Good lighting is essential for any room, and the flexible range of LEDs mean you can create stunning effects knowing they won’t cost you a fortune to run. But if you have a home with low ceilings, lighting can be a challenge.
Many old cottages have low ceilings, often combined with beams. While traditional luminaires can of course be fitted with LED bulbs, they can create a hazard. Your family and guests won’t appreciate your lighting effects if they suffer concussion from banging their heads on a low-hanging luminaire! And that won’t do your expensive light fitting or your LED bulbs any favours either.
So how do you create a dramatic lighting effect for a room with low ceilings without the headaches? Firstly, consider the height of the room. You need to allow around 6ft 8 inches of clearance from the bottom of the light fitting to prevent ‘collisions’. Check out light fittings which fit flush to the ceiling. There are plenty to choose from and all will be compatible with LED bulbs.
If your home has a low beamed ceiling, consider downlights. Don’t forget to use fire-rated downlights though; old buildings can be a huge fire risk. Using LED bulbs helps as they don’t get hot like old style incandescents. Strip LEDs work well with beamed ceilings too – they’re discreet and very effective.
If you want to create a more traditional effect, investigate wall sconces as an alternative to luminaires. While you can’t hang a chandelier from a low ceiling, there are many beautiful crystal sconces which will refract the light in exactly the same way. Positioning sconces higher than normal will help give an illusion of height to a room with a low ceiling. Floor standing lamps, which direct the light up towards the ceiling, will help make the ceiling look higher too.
If you want to preserve the cosy, ‘cottagey’ feel, think about adding table lamps. Tiffany-style lamp shades with coloured glass create intimacy and warmth. Try draping lamps with scarves and beads for a Bohemian look. Again, because LED bulbs stay cool, you don’t have to worry about shades or fabrics scorching and becoming unsightly and unsafe.
Of course, not everyone enjoys the cosy feel of a room with a low ceiling. If you find them claustrophobic, you’ll have to work harder to give a greater illusion of space. And LED lighting is just one of the ways to help you achieve this.