The Complete Guide to Buying Ceiling Lights on eBay

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The Complete Guide to Buying Ceiling Lights on eBay

Ceiling lights are an integral part of any room in the modern household. They provide illumination of the room in the evening and contribute to the decor. Having become decorative as well as functional, there are countless possibilities of what can be achieved with the right ceiling lights, but getting it right can be a complex process.

About Ceiling Lights

Ceiling lights were first seen in the 1300s as low hanging mountings of wax candles. They could be considered a primitive form of the chandelier, which came shortly afterwards to address the need for more beautiful fixings in the home. As technology advanced, candles were replaced by longer burning fuels and sources of light such as oil wick lanterns and then gas in the 1800s. By the 1900s, the practical electric light bulb had been invented by Thomas Edison, and it became the standard form of incandescence in the home. During the industrial revolution, lights began to undergo a re-design and various forms emerged to give people a wider selection. Ceiling lights today are as much a part of home decor as the wallpaper and carpet are. They have become both functional and decorational within the modern house, fulfilling the practical needs of keeping a home illuminated after dark whilst also providing a contribution to the style of a room. The diversity of ceiling lights allows for a huge degree of customisation, from the material it's made from to the way it attaches to the ceiling. Some ceiling lights are designed for use in certain rooms whilst others maintain a universal approach which can be installed anywhere in the home.

Choosing a Ceiling Light

The first choice to make when choosing a ceiling light is always going to be the type of light. Some rooms could be overpowered by large fixtures or can having ceilings too low to feature any hanging lights. It's necessary to ascertain the capability of a room and which lights it can use, after which it comes down to personal taste and the function of the light. Most types of lights can be uplights or downlights. Uplights have shades or bulbs pointed upwards toward the ceiling and are designed to bounce light from the ceiling around the room. These are particularly useful in small rooms which would otherwise have to feature more than one light. Downlights are those that aim their light away from the ceiling and are normally used for task lighting (directed lights like reading lamps and desk lamps) or for accented lighting. Accented lighting is a stylistic method of highlighting points in the room and manipulating shadows.

Type of Light



Flush Mounted

Flush mounted lighting is designed for lower ceilings in a building. The fixtures are fixed "flush" leaving no space between the light and the ceiling. Flush mounted ceiling lighting offer a minimalist style and/or a solution to low ceilings. Low ceilinged rooms often only need uplights to spread the light effectively around the room.

Semi-Flush Mounted

Semi-flush mounted lighting is the middle ground between flush lighting and suspended lighting. It offers a hanging light which is normally seen as more aesthetically pleasing, but stays close to the level of the ceiling as not to overpower a room or become a hazard from low ceilings.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is the ultimate solution to those with a low ceiling or require a minimalist style. Recessed lighting is installed within the ceiling itself so that none of the fixing protrudes.

Suspended Lighting

Suspended lighting is often seen as a more decorative alternative to other lighting methods. Suspended lighting fixtures hang from the ceilings, normally on a metallic chain. These are only practical for ceilings of 8ft high or above and some suspended lighting needs considerably higher ceilings. When buying suspended lighting, always check that the size includes the length of the chain.

Track Lighting

Track lighting is the most modern lighting fixture on the list. It features individual lights which can be moved, rotated and angled to point their light in different directions. Track lighting is great for task lighting when more light is needed in a certain area (like towards a desk or above a kitchen island) but is also used in a similar way in the accenting fashion of downlights. Most track lighting use LEDs rather than conventional light bulbs.

Tube Lighting

Tube lighting is used widely in business and industry, as it offers the maximum amount of light compared to other varieties. Tube lighting fixtures are functional rather than stylish and hold fluorescent bulbs, which emit a much whiter or "cleaner" luminescence. These bulbs are more expensive but last a long time.

Location of Ceiling Light

Aside from the height of a ceiling and the size of the room, the room’s function also plays a part in choosing what type of ceiling light to install.


Function of The Room


Kitchens are the productive hub of a home and thus need a good amount of light. Windows in kitchens are often situated above worktops and sinks to achieve this goal, but in the evening a comparative light is needed. Tube lighting gives off the most light, but some people see it as unsightly, so LED bulbs are often a good alternative. If the kitchen is also the dining room, be sure to install suspended lighting at the right height above the table to avoid causing an issue during meal times.


Entryways are the traditional home of the grand chandelier, as they offer the first impressions of a home. Suspended lighting enjoys good success in the entryways, with style being much preferred over function.


Lounges and living rooms require a relaxing ambience and as such would want a medium to low level of lighting. The lounge is also used for entertaining and social gatherings, so suspended lighting might not be the way to go with low ceilings.

Study or Office

The study requires task lighting because of the work being carried out within. Whilst a lot of desks will feature lamps for this job, tracked lighting is a good alternative if space is at a premium. The individual bulbs can be angled to illuminate a desk and create focus in the room.

Material or Finish of Ceiling Light

Ceiling lights can have drastically different effects depending upon their aesthetics. Most light fixtures are made from inexpensive material and finished in a more pleasing effect, though some solid metal pieces are still produced for the high end of the market. Knowing the properties of each material is important to making the right decision.




Brass is one of the most traditional materials used for light fixtures, along with power outlets and light switches. Brass is malleable and easier to shape into intricate designs, making it favourable for chandeliers, but also making it very prone to damage, scratch, and tarnish.


The advent of plastic helped to drive down the price of light fixtures, meaning that cheaper alternatives could be produced. A lot of fixtures are made from resistant plastics and finished in a metallic paint or plating, but the plastic must be heat resistant.

Gold or Silver

Solid gold fixtures are both rare and expensive, but many luxury examples are plated with gold. These fixtures require a little care to avoid tarnishing, similarly with silver.


Chrome is a very popular modern option, especially in the kitchen. Along with brushed aluminium, it offers a lightweight and low maintenance approach to metallic light fixtures which is style neutral.


A lot of light fixtures will feature glass panels for decoration and to protect the fragile light bulb, but many are now using glass beads and shapes to accentuate the light. Crystal and imitation crystal have always been popular on chandeliers and making an appearance on lower cost lighting now also.

The light bulbs used in ceiling lights can vary depending upon their aim and style. LED are popular options because of their high luminescence and low energy levels, making them a strong competitor against the energy saving bulbs, which tend to be dimmer and take a while to glow to their maximum potential. Most bulbs have evolved to become bayonet fittings, but some screw-in bulbs still remain. Always be sure of the bulb type before purchasing a ceiling light, as certain bulbs are easier to find and replace than others.


Ceiling lights have become a happy marriage between function and decoration. Their ability to contribute to home décor and even take on a focal point like that of a fireplace or a painting allows them to be much more than just lights. Suspended lighting and chandeliers are still the most luxury option, though impressive innovation is being made with the other forms of ceiling lights.

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