Lamps for suspended ceilings: types, how to choose the best + brand overview

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Alina Zlobina
Last update: May 2019

Aesthetic, attractive in appearance and practical stretch fabrics are considered the best way to finish the ceiling. But when it comes to designing a lighting system for them, then there are problems associated with the features of the materials used in the manufacturing process of tension structures.

You do not know how to choose the best luminaires for suspended ceilings and which ones will be safe during operation?

We will help you understand this issue - in the framework of this article we will find out what must be taken into account when choosing devices, consider suitable types of lighting fixtures, and highlight reliable and proven lighting manufacturers.

Technical features of suspended ceilings

The assortment of well-known brands of lighting engineering presents many diverse options for lighting ceiling fixtures. However, not each of the proposed models of fixtures can be attached to the tension structures.

The thing is that their surface consists of PVC film, fiberglass or fabric materials that can not tolerate heating above 60 ° C.

If you purchase the first device and type of light bulbs that you get from a store without paying attention to the characteristics of the devices, there is a great risk that they will burn the canvas over time.

As a result of this, the material is deformed, sags, acquires an ugly yellow hue, and starts to emit unpleasant odors when the light is on.

Damage to the stretch ceiling
The fabric will be slightly more resistant to temperature influences, but the vinyl or glossy surface of the film can quickly crack, lose its shape and primary elasticity

That is why the luminaires installed in the suspended ceiling must be low-power, emit a minimum amount of heat.

It is desirable that the bearing case of the devices was made of safe thermal raw materials, preventing the spread of heating coming from the incandescent filament to the ceiling.

Preferred types of lighting

It is necessary to discuss the most suitable types of lighting even at the stage of installation of a ceiling coating or the development of a design project for a room.

The main restrictions apply to:

  • power;
  • bulkiness;
  • type of fastening equipment.

These characteristics need to be compared with the specifics of the design and the type of ceiling finish.

Installing a lighting fixture in a suspended ceiling
For lighting fixtures, special holes are cut out in the stretch fabric through which they connect to the fixture built into the surface of the main ceiling

Wiring and installation of fasteners is carried out before the direct installation of the structure. For this reason, the layout, the right amount of light sources also need to be thought out in advance. In this case, several varieties of fixtures will be appropriate.

No. 1 - universal point devices

Spotlights with stretch canvas - the classic and most common combination. The devices are suitable for rooms of any height, even when it comes to critically low parameters.

The body of the products may protrude slightly beyond the plane of the ceiling or completely integrate into the surface, merging with the canvas.

They are used both for highlighting individual zones and as general room lighting (provided that at least one device is installed for every 1-1.5 m²). They create interesting light scenarios with them, giving the interior design a special personality.

Point models are characterized by numerous advantages:

  • affordable cost;
  • ease of installation;
  • low level of heating;
  • variety of design;
  • economical energy consumption;
  • resistance to moisture thanks to the closed tight design;
  • the ability to control the direction of light flow.

The installation method of compact point devices depends on their type. Recessed luminaires are mounted using a spring mount, which is inserted into a pre-prepared hole.

Type of spotlight after installation in the canvas
In a niche, the spring straightens, tightly pressing the structure to the ceiling. From the outside, the hole is closed with a decorative overlay. At least 7 cm of clearance must be left under the built-in equipment between the main and suspended ceilings

For installation of luminaires of overhead type, adjustable racks fitted with a canvas are used. In the marked places thermo rings are hidden, hiding under the side of the equipment. They help to fix the case, and in the future they prevent heat transfer between the device and the material.

To be able to adjust the direction of the light, you can pick up rotary models.

No. 2 - original suspension structures

Pendant lights are suitable for large spaces, but are not recommended for use in rooms with low ceilings. They give a diffused or directional light stream, perfectly illuminate the room, emitting powerful bright light.

At the same time, there is no risk of damage to the tensile structure, since the device body and the web are placed at a safe distance from each other.

The weight of the chandelier should not be excessively large. You also need to pay attention to the horns and shades. It is advisable that they look down, otherwise overheating of the membrane and the appearance of glare on glossy surfaces cannot be ruled out.

Pendant lights in the interior
Using pendant-type lighting equipment, you can radically change the situation in the room: add luxury, visually reduce or expand the area, and design work areas in an original way

This category includes track lights, lamps and chandeliers, which are suspended from a solid hook mounted in the base ceiling made of reinforcement.

The frame of the product is held on a decorative chain, cable or rod with a length of 0.2 to 1.5 m.The fixing mechanism is hidden behind the canvas, only part of the suspension and the reinforcing ring remain outside.

The main advantages of pendant lights:

  • simple installation;
  • aesthetic appeal;
  • wide angle of dispersion;
  • compatibility with all types of lamps;
  • the ability to adjust the height;
  • harmonious combination with different styles of interior;
  • quick cooling of bulbs;
  • the complete absence of the risk of damage to the canvas, provided that the suspension is of sufficient length.

Pendant lamps impress with a variety of color, design and decoration. The case is made of metal, plastic materials, glass, wood.

Plafonds are made in the form of balls, spheres, geometric shapes, curly stems, interesting compositions. The design is modular, independent, rotating, stationary.

No. 3 - bright raster lamps

Modular raster luminaires of the luminescent type are distinguished in a separate category. They are cellular metal structures equipped with a special reflective grating that scatters the light.

Raster lights in stretch fabric
Square or rectangular devices provide a bright, uniform illumination, appropriate in large spacious rooms. There is no designer originality in their design: the models differ only in the type of profile of the mirror plate

This type of fixtures has the following advantages:

  • simplified installation and dismantling system;
  • additional protection for lamps;
  • mobile dimensions and design;
  • strict minimalistic design.

For a home environment, this option is not always advisable. But for office rooms, offices, trading floors, exhibition halls, dressing rooms, raster lighting devices would be an ideal choice.

No. 4 - LED strip for contour lighting

One of the most original and spectacular types of backlighting is an LED strip glued to the surface of the canvas. It is mainly used as additional decorative lighting for rooms.

Stretch ceiling decoration with LED strip
When combining LED strips with other more powerful lighting technology, you can create unique lighting patterns, 3D-paintings, contours, complex patterns

In the assortment of some manufacturers there are models with 120-240 bulbs that are quite capable of coping with the role of the main light source. During the glow, they do not emit heat, which makes them absolutely safe for ceilings made of PVC film and fabric.

Advantages of LED strips:

  • compact dimensions, flexibility, lightness;
  • easy fastening in hard-to-reach areas;
  • low power consumption;
  • low light output;
  • brightness, color adjustment;
  • A large working resource, even with prolonged continuous use.

On the LED strip there are many luminous crystals mounted on the board. Their number and fit density determines the power of the circuit.

Tapes can have a moisture resistant and ordinary coating, equipped with LEDs of various colors. They are often present glow control function.

Optimal bulb types

Each type of lamp corresponds to a certain type of light bulb. For example, an incandescent lamp is not acceptable in LED models. This nuance is important to consider when choosing products.

Lamps with various lamps for a stretch ceiling
For installation on a stretch fabric use energy-saving, LED, halogen light sources, incandescent lamps, fiber optic filaments

In general, any light sources are suitable for tension structures, but with a few clarifications:

  • it is better to give preference to opaque bulbs;
  • at spotlights do not use incandescent lamps;
  • together with halogen light sources, additional installation is required transformer;
  • permissible power of incandescent lamps - not more than 45-60 W, halogen - up to 35 W.

Incandescent lamps put in hanging chandeliers fixed at a distance of at least 0.4 m from the film ceiling. They emit standard scattering light, but are the most uneconomical option among others.

Halogen lamps more economical and durable. These devices are characterized by good color rendering, provide intense bright light in the room, but are very limited in color.

LED bulbs - The most optimal, environmentally friendly and cost-effective option. They almost do not heat up during operation, therefore they are the best type of light source for stretch ceiling surfaces.

On many models LED lights manufacturers give a long warranty for up to 10 years.

LED lamps are characterized by a wide range color temperatures - from cold white to warm yellow. Devices do not create a flickering effect, emit a rather soft light.

Luminaires with integrated LEDs
When purchasing lighting devices with already built-in LEDs, it is necessary to clarify the possibility of their replacement. If it is not provided, then when the bulb fails, you will have to change the lamp

Fluorescent light bulbs - durable and economical. They give high-quality diffused lighting, do not heat up, do not illuminate the surface. Due to the low energy consumption, a fairly high price of products quickly pays for itself.

Since they are characterized by relatively large sizes, they are not suitable for each model of the lamp. The main minus fluorescent tubes - low startup speed.

Fiber optic yarn - Another version of the light source, which is often combined with stretch sheets. They are characterized by low heat transfer, a small amount of light. Usually they are used exclusively as decorative lighting.

Fiber optic ceiling decoration
With the help of luminous threads and special nozzles in the rooms create the mesmerizing effects of the starry sky, flames, aurora borealis

The cost of fiber is an order of magnitude more expensive than other elements, but it is justified by its durability.

Overview of the best manufacturers of lighting equipment

In the market of lighting products, you can find many different brands. To be sure of the quality of the equipment, it is wiser to purchase models of trusted manufacturers. Consider the top three in this area.

1st place - Ecola trademark (China)

Most experts believe that the company offers the most reliable and inexpensive luminaires for tension structures Ecola.

Almost all presented models are equipped with a special moisture protection system. Installing this equipment is straightforward. For him, the minimum requirements for installation height and dimensions of the niche made between the base and stretch ceilings are provided.

Lamps of the Ekola trademark
Products manufactured by the manufacturer emit little heat, consume a minimum of electricity, and serve for a long time. The special design of the devices prevents unnecessary light on translucent webs

The lineup of the manufacturer is quite diverse. A record number of positive reviews received recessed lights Gx53, MR16overhead devices Gx70.

They maximally correspond to criteria important for users: lighting quality, environmental safety, stylish design.

2nd place - Philips (Netherlands)

Brand Products Philips Lighting (new name - Signify) are famous for their versatility and reliability. The brand collection has many lighting devices that are compatible with suspended ceiling structures.

All of them are united by a modern design, in which elegant laconic forms are visible, allowing to give the interior a special charm.

One of the Philips lamps
Philips lighting devices are easily mounted on the surface, provide natural color reproduction, emit bright and comfortable light, evenly distributing it throughout the room. During their manufacturing, extremely safe raw materials are used.

Among the available models, it is worth highlighting ultra-thin built-in devices of the “Downlight” type, ceiling lamps of the series ECOMODSpoint devices Probos.

3rd place - brand Citilux (Denmark)

As a convenient, efficient and beautiful lighting solutions for suspended ceilings, there is something to offer the Danish manufacturer Citilux.

The materials used in the design of his fixtures are resistant to moisture, temperature extremes, and vibrations. Most modifications are sold at relatively affordable prices.

One of the Citilux Chandelier Models
Brand products are made in a traditional simple style with classic elements. Provided that it is installed correctly with the help of different devices, it is possible to model the space in a special way, highlight the necessary zones, create interesting silhouettes

Owners of such lighting equipment note its ease of maintenance, practicality, high quality, long service life.

The best models of the brand include ceiling chandeliers with a Parker series remote control, recessed spotlights of the Alpha, Beta rulers, and Moon overhead devices.

In addition to the brands described, lighting is also worth mentioning. Osram, Massive, Globo, Markslojd, Feron.

Recommendations to the buyer for choosing a lamp

Going to the store for the lamp, you must already clearly understand what you need. Your choice should be correlated with the technical requirements of the stretch fabric, the specifics of the room, the interior design in which the room is decorated.

Precautions when installing the lamp
During installation of lighting equipment, extreme caution must be exercised. Stretch ceilings require delicate handling. Before installation, it is advisable to verify the integrity of the design of the lamp: chipped and broken corners can hook and damage the canvas

First of all, we determine the external qualities of suitable products:

  1. The form. Lamps have a different shape of the body and shades: standard, asymmetric, geometric. It depends on their choice how and at what angle the light will be distributed throughout the room. Some models add mirrored reflective plates, colored plastic or glass, which help create a unique romantic atmosphere due to scattering glare.
  2. The size. All versions of the fixtures differ in size and weight. Based on these parameters, the future lighting system is calculated. Do not take too heavy lamps: for them, it is necessary to increase the mounting height of the surface so that the ceiling does not sag.
  3. Colour. The housing of lighting devices can be made in all colors and shades. The palette is so wide that choosing a device to match the color of the ceiling is easy. If you want to diversify the interior, you can take several lamps in different colors.

It is important to take into account the features of the room in which the devices will be installed. For bathrooms where humidity levels are always high, equipment with high degree of protection. Such devices have a sealed enclosure that prevents the ingress of water.

Detailed information on the selection and placement of fixtures in the bathroom is presented in this article.

Kitchen lighting
The kitchen is usually much warmer than in other rooms. The ideal option in this case is low-power fixtures up to 45 W

For the bedroom, appliances with frosted diffuser glass are considered the best choice. In the hallways and corridors of an elongated shape, it is recommended to install point-type lighting devices around the entire perimeter.

It is not necessary to dwell on one type of lighting equipment for the room. It is worth trying to combine different solutions among themselves.

For example, install a classic chandelier and complement it with spotlights. This will create original lighting compositions, emphasize individual details in the interior, divide the room into zones, and avoid shaded corners.

The photo gallery presents spectacular lighting options in rooms with suspended ceilings:

It is also worth paying attention to several general recommendations:

  • built-in appliances must have inner sides; their heating temperature may not exceed 60 ° C;
  • the optimal distance from the wall to the equipment is 15-20 cm;
  • large lamps or chandeliers are mounted in the center of the room or in the working area;
  • only fluorescent or LED bulbs are placed in luminaires;
  • in rooms of non-standard sizes, it is advisable to apply the wave distribution scheme of point devices;
  • upon purchase, the possibility of replacing burned-out bulbs should be clarified;
  • cast-in built-in equipment, chandeliers with upward-facing structural elements, heavy instruments, lamps with incandescent lamps located close to the canvas are not suitable for installation in a tension web.

It is difficult to say unequivocally which particular model of the device will be better - this is a matter of aesthetic taste of the apartment owner or designer.

But most experts recommend abandoning massive and voluminous chandeliers in favor of compact point devices.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Overview of the main types of luminaires for stretch sheets:

Expert recommendations on how to choose devices to organize a high-quality lighting system in the house:

Correctly selected lamps will not harm the characteristics of the stretch fabric, provide a comfortable and uniform lighting of the space. It is enough to plan the layout of devices in advance and follow the basic rules for selection and installation, guided by recommendations.

Share with your readers your experience using ceiling lights. Tell us which model you preferred and whether you were satisfied with the purchase. Please leave comments on the article, ask questions and participate in discussions. The contact form is located below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Michael

    Spotlights - this is still the best option. At least due to the fact that they are not so difficult to find. In addition, there is a fairly wide selection, you can choose by design. The price is also inexpensive and installation does not take much time / effort. In general, the ideal solution for a stretch ceiling. Although I’m still going to switch to LED strip, as it looks much more spectacular.

  2. Anton

    When I did my first Euro-repair, I did not understand anything.He hired workers, and they pushed me the most powerful lamps, to be more expensive. As a result, over the year the ceiling fell into disrepair - its lamps simply burned.
    Now you need to redo everything, but I try wisely - I am looking for the most reliable options. At the moment, I decided to install a fabric ceiling with spot-mounted spotlights. It seems to be durable.

  3. Sergei

    When choosing a luminaire, the interior of the room for which you purchase it should be considered first. Discreet Art Nouveau, designer chic or classic luxury - it all depends on how you see your entire room.

    • Expert
      Vasily Borutsky

      “Dancing,” Sergey, is necessary from the illumination you want to receive. It is advisable to consider the background values ​​of illumination. A chandelier, for example, will provide general lighting, and a set of additional fixtures (not necessarily ceiling) will allow you to read, do other things that require eye strain.

      • Svetlana

        Basil, the best answer!

      • Maria

        Hello. 100%. Moreover, it is necessary to consider the power, quantity and emitted light of each bulb. We made repairs in a small school office and did not think over this moment. 10 luminaires and one more above the blackboard were built into the tension coating. But the classroom became darker than it was when there was a Soviet workshop with a single-cartridge chandelier 🙂

        I had to change everything, including the parent committee, which under a normal budget did not see in some way and could not calculate the inadmissibility of such coverage. Although there it was enough to look at one light bulb to say right away - at least a hundred pieces are hung up, it will be beautiful, original, but dark.

        As a result, they installed an armstrong with large lighting panels, 4 and an additional lamp above the board were enough. It turned out perfectly! And aesthetics and interior are all nonsense, if you are blinded by the lighting and how a mole in modernism can tear through darkness.