4 Drop Ceiling Lighting Options

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Drop ceilings are a popular option for finished basements, as they're particularly handy for hiding unsightly electrical wires, pipes, and ductwork. If you have one of these utilitarian finishes in your basement, you may be wondering what kind of drop ceiling lighting options are available to spruce up the space. Recessed lights and light panels are the best options when installing light fixtures in drop ceilings.

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1. Recessed Lights

Recessed lights are the way to go if you're looking for a style upgrade in your drop ceiling light fixtures. Recessed lights come in many styles, trims, and options to elevate the decor in any space. Like drop ceilings, recessed lights' wiring is hidden behind the light, so you'll only see the light bulb and trim. Most recessed light fixtures use energy-efficient bulbs, so they'll last longer and help lower the cost of your energy bill too.

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Tip

You’ll need to install wire supports in your drop ceiling if you’re using recessed lights to support the added weight of the lights. This usually means adding four support wires to each grid rectangle containing a light fixture.

2. LED Light Panels

LED light panels are a big upgrade from the standard fluorescent light troffers often associated with commercial building spaces. These panels are easy to install and have a very low profile, allowing them to fit in drop ceilings with as little as 2 inches of clearance above. Unlike with troffer lights that are illuminated with long fluorescent tubes, LED panels provide even light over their entire surface (not counting a slim frame). The light panel takes the place of a standard 2 x 4-foot ceiling tile and connects to power via a small wiring box on the backside of the panel.

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3. Pendent Lights

Pendent lights are a stylish lighting option to jazz up your drop ceiling. These light fixtures are similar to chandeliers in that they hang suspended from the ceiling, but they only have a single lightbulb, whereas chandeliers have multiple. Pendent lights are often more simplistic and easier to install than chandeliers, making it possible to turn installing them into a DIY project with the right care and attention. Pendent lights also come in various materials and styles, including nickel, steel, and bronze, to add a touch of dazzle to your downstairs basement. Because they are relatively small, single-bulb fixtures, you may need to install multiple pendent lights to get enough light in the room.

4. Track Lighting

Track lighting is another viable option for drop ceiling light fixtures. These light fixtures work well in both office and home settings and come in two types: plug-in and hardwired. The light heads on most track lights can be repositioned, and tracks can either be straight or curved, allowing for further design customization.

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