Surface Mounted LED Downlights

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Great Ceiling Lighting Ideas to Make Your Home Stand Out

Surface mounted downlights are a popular style of ceiling lights that have become even more common in recent years. They are usually chosen because of their similar look and functionality to recessed lights installed in ceilings that have the depth needed to install them. LED ceiling mounted lights bring with them far more than just aesthetics, however. Read on to learn more.

Why Use Surface Mounted LED Downlights?

For many lovers of modern homes, recessed lighting is something they aim to have. Unfortunately, not every ceiling is deep enough to accommodate recessed lighting. In those cases, surface mounted downlights are used. Surface mounted ceiling lights are lights that attach to the ceiling and provide a similar look and illumination style as recessed lighting. There are even downlights for concrete ceilings constructed with stubborn materials that absolutely cannot accept recessed lighting.

An LED surface mounted downlighter is every bit as versatile in placement as recessed lighting, making it easy for you to use linear lighting as decoration as well as illumination. Much like with any kind of light, you should consider the appearance, build and IP rating before committing.

Can Surface Mounted Ceiling Downlights Be Dimmed?

LED bulbs can be dimmable, and you can determine if yours are by seeing if the product specifications on the site mark them as dimmable. To be able to dim these bulbs, you’ll need a dimmer switch. Every dimmer comes with a minimum power amount and a maximum amount that you can access by turning the dimmer this way or that.

A dimming light works by changing the amount of electricity moving through the LED light. The more electricity there is, the brighter the light will be. On the other hand, the less electricity moving through the light, the dimmer the illumination will be.

You will likely need to get a new LED dimmer when adding new bulbs. Some LED lights work with older switches, but not all of them. The ones that do work with them may encounter issues such as flickering, a buzzing sound or an inability to get as bright as they are capable of.

How To Layout Your Ceiling Downlights?

Whether you are using surface mounted cylinder downlight fixtures, square designs or simple circles, the layout of the light is important. To get started, you can lay out the blueprint of the room using a sketchbook. Then, you can mark where you would prefer to have the lights and get a feel for how they will look once installed.

While sketching it out, decide whether or not you want to have a focal point in the room. You may want to put a light right above a sink or stovetop in the kitchen. In the living room, you may prefer to have a specific light above your favourite reading chair. Centre the light right over where you’d like it and then work the other lights in around that focal point.

Figure out how to space your lights by dividing the height of the ceiling in half. For instance, if your ceilings are eight feet high, you’ll want to space out your downlights about four feet apart. This is the basic guidance, but you can adjust them to be closer or further apart based on personal preferences or illumination needs.

You can avoid shadows in corners of the room by placing the lights at least three feet away from the wall. If you have shadows, this could make the ceiling look lower and the room look darker.

How To Install Surface Mount LED Downlight Fixtures?

LED lights, much like any other kind of light, operate using electricity. Without having a professional understanding of electricity and wiring, you run the risk of shock or electrocuting yourself if you try to install them on your own. For this reason, it is best to leave it to a professional electrician and hire someone to come install the lights for you.

LED mounted surface downlights are an excellent alternative to recessed lights for ceilings that cannot accommodate them. This includes shallow ceilings or ones made from hard materials such as cement. Due to the various available shapes, sizes and styles, they can be applied to the ceiling with the same design styles in mind.

Alongside the modern decorative benefits of surface downlights, they also provide excellent illumination as general lighting, task lighting and even accent lighting. Available in warm and cool light colours, they are well suited for placement in nearly any kind of setting. These versatile lights are therefore becoming increasingly popular both in hospitality and home settings. See what LED surface mounted ceiling lights can do for your space.

LED lights on their own come with benefits, but when you pair them with a surface mounted ceiling light fixture, there is so much more to love. Below are some of the benefits of using LED surface downlights:

  • SUPER ENERGY EFFICIENT. LED downlights tend to be more energy efficient than a standard halogen bulb. Whereas halogen bulbs tend to use up 70 percent of their energy in heat, LED bulbs transform 90 percent of their energy into illumination. The efficiency of the light also gives them a much longer lifespan; a conventional bulb is usually only rated for 1,000 hours, whereas a LED bulb can last between 25,000 and 50,000 hours.
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY. Since the bulbs use less energy and output less heat, LED lights tend to be gentler on the environment. Alongside producing fewer greenhouse gases, they will also create less waste for the landfills. This is because these lights aren’t thrown out as often due to their long-lasting nature.
  • Because an LED ceiling mount downlight does not emit so much heat, it remains cool to the touch, which is especially important for families that have children. Beyond this, these lights have no mercury in them, so they are easier and safer to clean up if a light does break.
  • ADJUSTABLE AND BRIGHT. An adjustable surface mounted downlighter with an LED bulb will give you greater brightness levels than a traditional bulb, and you can dim them to suit your mood at any given time.
  • FLEXIBILITY OF USE. This type of light can be used for task lighting, general lighting and accent lighting all the same.
  • LOW MAINTENANCE. While changing bulbs once every few months used to be the expected standard, this is no longer true with LED bulbs. Instead, you only have to worry about replacing them every few years, making them remarkably low maintenance.

Before thinking about where to place the lights, you should first consider how many lights you need in the first place. To begin, you can measure the square footage of the room by multiplying its depth and width. Multiply this number by 1.5 to give you the amount of lighting in wattage you will need. Choose the bulbs with the appropriate wattage and determine how many of them you’ll need to adequately light the space.

There are then some parameters to consider when placing your new linear LED ceiling light fixtures.

First, ask yourself what kind of room you plan to illuminate. Kitchens usually need a minimum of 300 lux on average, while living rooms need 150 lux. Bedrooms are fine with only 100. After determining the amount of light you need for each one, you can start planning where to place the downlights.


It is best to place recessed lights about two feet from the edge of the wall, which will help you avoid casting shadows. Space the downlights evenly throughout the room after that to create a balanced look.

Ceiling Height

It is best if your light is positioned in a way that it will shine a light down in a cone shape. Usually, these light cones will cross around 30 inches from the floor. If you have a taller ceiling, the lights will cross one another from higher up. Because of this, you won’t need more lights—just more wattage.

Task Lighting

If you want to use a linear light fixture as task lighting, say, above your kitchen sink or work surface, pick a downlight that shines a narrower beam angle of light.


Opting for LED lights that can dim or brighten according to your preferences can allow you to create rooms that are comfortable to be in at all times—whether you are performing tasks or just relaxing.

Light colours are indicated in Kelvins. The higher the Kelvin, the cooler the light, with the three most common colour temperatures being:

  • 3000K warm white light
  • 4000K cool white light
  • 6000K daylight or natural white light

There are three main types of light colours:

  • Warm white light is a comfortable light colour that is best for any kind of room in the house. Their warmth makes them particularly well suited for bedrooms and living rooms since these areas are where relaxation tends to occur.
  • Cool white light is much brighter and because of this, they are used in garages and laundries. They tend to be harsher on the eyes and are not well suited for use in living spaces. They can be used in kitchens where plenty of light is needed to complete your tasks.
  • Natural white light sits in between cool white and warm white colours. It is a crisper, sharper light that looks similar to daylight. It is commonly found in work areas and bathrooms.

Among these light colours, the most popular tends to be 3000K warm white light. This is because it is easy on the eyes, making it ideal for living spaces. Beyond that, it blends in well with other colour temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about the gaudy clashing of illumination. It is best to stick with either warm or cool lights for this reason; having both in one space can be jarring and unappealing.

LED light colour temperature guide

Surface mounted downlights are popular in hospitality settings since many have solid concrete ceilings that cannot accommodate recessed lighting. You can install LED surface mounted downlights in many areas of a hotel, including:

  • HOTEL RECEPTION AREAS. This will offer a visually interesting light effect over the reception desk or the ceiling, drawing attention to this important contact area in the hotel. Using this type of light will also reduce the chance of glare, which is beneficial both for road-weary travellers and front desk workers.
  • HOTEL HALLWAYS. Placing a long line of surface mounted lights in hotel corridors will make guests feel safer navigating them while looking for their rooms. Surface lights can also be positioned here on the low ceilings to cast circles of light down onto the floor for even better visibility.
  • SUITES AND BATHROOMS. Using LED downlighters in the private bedrooms and bathrooms of the hotel will afford excellent general lighting for the space. You can then supplement this lighting with task lighting, lamps and reading lights.
  • DINING ROOMS AND LOBBIES. Adding downlighters to communal spaces will provide a modern and inviting look while also shining plenty of illumination over the entire area. Placing them directly over tables or bars will give guests the amount of light they need to dine comfortably.

Generally speaking, the rule is that for every single watt of LED light, you can expect the equivalent of 80 to 100 lumens. LED light amounts are read in lumens instead of watts, so knowing how they relate to one another is important.

In most home settings, a light of three to nine watts is typically more than adequate. To get a good idea of what that might mean, take a look at the following examples of wattages:

– Installing a 3 watt LED downlight will shine the equivalent of a 25-30 watt halogen light bulb.

– Installing a 5 watt LED downlight will shine the equivalent of a 45-50 watt halogen light bulb.

– Installing a 9 watt LED downlight will shine the equivalent of a 60 watt halogen light bulb.

– Installing a 12 watt LED downlight will shine the equivalent of a 90 watt halogen light bulb.

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