Posted on: 13.10.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

One of the most critical aspects of an interior design project is lighting. With so many lighting options available, it can be challenging to choose one that suits your home. If you are considering between recessed and flush-mount lighting, understanding the differences between the two can help you make a better decision. 

Recessed lights typically have buckets inside the ceiling to hold the lamp holder, where the light bulbs are screwed in. They provide good ambient lighting with narrow beams of light. On the other hand, flush-mount lighting is wider and distributes more beams of light in a room. They have canopies instead of buckets.

In this article, you will learn what recessed lights and flush-mount lights are, their types and designs, and their parts. You will also learn about the similarities and differences between these two types of lighting.

Recessed Lighting: A Basic Overview

Recessed lights, also known as downlights, can lights, or pot lights, are a type of lighting that illuminates a space by shining lights that are flush with the ceiling. They are particularly suitable for rooms with low ceilings and those that require good ambient lighting, including basements, art galleries, walkways, and corridors.

They are also great for energy efficiency as they use LED fluorescent lamps to give light. If you are looking for a lighting option that does not distract attention from other details in the room, recessed lighting is the best option. 

Structurally, recessed lights have a joist hanger bar that attaches them to ceiling joists to hold them in place. Some also come with their junction boxes and include circuit cable connectors.

Parts of a Recessed Lighting Fixture

  • Metal Housing. The inverted part where the light bulbs disappear. The metal housing is mostly made of thin metal and houses more than just the bulb. Other components include the reflector, temperature sensor, and socket where the bulb is screwed in. The metal housing determines the size of the recessed lights, as they are available in diameters ranging from 3 inches to 9 inches (7.6 cm to 22.9 cm).
  • Reflector. The shiny surface that lines the interior of the inverted canister. It is usually white or silver and is meant to direct the light from the bulb into the room. You can control the direction of the beam with the help of a gimbal cone.
  • Socket. The Edison socket marked by screwing in. This socket only accepts screw-in light bulbs or LED bulbs with compatible threads. However, nowadays, it is common to use LED bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs as they generate less heat.
  • Temperature Sensor. Located inside the metal housing, it is responsible for reducing overheating. It is a safety device that turns off the light when it detects that the temperature of the fixture is approaching a dangerous point. Old types of recessed lights do not have this feature.
  • Trim. The part of the fixture that covers the metal housing and conceals the ceiling drywall. It is usually decorative and is added last during installation. 

Types of Recessed Lights

There are also as many different types of recessed lights as there are parts to it. We will discuss some of the common types of recessed lights based on their trims below.

  • Open Recessed Lights. Recessed lights with open trims provide brighter lighting. This better lighting is possible because they are left open, without any rim to cover the glare. They are suitable for lighting larger areas.
  • Pinhole Recessed Lights. The pinhole allows light to pass through a small translucent circle in the center of the fixture. It creates a focused beam of light to illuminate the desired area. The surrounding parts of the rim do not allow any light to pass through.
  • Baffle Recessed Lighting. These types of recessed lights have closely packed prongs or ridges in the metal housing. The ribbed interior helps reduce glare from the bulb. A dark housing interior also further reduces glare. 
  • Slotted Recessed Lighting. These types of recessed lights are well-concealed and have flat rims that are flush with the ceiling. They also deliver narrow beams of light like the pinhole. However, they have an adjustable housing that allows you to focus the beam by tilting it at about 35 degrees.
  • Adjustable Recessed Lighting. Recessed lights with adjustable trims get their name from their ability to rotate, giving you the advantage of directing light where you want it. It also has a thin trim and blends well with the ceiling.
  • Decorative. The decorative type of recessed lights adds a touch of art and style to your lighting. The decor is mostly located on the rim.
  • Reflector. The reflector has a mirror inside its housing. This feature helps enhance the lighting and provides bright illumination through mirror reflection.
  • Shower. It is best for the bathroom and any other wet area. The cover is made of tempered glass, which protects the bulb from moisture. 
  • Wall-Washer. This type of recessed lights combines the features of an adjustable trim and baffle trim. However, it has a semi-shield, which focuses the light from itself and onto parts of your house that you want to illuminate. 

Advantages of Recessed Lighting

  • Ideal for Low Ceilings. Recessed lights are an excellent choice for houses and building parts with low hanging ceilings. They provide more freedom of movement for the occupants. Details of the house such as attics, basements, and closets are excellent places to use recessed lights. 
  • Unobtrusive Style. The sleek style of this type of lighting makes it versatile. It is applicable in both formal and informal situations. If you want to add a little style and design, some options offer just that.
  • Targeted Lighting. Recessed lights are known primarily for their directional lighting. For this reason, they are frequently used to draw attention to specific details. They are also the preferred lighting options in art galleries and around monuments and art in general.
  • Easy Maintenance. The rim or cover that protects the light bulbs from dust and moisture. Except for open and well washer recessed lights, all other types of recessed lights are shielded and require very minimal maintenance. You can use them for several years without the need for maintenance.

Disadvantages of Recessed Lighting

  • Poor Energy Efficiency. Although LED bulbs and fluorescent lamps are commonly used in recessed lights now, they previously consumed a lot of energy, especially with incandescent bulbs. The heat they produce is evidence of the amount of energy they consume, hence the need for temperature sensors.
  • Overheating Risk. The possibility of your light going off when you need it can be frustrating. What do you do in the time of cooldown, light a candle? One of the disadvantages of using recessed lights is that they can overheat and cause the temperature sensors to activate.
  • Limited Coverage of Lighting. Recessed lights have lesser coverage compared to exposed lighting types. For this reason, the brightness of lighting you get from a recessed light may not be the same as that from an exposed light, even with a bulb of the same power.  

Flush-Mount Lighting: A Basic Overview

Flush-mount lighting has little to no space between the fixture and the ceiling, making it suitable for parts of the house with low ceilings. It is a good option to achieve better overall illumination in small spaces or to light up areas of a room where uplights are lacking. It is also great as task lighting in larger rooms.

Flush-mount lights work well in almost all parts of the house, especially when the ceiling clearance is average to low. They are suitable for rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and even living rooms, and do not require the constant cleaning that other aesthetic lights require. 

Although it provides excellent lighting, it is more about the lighting it provides than the aesthetic it gives to any room. It is more functional than aesthetic, so if you are looking for a fixture that draws attention to itself in a space, flush-mount lights are not the right choice. 

Types of Flush-Mount Lighting Mounts

Flush-mount mounts come in various shapes and designs. Although similar, each has its specific function and is suitable for different purposes. When selecting a flush-mount mount for the rooms in your home, it is crucial to consider style, material, mounting location, shade style, and use.

Full Flush Mount

A full flush-mount fixture is characterized by the distance it leaves between itself and the ceiling – none. They are secured tightly to the ceiling and provide no room for dust accumulation or insect infestation. They are functional and suitable for small spaces with low ceilings as they take up no space.

Semi-Flush Mount

The semi-flush mount fixture is similar to the full flush mount fixture in terms of providing light for a small space. However, they require a space with slightly higher ceiling height, say about 8 feet, to be properly appreciated.

It leaves a small distance between itself and the ceiling due to a short rod that connects the fixture to the ceiling . This feature provides more brightness to the room and offers a little more aesthetics than the full flush mount. It is easy to mistake semi-flush mounted lighting for pendant lighting, but the latter hangs farther down from the ceiling than the former.

Directional and Spotlight

Directional lights get their name from their distinctive lighting of specific areas. They are similar in build to the semi-flush mount as they are also suitable for small spaces with a significantly higher ceiling height than required for full flush mount. However, their main purpose is to direct the focus. 

Due to this feature, they are suitable for lighting task areas that require focused lighting, such as in the kitchen and hallway.

Parts of a Flush-Mount Lighting Fixture

The parts of a flush mount fixture may vary depending on the type of flush-mount fixture you are considering. However, there are some features that can be found in almost all types of flush-mount lights. Here are some of them:

  • Junction Box. The junction box is the center where all the wires meet. It is sometimes made of plastic or metal and can even be absent in some lighting fixtures.
  • Pan/Canopy. The canopy is the wide part of the fixture that is usually connected to the ceiling with screws. It is the second-largest part of the fixture in a full flush-mount fixture, but not as big in the other types. It carries all the other parts of the mount and can have some decorative touch, especially in modern designs.
  • Foil Insulation. The foil insulation is the part of the fixture that protects the canopy from the heat produced by the light bulb or lamp. It also helps to reflect light rays away from the canopy and onto the diffuser below. It is sometimes referred to as the reflector and can be either elliptical (to distribute light) or parabolic (to focus light rays).
  • Central Nipple/All Thread. This is a part of the fixture that connects the canopy to the glass or diffuser. It is usually rod-shaped but absent in most modern flush-mount lights.
  • Bulb/Lamp. This is the source of illumination. In earlier times, the bulb was usually incandescent. They produce light but more heat and do not save energy. However, the improvement in illumination and the need for more energy-saving led to the use of fluorescent lamps. Its further improvement led to LED lamps, which save the best energy by producing light with very little heat.
  • Lamp Socket. The lamp socket secures the light bulb in place. It is the part of the fixture, any fixture, in which you can screw the light bulb. It receives power from the junction box, if present, or the power source to supply electricity to the light bulb.
  • Diffuser. The diffuser covers the light bulb, the insulation, the lamp socket, and the central nipple. Its main purpose is to distribute and scatter light rays downward into the room. It helps to spread the light for it to have more reach. The diffuser also captures heat, and if the wrong material is used in its design, it can present a problem.
  • Finial. The finial is the part of the fixture that holds the diffuser to the central nipple. It screws into the central nipple and sometimes carries a decorative cap. In modern flush-mount lights, the finial may be absent as the diffuser is directly connected to the canopy. It adds an impressive decorative touch to the room.

Styles of Flush-Mount Lighting

After selecting your type of flush-mount lighting, the next step is to choose a style or design that suits your needs. There are various lighting styles available in the market for flush-mount lighting, and each is better suited for certain situations.


Traditional flush-mount fixtures are the old design fixtures. They give a unique and old-fashioned ambiance to the design when used in a room. They are usually made of iron, brass, or bronze and can be an excellent addition even in a modern house if used minimally and strategically.  

Transitional The transitional style of flush-mount lighting speaks of a convergence of retro and modern designs. It boasts the use of both traditional and contemporary design elements, such as iron and brass or stainless steel and nickel.

There is a whole range of these transitional designs, which are mostly available in bowl designs and made of plastic or glass, available on the market today.

Contemporary Modern designs at their best. Contemporary flush-mount lighting styles use simple materials to create elegant designs that fit well with the decor and style of that era and time. They require the least cost to purchase and are easy to handle.

Styled This flush-mount lighting body promotes eye-catching colors and materials to enliven the atmosphere of the room with small lights. One must use other designs that complement them; otherwise, there may be color and design conflicts. They can be either contemporary, transitional, or traditional, although they are mostly traditional and transitional.

Advantages of Flush-Mount Lighting

Leave a Comment