Alternatives to Downlighters – What to Use Instead of a Downlight

Downlighters have become indispensable within interior design; they are a powerful versatile discrete source of light and easily installed. However, there has been an over reliance on the downlight as the easy option, too commonly spoiling interiors with their overuse and overlighting.

An alternative to downlights is sometimes the better option easily missed for the sake of convenience. So what alternatives can you turn to as a substitute or if you cannot accommodate recessed lighting?

Quickly benefit from our alternative solutions to the downlighter for all the important areas of the home.

Table of Contents

Downlight Substitutions in the Home

There are a host of lighting solutions that can be considered as alternatives to using downlights. We argue that you should not always turn to the downlighter as the main source of light as all good lighting designs will mix lighting techniques and lighting sources, so challenge yourself with these substitutions and learn what to use instead of downlights.  

That does not mean however that you will banish them altogether, so where you do use them we recommend you learn How to Use Recessed Downlights as you are bound to need to use them somewhere despite all these great substitute ideas!

Alternative to Recessed Downlights on Solid Ceilings


Astro Kos Surface

Minimal depth surface mounted GU10 lamp – use to send lighting downwards. Available in black too.

Alternative to a Downlighter For a Low Glare Light Source


Finn Scandi Metal Floor Lamp

The metal shade focuses the light downwards for a low glare accent light source.

Alternatives to Downlights to Create Ambient General Lighting


Astro Cambria 380 Pleated

White Pleated Fabric Ceiling Light with 2 qty lampholders. Plain Putty & White options are also available.


Astro Cyl 260

White Glass Wall Light

Alternative to Downlights in a Living Room


Astro Park Lane Floor

Modern universally styled floor light that casts light over furniture and curtains.

Alternative to Ceiling Spotlights in a Kitchen

See: The Ultimate Guide on How to Light a Kitchen 


Astro Ascoli 4 Bar

Neatly styled 4 light bar spotlight – use to highlight and create focal points of interest.

Alternative to a Downlighter to Create a Focal Point to a Room

Bedhead as focal point to a hotel bedroom with hidden LED strip uplighting the alcove and LED reading lighting onto the cushions

3000K Warm White LED Strip

Easily create linear lines of light with LED strip

Alternative to Downlights in a Corridor


Borgo 35 Trimless 2700K Wall Light

In built LED lighting looks so impressive repeated along a corridor or stairs, creating contrasts of light and dark.

Alternative to a Downlighter to Create Task Lighting


Hashira Drop Pendant

Uses a downlight style GU10 lamp to push downwards a strong light.

Alternative to Downlights in a Shower 

Alternative to Downlight Shower
LED Strip reflecting light off of the ceiling in a shower

Alternative to Downlights for a Home Office


Astro Amat 320

Sophisticated take on a classic white ceramic uplighter with a useful up and down light.

Alternative to a Downlighter to Create Accent Lighting.


Monroe Wall Light

Decorative reeded glass wall light when used with a low output warm white LED lamp will cast a cosy illumination.


Alternative to Downlighters in a Wet Room


Astro Terra Round 28

IP65 niche light to create pockets of light in bathroom alcoves and recesses.

Alternative to a Downlighter to Light Artwork


Astro Mondrian 600 LED Bronze

Fabulously popular modern version of a classic picture wall light.

See: The Best 5 Ways to Light Artwork & Pictures on a Wall

Andrew Orange , the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.