Bulbs for suspended ceilings: rules for the selection and connection + layout of lamps on the ceiling

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Irina Yakushchenko
Last update: October 2019

Stretch ceilings are mounted in residential, office, commercial premises. With their help, you can create an unbanal and practical interior for reasonable money. The only problem that may arise is the organization of lighting.

We will talk about how to correctly choose light bulbs for suspended ceilings. In the article we presented, types of devices used for equipment of ceiling structures are described, popular schemes of their location are analyzed. The requirements and assembly rules for ceiling lighting systems are given.

The best option for suspended ceilings

The main reasons for which tension structures are installed are aesthetic appearance and practicality. They are made of PVC or fabric panels fixed to profiles.

The choice of lighting devices largely depends on the material of this kind of ceiling. Polyvinyl chloride film and some types of tissue do not tolerate high temperatures. They can be deformed. Therefore, you have to pay attention not only to the technical parameters, but also to other features of the fixtures.

So, when heated above 50 degrees, the material of the panels can change color, dry out and crack. The ceiling will become yellowish, ugly. Operation and maintenance will be very difficult. A few months will have a new repair. These are good reasons to take the time to select the right lamps for suspended ceilings.

Light effects depend on the type and location of the bulbs. They can emphasize the advantages of the ceiling, profitably zoning the space, improve the interior or, conversely, hopelessly spoil the impression of the room.

Lamps for suspended ceilings
The life of PVC ceilings depends on the choice of fixtures. Incandescent lamps heat up surfaces too much, therefore not suitable for tensile structures

When buying, they focus on power and heating temperature.Incandescent bulbs are not suitable, so usually choose halogen appliances power 35–40 W or LED low voltage options.

In some cases - energy-saving fluorescent up to 50 watts. There are also certain requirements regarding the safe location of lighting fixtures.

Basic selection rules

Everything matters - type, shape, power, placement of lamps on the ceiling.

The main rules that should be followed when choosing:

  1. Type and power of lamps. The best option - lamps for 35-50 watts.
  2. Distance to the ceiling. The critical minimum is 15-20 cm. If you place the lamps closer to the surface of the material, this will lead to its deformation. For incandescent lamps the distance should be even greater - from 40 cm.
  3. The shape of the fixtures. Many "plates" that you love will have to be abandoned. The rules for their installation provide a snug fit to the surface of the ceiling. In the case of tension structures, this is unacceptable, because cooling requires full air circulation.
  4. Design. It all depends on the personal preferences of the owner of the premises. It is important that the devices are installed in accordance with all the rules and provide full lighting.

The variety of lamps is huge, so it makes sense to navigate the main classifications and find the option that is best suited for each particular case.

Non-banal color lighting design
If you properly design the lighting, you can achieve stunning color and lighting effects. They will revitalize the interior, help highlight accent areas, create the right mood

When buying, it is worth considering the purpose and features of the operation of the premises, pay attention to the installation rules, degree of protection electrical appliances color temperaturecharacteristic of energy-saving light bulbs.

Complex installation leads to a rise in the cost of lighting, often unjustified. The problem can be solved by choosing a different type of lamp.

Pros and cons of different types of bulbs

Usually for stretch ceilings use lamps of one of three types:

Each of them has its advantages, disadvantages, limitations in operation. To make an informed choice, it is better to find out their features in advance.

Option # 1 - LED bulbs

These are semiconductor devices. They give a white or slightly yellowish light, do not overheat the air surrounding objects. One of the most important advantages is lack of inertia. This means that the brightness of the light is immediately adjustable: you do not have to wait until the device “flares up” at full power. It is not affected by power surges.

Moreover, there are models on sale, the brightness of which can be adjusted at the request of the user - dimmable LEDs. This option allows you to develop and use several original lighting options in one design.

All LED devices are classified as energy saving lighting devicesbecause they consume 5-8 times less electricity than incandescent lamps. This is an obvious plus, but the price is still more than high.

LED lamps for stretch ceilings
LED devices are environmentally friendly. There are no harmful substances in their flasks, unlike fluorescent lamps containing mercury

Noting the high cost of diode bulbs, it is necessary to determine the type of lamp itself at the stage of lighting planning. If this is a model in which a matrix / board with LEDs is integrated, then when it fails, it may be necessary to repair or replace the element.

Not every ordinary user will be bothered by the purchase of a new board and its independent replacement. And calling an electrician will be expensive for this - it’s easier to buy a new lighting device.

A more interesting alternative is the purchase of a lamp in which you can change the light bulb.On sale there are a variety of models in which lamps with a GU5,3 socket are placed. Introduces the rules for choosing fixtures for ceiling structures next article, which we strongly recommend reading.

If such an LED bulb fails, then simply remove the old one and put in a new one, the cost of which is about 60 rubles. And you don’t have to buy the whole lamp. Due to the high cost of lamps from well-known brands, many potential buyers have a desire to save money by choosing cheaper products from nameless Chinese companies.

Such a benefit is highly doubtful due to a number of features:

  • price - a good light bulb on diodes cannot be cheap, but inexpensive most often without a manufacturer's guarantee;
  • the service life does not always correspond to the declared one - only branded lamps are able to work, the manufacturer's stated hours of operation;
  • decrease in brightness - LED crystals gradually lose their brightness, and then completely go out.

Also, before buying, you should pay attention to the color spectrum emitted by the selected LED lamp. In this matter, you should be careful and decide in advance whether such a light is pleasant to the eyes.

Good color matching lighting
When designing lighting, you should carefully consider the color, location, orientation of the lamps. Errors may turn into discomfort in the future.

When developing the design of the ceiling, it is imperative to carefully select the correct color of lighting, calculate the necessary power and cost of devices. This is the only way to make the interior truly cozy and pleasant. Consult professional designers and electricians if necessary.

Option # 2 - halogen lights

The principle of operation is similar to the operation of conventional incandescent lamps, only for the manufacture of wire thread a special brand of tungsten is used. A significant difference is only in the filling of the flask, where oxygen, inert gas, halogen-containing additives are located.

When heated, tungsten evaporates from a thin wire, and then returns to it again. Due to this, a dimming coating does not appear on the flasks. The thread itself regenerates, which positively affects the life of the lamp.

The tungsten wire warms up to high temperatures, but this is offset by the use of special quartz glass, which retains heat and helps increase the efficiency of the device.

Lamps with halogens are characterized by high quality color reproduction, brightness, directivity of light. Another plus is the small size. This allows you to design aesthetic spotlights.

Stretch ceiling with halogen lamps
Halogen lamps give light comfortable for the eyes. In many respects, including the composition of the spectrum, it is close to natural. Therefore, it is pleasant to be in a room with such lighting

With regard to energy conservation, here halogen lamps lose LED and fluorescent. Service life also leaves much to be desired. This should be considered when buying.

Option # 3 - fluorescent tubes

They are deservedly called energy-saving. Whatever lamp is installed, with such devices it will automatically become economical. This is due to design features, due to which you can get an excellent ratio of light flux to power.

Economical energy consumption, good performance and technical characteristics - these are the advantages of fluorescent lamps. They do not flicker when it comes to compact models with an integrated electronic ballast, they work for a long time and without interruption. You can select the appropriate color tone.

Another plus is the lack of overheating of ambient air and objects located near lighting devices. The maximum temperature is 60 degrees.

Fluorescent color backlight
Fluorescent lamps are used in a variety of interiors. With their help, you can organize the main lighting and create an original color highlight

There are also disadvantages:

  1. Potential health hazard. It is harmful for people with certain diseases to be in rooms with fluorescent lighting. If there are serious diagnoses, it is worth consulting with your doctor.
  2. High price. When compared with incandescent lamps, fluorescent ones are 10 times more expensive.
  3. Sensitivity to on / off. The more often appliances light and extinguish, the less they serve.
  4. Harmful to the environment. Lamps contain unsafe vapors of mercury, so appliances need to be disposed of separately. If the bulb breaks, you need to carefully ventilate the room, collect the remaining glass and process the room.

Before buying fluorescent lamps, be sure to check that your city has collection points for old-fashioned products. They must not be thrown into a regular waste bin.

Fluorescent Tube Size
Compared to LED babies, fluorescent lamps are large. Due to their relatively large size, they are not suitable for some types of luminaires.

If several fluorescent lamps are broken at the same time, you will have to call the Ministry of Emergencies for preventive treatment of the room. This should be taken into account, especially if the house has small children, active jumping animals, etc.

Lamp Connection Rules

Of fundamental importance is the type of fixtures in which it is planned to mount the lamps. According to the type of fastening, there are various designs.

Outboard. In everyday life they are called chandeliers. A win-win option for almost any interior.

You can mount all types of lamps, as the distance to the ceiling is sufficient to avoid strong heating of materials. Installation is the simplest. Prices may vary depending on model, manufacturer, design.

Overhead. For such structures, a mortgage base with electrical wiring is required before installing the stretch ceiling. Then they put special rings in which the fixtures are fixed. For them, LED lamps are best suited - with a minimum heating temperature. The advantages include the low cost of structures.

Recessed. The difference from overhead lamps is only in the installation method and the presence of a decorative panel, due to which the design of the device is almost indistinguishable from the surface of the stretch ceiling.

The advantage is the low cost of designs. Ideal for office space, minimalist interiors. Depending on the number of light sources, spot and cascade lamps are distinguished. In devices of the first type, only one lamp is mounted, and the second - several.

Point structures have to be installed in rows due to the modest lighting area. Cascading ones have an extensive design potential. Thanks to them, you can create beautiful effects.

Distinguish between static and rotary lamps. The names reflect design features: the former are stationary, and the latter allow you to adjust the direction of radiation.

Spot lighting installation
When installing devices take into account the purpose of lighting. If it is common, then the optimal radiation angle should be 60–90 degrees. If local (zoned) - from 40 degrees

The type of material from which the panel of the ceiling itself is made is also important. If it is a fabric, then the choice of lamps is almost unlimited, but it is better to install LED devices on a PVC film.

Ceiling Lamp Requirements

When designing lighting adhere to several simple rules:

  1. The first row of lamps is planned so that it is at least 20 cm from the wall.
  2. If there is only one pendant lamp, it is installed in the center of the ceiling.
  3. Seams are the weak points of PVC structures. At a distance of less than 15-20 cm from them there should be no light sources.
  4. When calculating the lamps, you can focus on the averaged indicators: 1 device per 1.5-2 sq.m. area. If you need to provide powerful lighting, then proceed from the first digit. If a special brightness is not needed - from the second.
  5. With a symmetrical arrangement of the lamps, the distances between them, the indents from the wall, are taken into account.

Windows are sources of natural sunlight. When calculating the layout of the bulbs, they must be taken into account, but there are no special requirements here. The main thing is to observe the distance from the walls.

Layouts of light sources

There are several design ideas that allow the most profitable place devices. Before you independently invent new ways of arranging fixtures, you should familiarize yourself with existing ones.

Lamp layouts
The presented schemes have proven themselves well. They allow you to get full coverage of the entire room or a separate area. The best option is chosen depending on the features of the interior.

The most popular light bulb layouts on a stretch ceiling include:

  1. Oval. Lighting devices are placed in the form of an oval inscribed in the rectangle of the ceiling. The center is either decorated with a chandelier or left a little darkened.
  2. A circle. The lamps look like a big circle on the ceiling. The advantage of such a scheme is the uniform illumination of the entire area.
  3. Rectangle. Devices are installed around the perimeter, which creates the optical effect of expanding the space.
  4. Arc. A great option for highlighting the accent area of ​​the room.
  5. Wave. The arrangement of the lamps in the form of a wave is well suited for rooms with a non-standard configuration. This scheme allows you to visually adjust the shape of the room.

In rooms with niches, ledges or original furniture, arbitrary patterns can look good. Often, the lamps at the same time look randomly arranged, but create the necessary effects.

If you decide to arrange the ceiling this way, you need to carefully calculate the required number of light sources. The choice of scheme may depend on the purpose of the premises and the personal preferences of the owner.

There are no ideal lamp layouts that equally suit everyone. The lighting design of each room must be approached individually.

But there are general recommendations, thanks to which you can make a choice.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The selection and arrangement of fixtures is a difficult task, but it can be dealt with if you follow the recommendations of experienced designers. We offer a selection of thematic videos that will help in this.

Video # 1. The unobvious pros and cons of different types of lamps:

Video # 2. Calculation of the number of fixtures:

Video # 3. Detailed description of lamp layouts:

Video # 4. Options for selecting luminaires for suspended ceilings:

Successful lighting effects can transform even the most banal interior, and improperly chosen ones will negate all efforts to design.

Stretch ceilings are a good solution if you take the time to find suitable lamps and calculate the optimal layout for their placement. If you can’t do it yourself, do not hesitate to get advice from electricians.

Please write comments in the block form below, post photos and ask questions about the topic of the article. Tell us about how to choose light bulbs for your own false ceiling. Share useful information and arguments that have become critical to your purchase.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Anton

    Made stretch ceilings in the apartment during the repair. And then there were questions with the installation of lighting: how best to install a chandelier, which lamps to put? I was worried that the structure could be deformed and torn due to heating. As a result, I settled on LED lamps, as they fit into the interior, and did not depend on power surges. A plus of such lamps is energy saving, which means that I pay less for electricity.

  2. Andrew

    The best of all is LED! Today they are applied everywhere! I personally am not surprised that these lamps have such a price. After all, they serve for a long time, and they consume much less electricity than other types of lamps. LEDs are now everywhere - there are floodlights with moisture protection that can be installed on the street, there are lights for rooms and equipment, and, of course, light bulbs. LEDs are the future!