There are several different types of light fixtures to suit specific lighting needs and selecting the right ones for your use can be a bit challenging. Lighting fixtures can be classified by their application, mounting location, how they’re installed, or their lamp type. The following are some standard classifications.
Interior Light Fixtures
Indoor lighting is an essential feature of a home since it provides function and ambience. This type of lighting fixture typically has a low ingress protection rating (IP20-44) and would be damaged if exposed to outdoor weather directly. Types include ceiling fixtures such as chandeliers, track lighting, ceiling fans with lights, and recessed lighting. Others include wall lighting such as pendants, sconces, vanity lights, and wall-mounted swing arm lights. For those without a wall box where they want a wall light there are plug-in wall sconces that plug into a standard outlet, and come with a pin-up kit that hangs the fixture.
Ceiling Mounted Fixtures
These can be classified into four types based on the way they are installed. These can be recessed lights, surface mounted lights, suspended lights, and integrated lights. Ceiling recessed lights are downlights and spotlights. Ceiling surface mounted lights are box or cylindrical type downlights, spot lights and track lights mounted on the ceiling surface lighting downwards. Ceiling suspended lights include chandeliers and pendant lights which add style and character to an interior.
Wall Mounted Fixtures
Wall mounted lights or sconces can serve a variety of lighting needs including ambient, task and accent lighting. These light fixtures are very popular both in exteriors and interiors. Often, these lights are designed to match chandeliers or other light fixtures and offered as a set. These fixtures can be recessed or surface mounted.
Furniture Mounted Fixtures
These are light fixtures specifically used under cabinets for display or are table lamps, desk lamps or lights within furniture. Under cabinet lights can be used for a task or as accent lighting. Generally, such lights are used in display cabinets to provide accent lighting for three dimensional artifacts or objects. They’re also popular in kitchen cabinets, entertainment units, and book shelves.
Floor Mounted Fixtures
Floor fixtures serve a wide range of lighting needs for interior and exterior applications. Recessed or surface mounted uplights, decorative floor lamps, bollards, and spike lights. Street lights come under this category. Uplights and spike lights are used to provide accent light to walls, facades, planters and for landscaping. Decorative floor lamps, bollards and street lights provide ambient light.
Ceiling fans provide years of comfort and beauty. They only use as much energy as a 100 watt light bulb. Most ceiling fans should be placed in the center of the room. This allows smooth air flow throughout the room. However, larger rooms may be better suited for two fans for optimal air flow. For the most efficient air circulation it’s best to have the fan blade higher than 7 feet above the floor. Optimal placement is 8 or 9 feet from the floor. For higher ceilings, a fan downrod can be attached.
To get the most out of a ceiling fan, it’s important to select the right size. Choose a 36 inch diameter fan if the room dimension is 12 feet or less, choose a 42 inch diameter fan if the room dimension is 12 to 15 feet, and choose a 52 inch diameter fan if the room dimension is 15 to 18 feet. Fans should run clockwise in winter (to move warm air off of the ceiling) and counterclockwise in summer (to create a cool breeze). Fan blades determine the amount of air being circulated. The blade pitch is also important, as it along with the blade span is what determines the degree a fan cools a room. The steeper the pitch, the more effective the fan will be in moving the air. Look for blade pitches that are between 11° and 16° and weighed and matched as a balanced set to avoid having your fan wobble. The greater the angle of the blade the more air circulation you will receive.
If the fan includes a light fixture, ensure that the circuit is able to handle both the fan and light. Also, look for the Energy Star label which indicates that air moves 20% more efficiently than other models.
Exterior Light Fixtures
These are lights for use in the building exteriors. They typically have a high ingress protection rating (IP55-68) and perform even when exposed to the weather. These include all categories of light fixtures from ceiling, wall and floor mounted fixtures. Underwater fixtures like pool lights, linear strip lights, etc. are in this category as well and would have an ingress protection rating IP68.