Light Fixture Style Guide: Types of Fixtures

Light Fixture Style Guide: Types of Fixtures

Modern kitchen island with two large globe light fixtures by Color Cord Company overhead

Choosing the right light fixture style for your space can have a huge impact on the feel and functionality of a room. As you explore the different types of light fixtures in this blog, the experts at Color Cord Company can help you understand what kind of lights you need for different rooms and tasks. 

Browse these types of indoor lighting and discover the ideal ambient, task, and accent fixtures for your environment.


Pendant lights are an incredibly popular option for kitchens and entryways, as they hang down from the ceiling in one specific area from a single cord or cable. There is some versatility in this type of light fixture because you can find pendants with exposed bulbs or shades, as well as in plug-in and flush-mounted forms.

We like using pendant lights over tables and countertops as task lighting or hanging inverted pendant lights for ambient lighting. Plug-in pendant lights can also act as creative alternatives to bedside lamps to free up your nightstand space. Really, pendant lighting is as versatile as you need it to be!

While task lighting pendants hang low and direct light towards one specific area, inverted pendant light fixture styles utilize a shade that points the light from the fixture’s bulb towards the ceiling to spread the light more evenly throughout a room.


Chandeliers are the “fanciest” possible version of a pendant light that you can hang from the ceiling, and also provide an amazing opportunity to get creative with what you can do with lighting. They’ve made a name for themselves as statement pieces among all other types of light fixtures. This type of indoor lighting does double duty, providing plenty of ambient light for a hosting space while creating a decorative focal point.

We recommend choosing chandeliers for spaces where you do a lot of hosting. For example, you might have one in the dining room of a home, the ballroom of a venue, or the reception area of a hotel. Many commercial spaces utilize chandeliers for efficient lighting and to add a sense of grandeur to their aesthetic.

Flush Mount

A type of ceiling-mounted light fixture, flush-mounted lighting has no gap between its hardware and where they attach to the ceiling. Many people prefer this light fixture style from an aesthetic standpoint because it can offer a sleeker and more minimalist design. There is also a variant on this type of indoor lighting, known as a semi-flush mount, with a very small gap between the ceiling and the fixture.

Most flush-mounted fixtures are utilized in hallways and kitchens because they’re ideal as both ambient and task lighting.

Wall Sconce

Unlike all the other types of light fixtures we’ve already discussed, sconces are wall-mounted pieces. This type of indoor lighting is used for decorative purposes as much as ambient lighting because they're typically installed at eye level. Unless they’re inverted, wall sconces at this height will only illuminate things much lower than a person’s line of sight.

We recommend using wall sconces as a layering complement to your ceiling-mounted ambient lighting. With this light fixture style, you can illuminate every corner of a room without having to find a place for a table and standing lamps. Because they’re at eye level, you should use light bulbs that are slightly dimmer than your go-to options for ceiling lighting to protect the eyesight of anyone using this space.


Simple bedside plug-in lamp with white cloth covered cord by Color Cord Company

An easy way to explore a lighting redesign in your home, plug-in lights are a type of light fixtures that require no specialty installation or hardware. You simply plug them into a wall outlet and place them where they provide the illumination you need. You can find pendant, wall sconce, and chandelier plug-ins in our collection. Plug-in pendant lights make it easy to decorate with statement lighting and not have to re-wire or reconfigure existing fixtures too much.

Other Considerations

Beyond the type of light fixture you choose and how it affects the lighting in your space, there are other considerations to explore, including the effects of shades, bulbs, and placement. Here, we’ll offer an overview of what you can expect.


We’ve already briefly discussed how shades can direct light, like with an inverted type of light fixture, but they can also diffuse the illumination coming from the bulb and completely change its ambiance. Opaque shades shaped like cones or rectangles will force light to follow a specific path to illuminate a work area for task lighting. On the other hand, transparent and semi-transparent shades diffuse the light and make it softer, allowing it to fill a space more gently. Different materials will also affect the way shades make light behave, including:

  • Fabric can blend light diffusion and direction. You can have a semi-transparent fabric in a tapered silhouette that does both.
  • Glass offers varying degrees of diffusion. When clear, the bulb can fully illuminate the space, but glass also comes in tinted varieties ranging from smoke and milk to color.
  • Metal is completely opaque and thus ideal only for lighting direction. Use tapered metal shades to direct task lighting or for dramatic effect.
  • Natural shades are typically woven designs that have an aesthetic effect and some slight light diffusion.
  • Paper is a thinner version of the fabric shade that offers even more diffusion and less direction.


exposed light bulb pendant light fixture in a restaurant by color cord company

Once you’ve chosen your preferred type of light fixture and the shade that determines its aesthetic and purpose, it’s time to turn to the bulb. Lumens, temperature, and watts are all more significant than you think! Do you want orangy lighting similar to a natural flame, or do you prefer the other end of the spectrum that creates bluish light reminiscent of an overcast sky? You’ll also need to choose between incandescent, CFL, and LED bulb styles, balancing efficiency, lifespan, aesthetics, and wattage to get the best effects.

Best Location

Each type of light fixture is ideal for different rooms in a home or office based on its purpose. For example, you need more task lighting in the kitchen or by a desk, and you need more ambient light in the living rooms and bedrooms. Explore this overview of lighting by location to learn more.

Lighting at Color Cord Company

At Color Cord Company, we offer comprehensive lighting solutions for projects big and small. Whether you simply want to change the aesthetics of your space by swapping out a few shades or you need a complete overhaul with entirely new fixtures, we’re here to help. Start browsing our gallery for inspiration and turn to our blog for more guides!

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