pendant lights seemingly works better for dining area and kitchen area (if you have or decided to go for open kitchen concept with kitchen island) and Semi-flush mount light works better for living room or an enclosed room.

To provide more lighting to your kitchen island, a pendant light or several pendant lights can be an attractive and helpful addition. Sounds interesting isn’t it? As there is no rule or fixed number of pendant lights which you can install in a room or area, you may choose to design or set your own style by choosing a unique looking pendant light.



  • Available in a wide variety of designs to suit any interior styles
  • Easy to install, easy to clean too
  • May not be bright enough to use the entire room
  • Options may be more limited for low ceiling homes

Image source/credit: Pinterest

We hope you enjoy reading these recommended lightings for different areas and functionality especially each home is unique and special, most importantly is you are able to see a clearer picture of how you want these different types of lighting to match your daily needs and serve you well.

The Design Scientists is more than welcome to discuss with you on your new home renovation journey and advise you on the style that you preferred and how you can elevate your interior with lighting, chat us up or drop us a message to discuss with us today!

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