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  • Writer's pictureMartin Ortega

Flush Mounted or Recessed: Lighting Options for a Comfortable Home

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Flush Mount vs. Recessed. If you didn't know any better, you might think these words refer to a type of carburetor for an old Pontiac or Chevy. Guess again. The reality is they refer to two types of lighting, flush mount and recessed lighting. They are something to familiarize yourself with if you are planning a home remodel and want your lights to be functional, but also have a bit of swagger and style.

What's the difference? It's actually a simple thing to describe (or just view the photos above). A flush light is mounted flush against the ceiling, or close to it if its a semi-flush design. This installation is going to be a bit more obvious than its sibling the recessed light, making a bolder statement and offering more aesthetic variety. A flush-mount light is great for generating light in a smaller space, expanding the light rather than creating a narrow beam like a recessed light. Flush lights can also make a not-so-subtle statement based on style, size, color and location; a flush-mount light can easily become part of the overall aesthetic of a room.

Now let's move on to recessed lights. Think of single beams of light being emitted from a series of circular cannisters arranged neatly across a ceiling. The light is dispersed evenly by these lights, which are sometimes referred to as "canned" or "down" lights. Recessed lights offer a narrow illumination and are somewhat unassuming; they offer nice directional control to illuminate a very small area. Recessed lights are easy to maintain and essentially made up of the housing and the trim.

So, there are striking differences between these two types of lights, but there are also many similarities. Both recessed and flush mounts work well in smaller rooms. But for a large space with an open floor plan, recessed lighting is often the better choice as it will distribute light more evenly throughout a room. But it doesn't have to be an either-or scenario. You can layer your lights and combine recessed and flush (or semi-flush) lights and other lights in ways that are uniquely appealing.

To hammer the point home, when deciding on lighting remember that multiple types of lighting working together provide a great deal more versatility. It may be true that recessed lights are more about lighting function than beauty, and flush mounts more about aesthetic appeal, but again, think layering.

Whether your style is more understated or leans toward the opposite, you'll find greater satisfaction in a lighting design that offers a healthy balance with options to either accent or downplay certain elements in the room.

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