Best Lighting for Exposed Ceiling: Top 7 Expert’s Choices in 2023

It’s difficult to find the best lighting for exposed ceilings. The coldness of bare concrete walls is exacerbated by the fact that they do not reflect light well. Exposed floor joists can cast strange shadows. And mounting a light fixture on an exposed ceiling is a completely different story. However, you should not be concerned.

In this article, we will go over the best lighting for exposed ceiling in great detail, as well as provide helpful hints on how to choose the right light for your needs.

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice
Design House 519876 Kimball Industrial Farmhouse4.9See Latest Price
Fivess Rustic Industrial Flush Mount Ceiling Light4.9See Latest Price
Design House 519884 Kimball 1 Semi Flush Mount Ceiling Light4.8See Latest Price
KOONTING Vintage Industrial Flush Mount Ceiling Light4.8See Latest Price
Dover Hardware House 127547 Chandelier4.7See Latest Price
ECOELER Dimmable Aluminum Baffle White Trim LED Disk Light4.6See Latest Price
Evelots Ceiling Clip-on Light Bulb4.6See Latest Price

What is the exposed ceiling?

Exposed ceilings can also be referred to as open ceilings or open plenums. All structural and MEP systems are exposed in this type of ceiling, either in their natural colors or painted. Open ceilings are becoming increasingly popular in almost every industry: this architectural trend provides an industrial look while making rooms more spacious due to the increased height.

Pros and cons of having an exposed ceiling

Pros and cons of having an exposed ceiling
Pros and cons of having an exposed ceiling


Exposed ceilings have a number of advantages:

Skylights provide more natural lighting, which is especially noticeable if your building faces south, as that is the side that receives the most sunlight in the northern hemisphere.

Extra space: A traditional closed ceiling frequently makes a room appear much smaller than it is, whereas an exposed ceiling creates the illusion of extra space even in a crowded room. 

Modern interior designs: An exposed ceiling allows for design flexibility through the use of custom lighting and piping fixtures. Mechanical and electrical installations, in addition to distribution systems, can be used as decorative elements.

Exposed ceilings also allow hot air to rise, making rooms cooler – which can be beneficial in hot climates.


Open ceilings, on the other hand, necessitate forethought. Ceilings that are poorly designed and built will develop acoustic and MEP issues. Some of the drawbacks of exposed ceilings are as follows:

An exposed ceiling’s “unfinished” appearance is actually the result of skilled labor: Exposed ceilings lack many of the components found in suspended ceilings, but this does not mean they require less work. The old ductwork and plumbing in existing buildings with suspended ceilings are usually dirty and unappealing, necessitating a lot of work and money to achieve a nice “exposed” look. In addition, ducts and pipes must be painted for exposed ceilings, which necessitates the use of specialized labor.

“unfinished” appearance is actually the result of skilled labor

Higher labor costs: As the construction industry expands, a greater supply of skilled labor is required, and contractors are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers in active markets such as New York City. Although open ceilings use fewer materials than suspended ceilings, the labor-intensive tasks required for an open plenum usually outweigh the savings.

Sound considerations: Because exposed ceilings lack the sound-absorbing effect of suspended ceiling tiles, they require acoustical treatment. Surfaces in exposed ceilings typically create an echo chamber, necessitating the use of spray-on acoustic materials.

Exposed ceilings can increase energy costs: Although exposed ceilings are less expensive in terms of material, they are less effective as a heat barrier. As a result, summer heat gain and winter heat loss increase, driving up HVAC costs.

***Refer to more:Best Lighting For 12 Foot Ceilings: Top 8 Expert Picks 2022

Exposed ceilings necessitate frequent cleaning and repainting, which suspended ceilings do not necessitate. Overall, suspended ceilings are less expensive.

Exposed ceilings can enhance the aesthetics of a building, resulting in a more productive and appealing environment for employees and tenants. However, meticulous planning is required to achieve good performance and maintain pleasant working conditions. It is common to believe that an “informal” exposed ceiling is less expensive to own than a suspended ceiling, but this is not always the case.

Review the 7 best lighting for exposed ceiling 

Here are some suggestions for the best lighting for the exposed ceiling that you can refer to:

#1. Design House 519876 Kimball Industrial Farmhouse

See Latest Price

We would like to introduce you to this indoor light. It is dimmable and comes with a metal shade, ceiling, and galvanized finish. We hope that this might be of interest to your next project.

The design of the light is simplistic and features a retro look. The white metal shade creates a soft yet bright illumination that will be perfect for any room in your house or office space. You can use a 60 Watt Medium base bulb or LED equivalent to emit the perfect amount of ambient lighting, which means you do not need to turn on extra lights in order to read or work on something at night.

This light can be ordered on our website and we would love to work with you on the next project!

#2. Fivess Rustic Industrial Flush Mount Ceiling Light

See Latest Price

This Rustic Industrial Ceiling Light is an ideal application for any home looking to create a fresh, modern style. You can easily hang it anywhere in your home because of the easy-to-use installation process. This light fixture also has a durable construction that will last for years to come.

This Flush Mount Ceiling Light is perfect as a hallway light fixture, as it provides just enough light without disturbing the entryway’s natural lighting. Furthermore, the metal and wood cage design give this ceiling light a rustic feel that can be used in any space of your home, from the living room to the dining room.

#3. Design House 519884 Kimball 1 Semi Flush Mount Ceiling Light

See Latest Price

This is another lamp from Design House. It has a design and function similar to the previous model that we introduced, however, this model has a Coffee Bronze color that is even more elegant and warm. It is suitable for rooms decorated with warm tones, creating a feeling of nostalgia, classic but no less modern. 

The designers considered the space to be illuminated when coming up with the design for this lamp. Therefore, from large spaces to small spaces, this lamp is ideal for most spaces because of its versatility and ability to provide ambient light.

#4. KOONTING Vintage Industrial Flush Mount Ceiling Light

See Latest Price

This industrial flush mount ceiling light is a product of the KOONTING brand. This ceiling light is ideal for use in dry areas such as hallways, stairs, walkways, living rooms,  kitchens, bedrooms, porches, dining rooms, and more. The rustic metal recessed ceiling light with its unique black globe cage design adds a retro vintage look to your room.

Furthermore, it is compatible with any E26 base bulb up to 60W. The light is not dimmable on its own, however, it can be used with dimmable bulbs and requires a dimmable light switch.

So, what are you waiting for if you don’t bring one home right away?

#5. Dover Hardware House 127547 Chandelier

See Latest Price

What’s the point of having light bulbs when you can have an entire light fixture? This is one of the most visually appealing pieces in the house. It is a must-have for any home, with a high-quality finish and a perfect design.

The Hardware House 127547 Chandelier is an excellent choice for any room. Not only is the light nice and bright, but the color it produces makes it ideal for any home.

As a result, the Hardware House 127547 Chandelier is a fantastic piece of lighting that not only provides ample lighting in a room but can also be used in other areas such as living rooms and kitchens. This fixture’s oil-rubbed bronze finish makes it appear modern and sophisticated, while the amber glass that covers the bulbs adds a nice warmth to the light. This fixture is from the Dover Series and can take 5-60W A19 Medium Bulb.

#6. ECOELER Dimmable Aluminum Baffle White Trim LED Disk Light

See Latest Price

To ensure anti-corrosion and anti-rust, the LED Ceiling Light Disc has a 7.5-inch round metal housing. As a result, LED Surface LED Downlight can be installed in damp locations, making it ideal for entrances, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and dens, as well as damp and wet locations such as bathrooms, showers, or outdoors under a porch or eave, among many others.

It also has a Samsung LED chip, which makes the light brighter, saves energy, and extends its lifespan to 50000 hours. The ultra-thin design provides a simple but elegant appearance, making it an ideal recessed lighting solution for both new construction and retrofit. The ideal match for your roof and ceiling.

Another feature is customizable brightness, which is made possible by its dimmable capability, allowing you to set the desired mood lighting. It has smooth dimming capabilities and is compatible with the majority of dimmers. The light does not flicker, so it will not cause eye strain, and you can use it with confidence.

#7. Evelots Ceiling Clip-on Light Bulb

See Latest Price

Our diamond-cut, faux-crystal designer bulbs will add a vintage touch to your home or office.

The housing of the bulb is made of acrylic with a faux-crystal dome look, and the clamp on the adapter and the decorative crown are copper plated. It can gently scatter light in areas such as entryways, hallways, lofts, basements, closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, and living rooms. As a result, you will be unable to take your gaze away from this one-of-a-kind feature. 

Furthermore, this lamp is compatible with all standard-sized bulbs, making it easier to find a new replacement bulb when the old one fails.

When you need a ceiling fixture, this ceiling light is the ideal solution.

How to choose the best lighting for exposed ceiling? 

How to choose the best lighting for exposed ceiling? 
How to choose the best lighting for exposed ceiling?

#1. Lighting considerations

Consider the following factors when selecting light fixtures for an exposed ceiling.

  • The amount of natural light available: Some exposed ceilings have walkout doors and large windows.

Our exposed ceiling is a walkout, but even if it had wall-to-wall windows, it would feel dark because that side of the house is shaded. As an example, consider my art studio. I don’t have any windows in my art studio, so I need ALL THE LIGHT!

  • Room Utilization: A media room and an art studio will require different lighting.

We won’t need as many lights when we redo our media room because they prefer to keep the room dark to avoid glare on the screens.

I require a lot of light in my art studio in order to work. Let’s face it: a bright room is a happy room. If you must work in a room with an exposed ceiling, it must be extremely bright.

  • Style of room

We discovered that exposed ceiling lighting can be done in any style, so whether your home is rustic, modern, or clean and contemporary, we have some ideas for you. For example,  the room’s low ceilings usually necessitate recessed or flush mount lighting. If your ceiling is a little higher, a semi-flush mount light may work as well. In most cases, exposed recessed lighting housing will look great in an industrial-themed room. You are not required to use hanging lighting fixtures.

You may want to go with a more modern or magical feel to your exposed ceiling lighting ideas depending on your decor, and among our suggestions, you will undoubtedly feel glad about your exposed ceiling lighting ideas.

***Refer to more: Top 8 Best Kitchen Lights for Low Ceiling: Expert Picks in 2022

  • Budget

Budget is always an issue when it comes to home renovations. If you have a limited budget, you can go with simple exposed lighting. because if you decide you don’t like it, it will be simple to change and you won’t be out a lot of money.

#2. Amount of Light needed 

There are methods for determining how much light you require for your space if you are unsure. According to the 1000Bulbs Lighting Blog, it’s time to stop thinking in Watts and start thinking in Lumens. For light floor areas, they recommend 20 Lumens per square foot, 30 Lumens per square foot for tables and raised surfaces, and 50 Lumens per square foot for task lighting.

You can also use this handy Visual Interior Tool to determine how much light your fixtures will provide. It is designed for rectangular rooms and computes the average illuminance based on the variables you enter. This could assist you in determining the best exposed ceiling lighting layout.

Determine the exposed ceiling lighting layout
Determine the exposed ceiling lighting layout

When planning your lighting, don’t forget to consider the time of day you use the exposed ceiling room. Even if your exposed ceiling room has small windows, the light will be altered. At night, you will require lighter than during the day to work in a room with an exposed ceiling.

#3. Lights to choose from and lights to avoid 

On one hand, choose industrial-style lighting if you want both style and function. Because exposed beams and pipes are common in exposed ceilings, you can highlight these features.

Track lighting is an excellent choice for exposed ceilings. They offer multiple light sources from a single fixture. They have a low profile when installed between the joists. If you have enough clearance, they are also simple to install on wood joists.

We also recommend hanging a pendant light above a work area to provide adequate task lighting. You just want to make sure it’s in a non-trafficked area. Low ceilings and pendant lights are not always a good combination.

String lights strung between or on the joists provide adequate lighting and create a pleasant, warm atmosphere. You may be more concerned with task lighting than ambient lighting, but we believe lighting can be functional while also looking good!

On other hand, we do not recommend using fluorescent tube lights in areas where temperatures are frequently low and humidity levels are high. Because tube lights do not work well in cold temperatures and do not work well in high humidity. As a result, if you’re in a low-temperature, high-humidity room with an exposed ceiling, you should probably avoid using fluorescent tube lights.

Furthermore, we recommend that you avoid using bare incandescent bulbs. They emit an unwelcoming, harsh yellow light. Instead, choose soft white bulbs that emit a warmer light. They also go over other ways to brighten up a room with an exposed ceiling.

You should also consider how much clearance the lights have. Lighting that hangs too low should be avoided in a room with low ceilings. Pendant lights should only be used in low-traffic areas as task lighting.

***Refer to more: Choosing and buying lights with the best lighting for low sloped ceiling

Some lighting options for your exposed ceiling

Some lighting options for your exposed ceiling
Some lighting options for your exposed ceiling

Almost any lighting design technique, such as an up light, recessed downlight, pendant, graze, wash, track, and so on, can be incorporated into a beam in some way. There are numerous ways exposed beams can be used as a platform to improve lighting and mood in a room. Here’s a look at a few of them that will work well on your exposed ceiling.

#1. Indirect linear up light

This method is by far the most cost-effective and transformative solution. Uplighting a ceiling, on average, instantly makes a space feel larger, grander, and more open. When a ceiling is uplit with indirect (no view) fixtures, you’ve added mystery and appeal to the aforementioned benefits.

Because the linear lighting is hidden, it does not need to be visually appealing; it only needs to function properly. As a result, money does not need to be spent on how it appears. This is not to be confused with the manner in which it is described.

The following factors should be considered when using linear up light: the distance from the light source to the ceiling, the color/finish of the ceiling, how it is mounted to the beam, the angle at which it is mounted, whether the light source requires optical control, and what the fixture’s output is. Even if you have access to software that can calculate some of this, the only way to be certain of how it will look is to create a site mock-up.

#2. Recessed lighting

  • Lighting for tracks

Track lighting is excellent in terms of versatility. Its linear form factor works well in open ceilings with exposed beams. The track can be recessed into the bottom of a beam, mounted on its side, or hung in the same plane as the beams.

Track lighting is excellent in terms of versatility
Track lighting is excellent in terms of versatility

As previously stated, the ability to move a light fixture around is ideal for retail, offices, restaurants, galleries, and other areas that may be altered in the future. The reputation of track lighting as being large and bulky has since faded. Track heads are now small, compact, and LED-only, with numerous color temperature, finish, beam spread, and style options.

  • Downlights

Recessed downlights, also known as ‘can lights,’ are a constantly evolving product that should not be overlooked when considering how to light a room with exposed beams. The flat surface, whether parallel to the floor or angled, is an ideal platform for recessing downlights. Square or round, the trim can typically be ordered or painted to match the finish of the beam, making them virtually invisible from the outside.

Downlights can be used to highlight furniture, artwork, or to create general lighting levels.

***Refer to more: [Expert Choice] Top 7 LED Recessed Lights In 2022 For Your House

#2. Point Source Grazing 

Point sources can be used to either graze across the beams or illuminate the surface in between them for a more dramatic effect. Rather than mounting something TO the beams and illuminating the surrounding surfaces, this design intent is intended to draw attention to the beams directly. This will add visual interest to the space by emphasizing the architectural elements and making them a feature or focal point.

Ideally, these point sources would be recessed into a vertical surface with low visibility directly into the light source, but wall-mounted fixtures can also be used if recessing is not an option. Point sources are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, outputs, colors, and styles, but the most important feature is the beam spread: the angle/degree of light that comes out of the fixture’s aperture.

Point sources lighting
Point sources lighting

Depending on how the fixture is mounted/located, a wider beam will produce more of a ‘wash,’ meaning the light will spread out more and cast a blanket of light on the materials being lit. The light will have a more dramatic ‘grazing’ effect with a narrower beam spread. This is usually preferable when trying to highlight a textured surface or get the light to stretch across a long distance.

In general, we enjoy incorporating architectural elements into our lighting designs to create a unified look. In most cases, we would prefer to use these elements rather than traditional methods of recessed downlighting, also known as “can lights.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ceiling light gives the most light?

Track lighting or recessed lighting can be used. It all depends on the mood you want to create. If you want to have specific areas for different activities, use track lighting. If you want good lighting all around, use recessed lighting. If you want to add a vibe to the space, use a pendant light.

If you go with a pendant light, make sure to measure your space first. Because of the space required for the pendant light to hang from the exposed ceiling, depending on the pendant light you choose, you may make the space feel smaller.

How do you light exposed beams?

The most appropriate lighting in a ceiling with exposed beams is primarily determined by the available space beneath the roof. Pendant light fans will appreciate a room with a high ceiling. These pendants, which can be large, opulent, colorful or white, and always luminous, can completely fill the vertical space and provide a uniform light distribution.

When dealing with a low ceiling, LED lighting of the beams is the best option. All you have to do is concentrate on small essential and compact light spots that will draw attention to the beautiful wooden beams while not detracting from their authenticity.

Choose glass lamps to add value to each veining of the wood because their translucence will give unexpected glares to the room, create nice lighting effects on the wall, and, most importantly, will allow you to admire the wood structure at a glance.

How do I pick a ceiling light?

Ceiling lights, or fixtures that are flush with the ceiling rather than hanging lights such as pendants or chandeliers, are the unsung heroes of the ambient lighting category. While other types of fixtures can provide ambient lighting in certain rooms, every home has areas where ceiling lights are the best (and sometimes only) fixture for the job.

The most effective way to layer light in any room is to mix and match different types of lighting fixtures to create a lighting design that meets all of the needs of that room. Each room requires a well-balanced mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting.

  • Task lighting, which is frequently provided by pendants or adjustable floor lamps, directs light directly at your workspace.
  • Accent lighting, such as picture lights, draws attention to your room’s unique decor and architectural features.
  • Ambient lighting, which includes ceiling lights, creates a layer of light that fills and brightens a room. When a room has adequate general ambient lighting, the other lighting layers become more effective, and the room is more pleasant to use because harsh shadows and eyestrain are reduced.

How far apart do you put beams on the ceiling?

It is a matter of personal taste. The majority of customers install wood ceiling beams with a spacing of 2 to 8 feet. The most common spacing is four feet. Decorative beams are typically spaced fairly widely, say three or more feet apart. The decorative beams’ width and depth should be proportional to the size of the room. The wider and deeper the beams, the larger the room and the higher the ceiling.


We hope this article has been helpful in determining the best lighting for exposed ceiling. At the same time, with the tips in this guide, you’ll be able to tackle your latest lighting project like a pro, determining exactly what type of ceiling light you’ll require and the best ceiling light placement for the exposed ceiling!