Downlights vs Ceiling Mounted Lights? What to Know For Your Next Light Installation in 2023

When planning a light installation for a new home renovation or office renovation you may be faced with the question of what lighting is best: downlights or ceiling lights?

Downlights and ceiling mounted lights are two types of lighting commonly used in homes and offices to provide illumination. Although they share some similarities, they also have some differences that make each of them unique. At Northern Lights Lighting and Electrical, we offer light installation services for both downlights and ceiling mounted lights.

The main difference between downlights and ceiling mounted lights is how they are installed into the roof. 


      • LED downlights – are the most popular form of residential lighting and are flush mounted against the ceiling with the bulk of the body recessed into the ceiling.

      • LED ceiling lights – are the least often chosen light fitting and are mounted to the exterior surface of the ceiling where the entire body is fixed to the surface. This means the light will sit proud of the ceiling 50mm or more depending on the light fitting.

    What are Downlights?


        • Here is a link to some of the many different downlight options available from Ambius Lighting: 




        Standard downlight example.


        Tilting downlight example.


            • Downlights are types of lights that are recessed into the ceiling and sit flush with the underside of the ceiling. They are usually the best light to minimize physical interference in a standard 2.4m ceiling height room. This is because they won’t interfere with the head space or interfere with your field of view.

            • The standard light output is 800-900 lumens. With the right number of downlights installed in a room they can provide very good even lighting. It is worth noting that light coloured walls such as white will help the light to bounce off the walls and increase the overall light levels. Alternatively darker walls will need an increase of downlights to light up a room.

          Benefits of downlights


              • Downlights have a clean, minimalist look. 

              • Styling doesn’t come and go in fashion. 

              • Available in several colour temperatures such as 3000k, 4000k

              • Dimmable – Most downlights can be dimmed but it advisable to confirm this.

              • Long lasting LED lights.

              • Can offer better lighting with like a lower standard ceiling height of 2.4m

              • Energy efficient

            Downlight beam angles

            Downlights come in various angles to provide different lighting effects.


                • Wide beam angle – Generally a standard beam angle of 120-degrees is good for general lighting with a wider throw of light. 

                • Narrower beam angle – are often chosen to spotlight onto walls to highlight pictures, create light shadows or to create mood lighting in a room.

              What is a Ceiling Mounted Light?


                  • Here is a link to some different ceiling light options available from Ambius lighting.


                Standard round ceiling light example.


                Narrow task light example.


                    • Ceiling mounted lights come in many different sizes and shapes. Above are some examples of standard ceiling lights in 300mm – 400mm round and 50mm or thicker or a long narrow task light. 

                    • The light is not recessed and the whole body is installed on the surface of the ceiling. 

                    • Standard ceiling lights come in many light out options but usually between 1800 – 2500 lumens.

                  Benefits of Ceiling Mounted Lights


                    • Low cost easy to replace option with no holes needing to cut in the ceiling.

                    • Better sound proofing, As the fitting does not need a large hole cut into the ceiling.

                    • Comes in a variety of lumen outputs.

                    • Available in several colour temperatures such as 3000k, 4000k, 6000k

                    • Long lasting LED light

                    • Energy efficient 

                    • Can offer better lighting with high ceilings.

                  Ceiling light beam angles

                  Ceiling lights generally come in a wide 120-degree beam angle.


                  When it comes to choosing between downlights and ceiling mounted lights for your light installation, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your space.


                    • Both offer good lighting when installed correctly with the right number of lights based on the size, shape of the room. 

                    • Remember darker coloured walls will mean more lights may be needed due to less reflecting of light around the room.

                    • In most cases it is helpful to use a mixture of downlights and surface lights.

                    • Room size and ceiling height: The size of the room and the height of the ceiling can also impact the choice of lighting. For example, if a room has a low ceiling, downlights may be a better option as they won’t interfere with head space. If the room has a high ceiling, ceiling mounted lights can be a good option to provide adequate illumination over a larger area.

                    • Overall, when choosing between downlights and ceiling mounted lights, it’s important to consider factors such as the size and height of the room, the desired lighting effects, and maintenance requirements.

                  At Northern Lights Lighting and Electrical, our experienced electricians can install both downlights and ceiling mounted lights safely and efficiently. We offer a variety of light types, models, and styles, and we make sure that our light installation services are completed on time and to your satisfaction.

                  No matter which option you choose, our team at Northern Lights Lighting and Electrical is here to help with all your lighting needs. Contact us today to learn more about our light installation services.

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