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Ideas & Advice > Drop Ceiling Lighting Ideas

25 of the best Drop Ceiling Lighting Ideas

Drop ceilings are typically installed to conceal building infrastructure, such as HVAC equipment or plumbing. These lower-ceilinged areas might be seen as a drawback, but with the right lighting fixtures, drop ceilings can feel just as open and expansive as their higher counterparts. Read on for drop ceiling lighting ideas for your home.

Dark Walls, Light Ceiling

A bold open kitchen and dining area features black millwork and white ceilings that reflect plenty of light. If you have lower ceilings, this is a great strategy to make them appear higher. A linear pendant above the kitchen island casts light above and below, and two coordinating pendants above the oval-shaped dining table make the space feel cohesive.

Anchor Your Space

A deeply coffered ceiling lends gravity to this otherwise bright and airy living space. Black bookcases further ground the space. A round black chandelier with white shades is the perfect focal point for the eclectic space.

Focus on the View

Patricia Davis Brown of Patricia Davis Brown Designs kept the focus on the water views in this coastal interior. A coffered ceiling incorporates recessed lighting, and a low-profile ceiling fan blends right in. Pro tip: Hand draperies as close as you can to a ceiling to make a low space feel higher.

Light and Bright

A drop ceiling over a kitchen island is a great opportunity for suspending several pendant fixtures. These clean, minimal pendants are consistent with the modern, open design of this airy kitchen. The all-white palette makes the space feel much larger than it actually is.

Discover additional Kitchen Island Pendant Lighting Ideas.

Go All Out

This artful dining room features eye catching wall murals that draw the eye up. The ceiling is an art piece on its own, with decorative trim and paneling. The lighting isn’t exactly an exercise in restraint, either, but a crystal chandelier is timeless and elegant and can work with any type of decor.

Focus on the Floor

Black-and-white checkered marble floors make a bold statement in this hallway by Jill Shevlin of Jill Shevlin Design. White coffered ceilings and black metal pendants play into the crisp geometric effect. If you go with bold floors, keep the rest of the space clean and simple.

Discover more Hallway Ceiling Lighting Ideas!

All in the Details

Create a gridded design at an angle on your drop ceiling using simple trim pieces. This adds visual interest and a high-end touch to any space. Combine this with wall paneling and an ornate chandelier, and you’ll have a magazine-worthy interior.

Check the Perimeter

If a space requires a drop ceiling to conceal mechanical equipment, it might be possible to create a soffit around the perimeter while leaving the center portion of the ceiling higher. Cove lighting adds an elevated look to the space. In this game room, a minimal linear pendant provides task light for the pool table.

Welcoming Foyer Design

Jill Shevlin of Jill Shevlin Design created an elegant entryway with a tray ceiling and tall, ornate front doors. The palette is neutral and warm, and a central multi-pendant fixture draws the eye upward while anchoring a table below. Try placing a table in your entryway and cover it with plants and flowers to greet your guests.

More Tray Ceiling Lighting Ideas!

Perfect Symmetry

Make the most of a drop ceiling by adding texture. White-painted wood slats give a coastal vibe in this sunny kitchen. Brass nautical-themed pendants enhance the symmetry of the space and create an elegant spot to enjoy a meal or snack.

Get inspired by more Low Ceiling Kitchen Lighting Ideas!

Introduce Color

In order to emphasize the architecture of your ceiling, add some color. Here, the trim is painted a chrome color which is echoed in the finish of a modern crystal chandelier. Keep the rest of surfaces in the space simple, just a wash of white with subtle accents to maintain focus above.

Lower the Scale

A drop ceiling for a glazed conference room lowers the scale to something more intimate. A series of faceted wood pendants brings a warm and natural touch to an otherwise thoroughly modern interior. While this approach is more suited to a commercial space, this same series of pendants would look equally at home above a long dining table.

Add Wood for Warmth

One way to accentuate your tray ceiling feature is to line it with wood planks. This finish adds warmth while emphasizing the architectural form. An artful linear pendant illuminates the surface of a dining table while serving as a focal point for the room.

White Out

An all white interior can be bland or bold, depending on the approach. Here, the addition of texture adds an unexpected element. Tufted upholstery and a decorative ceiling are unexpected and elegant, and a modern crystal chandelier provides the finishing touch.

Modern Elegance

Coffered ceilings look modern when the trim and the ceiling are painted a fresh white. A timeless crystal chandelier paired with a sunburst mirror lends a touch of opulence. The ceiling is an often forgotten plane, but it can be a missed opportunity to infuse a space with style.

Repetition and Rhythm

Repetition and rhythm encourage movement, so try incorporating both into your hallway design. A series of pendants hangs from a coffered ceiling design, supported by evenly spaced columns. These layers add depth and encourage exploration deeper into the home.

Be Bold

This boldly decorated dining room makes the ceiling the focal point. A geometric coffered design would stand out plenty on its own, but the choice of bright blue paint really makes it pop. A botanical-themed brass chandelier is the perfect complement to this eye catching look.

Stay Flush

A drop ceiling hall features recessed portions that create rhythm and perfectly frame a series of decorative brass flush mount fixtures. Supplemental recessed lighting seamlessly blends in with the lower portions of the ceiling. Flush mount lights are a great solution for lower ceiling spaces.

Off the Grid

This bedroom features a modern take on a coffered ceiling, with square-shaped recessed portions within a beam-like grid. A modern ceiling fan with a light keeps the space feeling comfortable all year round. Its low profile is ideal for a drop ceiling.

Discover additional Exposed Beam Ceiling Lighting Ideas!

Hallway Design Ideas

There are a variety of ways to add visual interest to a hallway, as Jill Shevlin of Jill Shevlin Design did in this interior. Hang a large-scale piece of art, or a series of pieces to ponder as you walk through. Install a drop ceiling with recessed portions to draw the eye up, and suspend a series of chandeliers within the spaces.

Open the Center

You don’t have to drop your entire ceiling. Instead, just drop the perimeter to conceal any mechanical equipment, allowing you to have a higher ceiling in the middle. Joe Human of Designs By Human selected eclectic chandeliers to complement this funky apartment interior.

Negative Space

Dining areas are an ideal spot to include a tray ceiling. Perimeter cove lighting creates a glowing ceiling plane, and further serves to showcase the sculptural form of a draping linear chandelier. If you have a rectangular tray ceiling, opt for a rectangular dining table to echo the form.

Highlight an Entryway

A round tray ceiling works well for a double-height entry area with a stair. The recessed form draws the eye upward and becomes like a frame for a dramatic light fixture. Here a round-shaped chandelier is the perfect choice for for this airy space.

Explore additional Stairway Ceiling Lighting Ideas!

Tray Ceiling Ideas

Tray ceilings are a form of drop ceiling that has been popular over the years. The best way to accent a tray ceiling is to use layers of light, both concealed and suspended. Here, concealed cove lighting highlights the architecture, while a bold chandelier brings the glamour.

Combining Sources

Sleek spotlights are always a good call for lower ceilings. However, you can absolutely still hang a dramatic chandelier as well. In this drop ceiling dining area, both fixtures are combined for a layered lighting effect. The linear chandelier steels the show, becoming a focal point within the space.

As you can see, drop ceilings aren’t a sentence to bad design. In fact, there are plenty of options for light fixtures that work well with lower ceilings. Don’t let your home’s drop ceilings hold you back. We hope these tips will help you choose the best fixtures for your lower- ceilinged spaces.


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