Oh, lighting. The jewelry, the frosting of the home decor world and one of my very favorite subjects as of late, which much to my shock and awe, we’ve never really talked about in-depth on its own here on the blog! That’s probably because until recently, we had personally only updated a few light fixtures around our home. When I moved into this house my mom found cool new exterior lights for the house and my dad installed those, then my dad did some serious work adding recessed lighting to our living room, my mom found and replaced the sconces in the hallway leading to the bedrooms and that’s about as much as we’d done. My one big foray into choosing lighting, until very recently, happened around that same time when I moved in and bought my beloved custom jadeite barn light for the breakfast nook from Barn Light Electric, and that remains one of my favorite home decor delights in our home to this day.
Recently we’ve been very, very slowly updating our office to improve both form and function since currently Chris and I are both working from home when he’s not traveling. One of the first things we did to update this space was replace the recessed lighting in the ceiling with two super cool, small flush mount lights to polish and cozy-up the space. I’d fallen in love with the “porthole” ceiling light look when we visited Blackberry Farm last Fall and saw these really cool porthole-like brass flush mount lights in the bathroom, and it was like a lightbulb went off (literally and figuratively) and I instantly knew that the look would be perfect for this space. When choosing the perfect lighting for this space, one of the most important things we had to accept was, much like every single space in our little cottage-ranch abode, the ceilings are relatively low and the space is small, so we needed lighting that gave the space a little bit of style, but didn’t overwhelm it or hang down and bonk Chris in the head.
Though my Pinterest obsession with big, beautiful pendant ceiling lights of all kinds that hang down and instantly make a statement in a space is seriously, seriously real, I had to accept that those kinds of fixtures were for future Maryal dream home homeowner, not present Maryal tiny cottage abode homeowner. Which is where flush mounts and semi flush mounts come in – small spaces are right where flush mount and semi flush mount lighting shines! Which is due to the fact that, as the name would indicate, these light fixtures sit flush (or semi flush) against the ceiling. They’re perfect for cozy cottage casas with small spaces like ours and can solve a host of lighting headaches (again, both literally and figuratively) when you have low ceilings, like so many older homes do!
And trust me when I say you won’t have to sacrifice an ounce of style with a flush mount! Swear! There are so many cool flush mounts and semi flush mounts out there to love if you just look, which is why I’m rounding up all of my favorite flush mount lights, perfect for smaller spaces, all under $250! Now I know that spending over $200 on one light might not be in everyone’s budget and you certainly do not have to spend that much to score a super cool flush mount or semi flush mount, but I wanted to include as many options as possible, so I pushed the “affordable” ceiling on this one a little bit.
The lights that we chose for the office? The adorable, small 10” porthole style brass flush mount lights you see in the photos, and I couldn’t be happier with them! These have been installed for a couple of months now so we’ve had the chance to live with them and see how we really feel about them, and we’re even more in love with them now than we were when they arrived. Chris said that they were relatively easy to install, are perfectly petite so they don’t overwhelm the space or hang down so low that that tall husband of mine will bonk his head every time he walks around the desk, and I just love the look of the brass paired with the opal white glass and nautical thumb screws. Having a warm metal like this brass in this space instantly polishes the otherwise slightly rustic cottage vibe of this room and is classic enough to withstand any changes should we get a wild hair down the line and completely overhaul the space again. I love lighting trends as much as the next person, but what I love more is finding that perfect balance between contemporary and classic style so the pieces we buy stand the test of time.
Shop Our Favorite Flush Mount Lights
Shop Our Favorite Semi Flush Mount Lights
Shop Our Favorite Flush Mount & Semi Flush Mount Drum Lights
We’ve still got a long, long way to go on this office overhaul, but pretty lighting that we love is a great place to start! It’s wild how quickly and easily adding some good-looking lighting can elevate and polish a space, even if the rest of the space isn’t quite up to snuff. So if you, like us, have a low ceilings, small spaces or hallways that could use the perfect flush mount or semi flush mount lighting to spruce the space up, we’ve got you covered! In our endless hunt for our new office lights, we came across so many affordably awesome flush mount and semi flush mount ceiling lights we loved, and learned a few things in the process. Shop all of our favorites in each category above, and hear all of our thoughts on choosing the perfect, bonk-proof flush mount or semi flush mount light for your space below!
All About Flush Mount and Semi Flush Mount Lights
Flush Mount vs. Semi Flush Mount
The difference between flush mount and semi flush mount is exactly as the names would imply – true flush mount lighting sits completely flush to the ceiling like the lights in our office do. A semi flush mount light is kind of the middle ground between a true flush mount and a pendant light or chandelier. Semi flush mounts usually include a short, inflexible stem or rod that hangs down from the ceiling, causing the base of the light or shade to hang just below the ceiling. If you’re choosing between the two, I’d just consider two important things – style and space. Semi flush mounts obviously traditionally hang lower than a true flush mount, so if you have a small space with a low ceiling, you might want to go with a true flush mount to keep from overwhelming the space and creating an annoying obstacle in the room. If you have slightly higher ceilings and a little bit more space, semi flush mounts can be a really fun option because they’re slightly more decorative and make more of a statement, giving the room a cool focal point.
How Do I Choose the Right Size of Flush Mount Light For My Space?
A 10”, 1-bulb flush mount like ours is petite and perfect for replacing recessed can lights, or use in really small rooms and hallways, especially if you’re going to use multiple smaller light fixtures like we did here in the office. If you have a relatively small room, but are only installing one flush mount light fixture, I’d recommend going slightly larger than 10” (depending on what’s offered), so somewhere in the range of 12” to 15” depending on preference. Additionally, you might consider choosing a 3-bulb flush mount rather than a 2 or 1-bulb fixture if you’re only using one light in the room. Another note on that is that if you’re using a light fixture with a white instead of clear glass shade like we did here and you’re only using one light fixture in the room, you’re going to probably want the extra illumination power of a 3-bulb light fixture since that more opaque shade gives off a really nice soft, ambient light. Here’s the larger version of our flush mount that you see here, and it’s absolutely beautiful! It comes in two sizes – a 12” 2-bulb fixture and a 15” 3-bulb fixture.
When looking into semi flush mount lights not only should you consider all of the things mentioned above, but you’ll also need to look at the measurements and determine the “overall height” of the entire light fixture, including the shade so you know how low it hangs down. If you’re going to be using a semi-flush-mount light in a small space with low ceilings, that will be a huge consideration, especially if you have a tall person in the home like Chris!
A Clear Glass Shade vs. a White Glass Shade?
This is a question that I didn’t anticipate thinking about until the time came for us to get serious about choosing lights for this space. At first, we thought a clear shade could be kind of a cool look and very “nautical” which fits perfectly in this space. However, we quickly realized that we had a desk lamp with a clear shade and constantly complain about how harsh the light is. We ended up deciding that the softer ambient light of a white or milky glass shade would be so much more cozy in our space and pleasing to us, but that’s entirely opinion and might not apply to your own personal feelings. Just know that if you choose a clear glass shade, you will have brighter, slightly more serious light emission and it may cause some interesting or unwanted shadows on your ceiling and walls in the space. Maybe you love that look and that feel, and that’s completely understandable! Different strokes, ya know? I love a cool, clear glass shade so long as the light’s not on, which is what draws me to them when I’m looking at them online.
Thoughts on Flush Mount & Semi Flush Mount Drum Lights?
Full transparency, I used to think drum lights were slightly uncool. I have no explanation for this line of thinking, but I can’t betray your trust if I don’t admit that because it’s a part of my home decor past and not a part I’m proud of. What I’ve come to realize over the years is that not only can drum lights be super cool, they provide the coziest, softest ambient light that instantly warms up a space and invites you in without overwhelming you. The “drum” shape of the light shade disseminates light in the most even, understated way, and when they’re of the smaller variety, they’re absolutely perfect for small, cozy cottage or ranch bedrooms and the like. This realization came when we were forced to sleep in our guest bedroom during our master bath/bedroom remodel, and the semi flush mount drum light that was left (and apparently loved) by our home’s previous owner made that room feel so much cozier than our master bedroom, though it’s way too large for the space and slightly annoying to maneuver around. I still don’t love the style of that drum light in that room and will 100% replace it one of these days, but the delight of the soft light it emits can’t be denied. There’s almost no lighting style I’ve found that provides the kind of soft, warm, cozy light a drum light does. It’s heaven!