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.
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
Lighting Objective: Create multiple sources of light without recessing into the ceiling
Downlighter: Recessed ceiling downlight
Alternative: Surface mount short depth ceiling light with GU10 lamp
Astro Kos Surface
Minimal depth surface mounted GU10 lamp – use to send lighting downwards. Available in black too.
Alternatives to Downlights to Create Ambient General Lighting
Lighting Objective: Create a general light source in any room
Downlight: Downlights often mistakenly positioned in a grid in the ceiling to light everything in the room.
Alternative 1: When the ambient lighting is adding an extra layer of light to the other light sources in the room, use white glass or a light fabric shaded ceiling lighting that spreads light widely. The light source should be positioned to infill light in between the other lights so do use multiples where needed.
Astro Cambria 380 Pleated
White Pleated Fabric Ceiling Light with 2 qty lampholders. Plain Putty & White options are also available.
Lighting Objective: Create a bright general level of light
Downlighter: White recessed downlight using an LED lamp
Alternative: Alternatives to recessed lighting in a kitchen would build up lots of light from task lighting on counter tops from LED Strip under wall cupboards, ambient lighting from reflected light onto the ceiling positioned above kitchen cupboards and pendants over island and other working surfaces.
Lighting Objective: Comfortable useful lighting to wash by
Downlighter: IP65 wet rated 3000K downlight with medium beam width.
Alternative: Create a series of tiled alcoves lit from the top inside with IP65 niche lighting for pockets of light for visual interest and reflect light out into the shower. Hide LED strip in recess around the edge of the ceiling to reflect light back into the space.
Astro Terra Round 28
IP65 niche light to create pockets of light in bathroom alcoves and recesses.
, 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.