Living room lighting is always a bit of a challenge. How do you fully illuminate the space for get-togethers and late-night reading, and yet keep the light feeling warm and cozy when you want to power down?
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Although many people tend to include a chandelier or pendant lighting in their living room design, the answer may lie in an often-overlooked fixture: a semi-flush mount ceiling light. Unlike a flush mount, which is tight to the ceiling, a semi-flush mount has a bit of a drop or gap between the ceiling and the fixture, resulting in a look that's subtle and just eye-catching enough.
Semi-flush mount lighting is ideal for living rooms with low ceilings, casting ambient light across the whole room. Also, if you want to toe the line between cozy and bright in your space, semi-flush mount fixtures are frequently dimmable. But keep in mind that these lights look best, and are most effective, in small living rooms. If you have a large space, a semi-flush mount won't provide adequate illumination and may cast shadows.
Now that you've weighed some of the pros and cons, it's time to get inspired with these 12 semi-flush mount lighting ideas for the living room.
1. Don't forget the attached entryway.
Since a semi-flush mount fixture can cast ambient light on a fairly wide area, you don't have to limit the light to just the living room. Instead, place it between the living room and entryway so that both areas can reap the benefit. It's also a great way to tie a color palette together, as witnessed by the striped milk glass fixture in this living room belonging to Emily Henderson contributor Lea Johnson.
Get the look: Schoolhouse Newbury 6" LED, $479
2. Go for glamour.
You might be surprised to learn that semi-flush mount ceiling lights can look shockingly glam, even featuring art deco detailing. For instance, in this black and white living room by Jamie and Morgan of Construction2style, a head-turning brass fixture nods to another time and yet blends in beautifully.
Get the look: Hudson Valley Lighting Fleming in Aged Brass, $1,486
3. Communicate a farmhouse feel.
If you're aiming for an eclectic farmhouse look, skip the standard drum shade and opt for a beaded one instead. That's what Melissa of McCoy & Co. did in this living space, selecting a wood-beaded fixture that complements the space and adds another layer of texture.
4. Stick to a color palette.
You can always look to your color scheme for help when selecting a ceiling light fixture for your living room. With one milk glass and one clear glass shade, Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home used two different semi-flush mounts, and both blend in seamlessly to the nearly all-white, minimalist scheme. The result? Classic, clean, and trend-proof.
5. Welcome a subtle, modern vibe.
A semi-flush mount ceiling light could be the answer to your design prayers if a flashy chandelier feels a bit much to you. But that doesn't mean it needs to be boring. In fact, there are a plethora of modern and understated fixtures flaunting cool silhouettes. For example, the sleek semi-flush mount in this living space styled by Ashley of Bigger Than the Three of Us is the picture of style and elegance.
Get the look: Hudson Valley Lighting Lettie LED Flushmount, $384 - $584
6. Punctuate it with a ceiling medallion.
For a semi-flush mount light that takes a midcentury modern turn, you can push the style envelope even further by adding a ceiling medallion. It's a lovely way to incorporate a subtle yet charming detail into your living room lighting scheme. We love the simple design that Chelsea Mohrman used in her cozy rental @thelittlelakehousecottage. Plus, the matte black base complements the other black accents displayed throughout the space.
Get the look: Schoolhouse Ogee Shade, $69
7. Showcase a chandelier-inspired fixture.
If the motto "go big or go home" tends to apply to you, especially when it comes to lighting, allow us to introduce you to this semi-flush mount fixture. The design is sort of a hybrid between a semi-flush mount and a chandelier. We love this one because the exposed light bulbs and sculptural silhouette act as an additional design touch in this transitional living room.
Get the look: Rejuvenation Altona Barebulb Semi-Flush Ceiling Fixture, $649
8. Shine the spotlight on brass.
As you're pondering lighting options for your living room, consider something in brass. The lustrous metal finish will certainly draw the eye as well as add a dash of warmth to your space. Cindy from Cindy McKay Interiors shows us how it's done in this cozy setup — surrounded by white walls, the tiny fixture pops and provides a bit of sparkle to boot.
Get the look: Schoolhouse Opal Drum Shade, $59
9. Flaunt a boxy silhouette.
Just because semi-flush light fixtures tend to be on the smaller side, that doesn't mean they can't pack a punch. In fact, there are designs, like the box-shaped lantern displayed in this country living room, that make quite the impression.
Get the look: LNC Home Gold Starburst Semi-Flush Ceiling Light, $189.99
10. Consider classic details.
For a semi-flush mount light that won't wane in popularity, consider a simple and timeless design. CC + Mike went with this approach in their living room, opting for a white shade with a polished nickel base. The low-profile fixture looks fresh and echoes the other white elements seen throughout the room — a winning combination.
Get the look: Zipcode Design Lavina Shaded Drum Semi Flush Mount, $136.43
11. Embrace vintage appeal.
Semi-flush mount lighting was a hallmark of every schoolhouse back in the day. Capture that same retro look in your own living room with the help of milk glass and oil-rubbed bronze, as demonstrated in this living room belonging to Sara Ligorria-Tramp.
Get the look: Rejuvenation Eastmoreland 6" Fitter Semi-Flush Fixture, $369
12. Match the style of the room.
To capture the spirit of your living room, look for a semi-flush mount light fixture that embodies the same aesthetic. For instance, in this sitting room featured by City Lights, the globe-style ceiling fixture feels just as glamourous as the Hollywood Regency-inspired furniture and home decor.
Get the look: Mitzi Paige 3-Light Semi-Flush Mount Ceiling Light, $394