Flush Mount Ceiling Lights – No Boobs Allowed!



Greetings all from Austin, Texas!


What is going on Laurel? We thought you were in the Adirondacks?


You are right. I was in the Adirondacks and let me tell you guys, it was an amazing weekend.


But, now I’m in Austin, TX and so happy to be here, too!


I’ve never been here or even to Texas before. And, I know that there are a LOT of you from around here. So, I am looking forward to seeing more of Austin in the coming days.


What am I doing here?


Well aside from getting to see some of my designer friends, I’m here for the Adthrive Accelerate Summit. They are the folks that create the ads you see on my pages. So, it’s a special event for bloggers to network, learn new things, etc.


Oh, if you are looking for a great and very reasonable place to stay while in Austin,


I am staying at my friend, Deborah Main’s delightful airbnb, just a short distance from downtown, but quiet. And, the room is not only beautifully decorated, she has it stocked with enough food and snacks to easily feed a family of four for several days. Seriously. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

Deborah is a very talented decorator also known as The Pillow Goddess. That is a link to her pretty website. And, you can learn more about her services there, as well.

Since time is a little tight just now, I’m taking this opportunity to update a post that is sorely out of date, being nearly six years old. But, it’s on a topic that’s had a fair amount of press in recent years.

You know.

And, that is the flush mount ceiling lights, fondly known as…




If for some reason, you are not familiar with this term, then perhaps, it will be more clear when you see this particular style of flush mount ceiling lighting

one common decorating mistakeAnd, to boot, they are ALWAYS cheap boobs, too. Seriously, do they really think that the plastic dome looks like alabaster?

Okay, before you take a gander at the image below, please be aware that what you are about to see WAS not intentional. Yes, It is freaky, for sure; but, IMO, a hilarious play of light, shadows and the canopy of the hanging pendants that creates a most interesting optical illusion.


The image below, (source unknown) went viral when it came out a few years ago. And, I think it’ll soon be clear why that was so.


boobs-breast ever ceiling lights


It was taken in a hotel (also unknown). But, it might’ve been a Breast Western.  Not sure.


I know that the vast majority of you will find this quite amusing. But, I also know that posting such a titillating ;] image such as this will quite likely give one or two of you license to tell me I’m being “tacky,” and/or “inappropriate,” “unprofessional.” etc.

You betcha! So no need to tell me what I already know. wink, wink.

However, let’s rather focus on the powerful lesson conveyed here. And, that is the lesson of understanding the power of lighting.


Okay, it’s time to stop this tomfoolery and get to the heart of the subject at hand.


Flush mount ceiling lights have been around for many years.

They are terrific in hallways, bathrooms, a small entry. And, even in a bedroom as a way to bring in some light, but with some caveats which we will address shortly.


What is a flush mount ceiling light?


A single source of light mounted flush to the ceiling in the middle of the room.


Or a flush-mount ceiling fixture. And, later on, we will see many terrific options to the boob light.


But, here’s the other issue with flush mount ceiling fixtures.


These lights tend to give off an unattractive, unflattering light. Plus, they generally create unpleasant shadows and glare. Thus, the light is cold and unappealing.

Quite frankly, if we are talking about a bedroom or a living type room, you do not need these type of lights. (unless you have more than one of them.)



Beautifully lit hallway with three flush mount ceiling fixtures. (source unknown)

The only exception is if they are in a very small space or narrow hall, like in the image above.  Halls and small bathrooms are different because the light doesn’t have far to go to bounce back.



Because light loves to bounce and if it has nothing to bounce off of, it gets stuck.


The more places it can bounce from, the better. So, a light that can bounce up, out and down is going to give you a better result for a beautifully lit room. Therefore, flush mount lights fare better in halls and small rooms like baths and laundry rooms.


However, in most cases, where the ceiling doesn’t permit more than a drop of 18″, I prefer a semi-flushmount which has a drop of some sort away from the ceiling.


The advantage to a fixture with a drop is that it usually has the chance to bounce in more directions.


And, that is what you want. The same principle holds true with table and floor lamps, most sconces, and chandeliers.


The worst is to have a single flush mount ceiling fixture in a room and nothing else. The light will not reach way into the corners and the corners are what need to be lit.


If you light the corners of the room, you will not need anything in the center because the light will bleed out into the center.


If you have this type of fixture in a bedroom, or other good-sized space, I would have it on a dimmer and then use table lamps, maybe a floor lamp or sconces for the primary lighting.

However, as stated earlier, these are wonderful fixtures for hallways.


And, by the way, your halls are not airport runways. ;]


What I mean is that you do not need a brightly lit hall. It only needs to be light enough to make you way down the hall. It is so much more appealing, I think to go into a more brightly lit room from a dim hallway.



Here is a popular drum-type semi-flush mount in a more open hall.


So, Laurel, how much space do you need between the bottom of the fixture and the floor?


Thank you, that is a very good question.

I think that seven feet is a perfectly safe clearance for 99.999% of us. Most people are not that tall. If you’re pretty confident that you won’t have anyone over 6′-6″, then you can safely have a fixture hang down 18″ from an eight-foot ceiling.

However, I would probably not cut it that finely, unless absolutely necessary.



This is a classic Bell lantern and is an example of a fixture you could use in an entry.

The entire fixture is almost 15″ tall, so should be okay for most people’s eight-foot entry.
Of course, if your ceiling is higher, it’s not a problem. If it’s higher than nine feet, then you can use a real lantern, or chandelier, the same as over a dining table. However, you’ll still need to be mindful of size with a nine-foot ceiling height.


Here is another version



This one is another version of this classic fixture by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort.




Okay… Yes, a true flush-mount and it doesn’t even have any lighting on the sides. But… it’s about the most stylish flush-mount I’ve ever seen and a client of mine ordered one for her bedroom and the natural brass finish is gorgeous!

And, I think maybe because of the bottom diffuser, the light is softer. It also comes in a larger version and in other finishes.



An interesting, but rather expensive fixture from Urban Electric.

I believe that you can order it in different finishes, but am not sure.



What a charming laundry room with a very popular fixture designed by the wonderful Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort. It comes in a variety of finishes and also comes in a pendant version. I see them a lot in kitchens.

If you missed the recent laundry room post, please check it out here.


Alecia Stevens beautiful white kitchen

Design by Alecia Stevens


sallysteponkusinteriors.com Alexa Hampton for visual comfort flush mount ceiling fixture

Sally Steponkus Interiors


Alexa Hampton for visual comfort flush mount ceiling fixture.

You will also see it in white, below in the widget.


@cookdesignhouse on instagram - Visual Comfort flush mount ceiling light@cookdesignhouse on instagram

Visual Comfort flush mount ceiling light in the larger size


via @3travelingbirds on instagram - schoohouse semi flush mount ceiling fixture hall

via @3travelingbirds on instagram

schoohouse semi flush mount ceiling fixture hall


Examples of Schoolhouse semi flush mount ceiling fixture options

I love the light fixtures at Schoohouse. They have fitters of a few different sizes and a wide variety of shades. You can see only a tiny percentage of the options above.


collier 22" 4 light semi flush mount ceiling light by Hinkley Lighting - 1800lighting

Collier 16″ 4 light semi flush mount ceiling light by Hinkley Lighting

(the 22″ is linked in the widget below)

1-800lighting.com has a wonderful feature (see screenshot above) for many of their fixtures where you can see the scale in a room. You can adjust the ceiling height and size of the room, as well as person. My person is 5′-7″


One of my favorite light fixtures of all-time is the Moravian star fixture.


They come in numerous configurations and even a fully flush-mount version.


Stella-9.75-Moravian-Star-Metal-Glass-LED-Pendant-Oil-Rubbed-Bronze-by-JONATHANIf possible, I prefer to use a semi flush mount version of the Moravian Star fixture. It’s not that this is bad, I just think it looks better to see the entire star.



Ceiling painted by decorative artist Chris Pearson. I can’t tell you how much I love the ceiling!



Lovely entry by Anisa Darnell



Olivia-indoor-outdoor star pendant by Pottery Barn


One, thing to watch out for with the Moravian Star and actually all ceiling Mount fixtures is that they are too big.


I saw an 18″ star hanging from an eight-foot ceiling on a popular blog and it was clearly too large for that ceiling height. I would say that max would be 12″ star plus the loop and maybe one link.

However, there is an exception to the rule.

And, that is if the fixture is over a center hall table.


Large Moravian star ceiling light over center hall table in entryIt’s difficult to tell without having more information about the rest of this beautiful space. It certainly makes for a dramatic entry.

So, I created this widget with a wide variety of flush mount and semi flush mount ceiling fixtures. Please click on the individual images for more information.



You may also enjoy these posts about lighting.

How To Coordinate Lighting That’s Smashing Not Boring.

A Favorite Lighting Source for Affordable Lighting.

My Kitchen Light Fixtures Are Driving Me Bonkers

How To Get Your Kitchen Lighting Right

Gorgeous Dining Room Lighting

Affordable Chandeliers

Fabulous Sconces

Table Lamps

Make Your Table Lamp Cords Disappear Like Magic


21 Flush Mount and Semi-Flush Mount Boob Light Alternatives

please pin to pinterest for reference


I hope that this post and sources will provide you with a lot of great information that will help get your lighting in an optimal state.


The last time I wrote this post was the day before my late brother’s birthday. He would be 71 this November. But, I want to honor him, still as I feel more than ever that he is with me. Here is what I said, back in February 2014.


Tomorrow is 2.13 and it’s my beautiful brother, Don’s 65th birthday. He passed away unexpectedly at the age of 38 from cardiac arrest (he was a runner) some 26 years ago. He’s always with me though. After he passed, I inherited a bit of money and with it, I enrolled at the New York School of Interior Design back in 1988. Sometimes our darkest moments turn out to be some of our greatest blessings.

Much love to all,


In loving memory of Donald Irving Bern February 13, 1949 – September 11, 1987


P.S. – Please check out the newly updated Hot Sales

PPS – I am leaving comment moderation off. However, I will be checking from time to time. Please remember that I do not allow comments which are mean spirited. I put my heart and soul into this blog And, it’s fine if you don’t like what I have to say. Don’t read it. If you enjoy it and wish to make a constructive comment, that is always welcome!


  • Emily - October 17, 2019 - 4:04 PM

    Hi Laurel, I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and love it! My partner and I bought our first house a few months ago- a colonial revival built in the 1960s. Most of the things in the house were good quality or at least well designed when we moved in. However- the ceiling lights in the hallway are really odd. At some point (construction? renovation?) the previous owners wanted recessed lights in the dark hallways, and I think it was before can lights were a thing. Their solution apparently was to use square recessed bathroom lights in the hallway! It’s so ugly. To put up a regular flush or semi flush mount we’re going to have to get a kit to convert recessed lights to flush lights, and we’ll have to do something about the square shaped hole in the (popcorn) ceiling. We’re stuck with bathroom lights in the hallways for now in this otherwise great house!

    Also thank you for the validation. I’m no interior designer but I’ve been telling my partner since we started dating how I can’t stand when overhead light is the only light in a room. He thinks I’m crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Michi - October 17, 2019 - 2:42 PM

    Breast Western 🤣
    So happy to hear you had a lovely time (I think I know why).ReplyCancel

  • Christine - October 17, 2019 - 2:10 PM

    The light fixtures in the first hallway photo are from Restoration Hardware Heath collection. I bought several of them for an office hallway and they didn’t last more than a year. Poor quality, but looked nice.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Briske - October 17, 2019 - 11:10 AM

    Laurel, I was so happy to see you are in Austin but so disappointed in not meeting you. You are a star! If you do have a pop up seminar as Arlene was mentioning please count me in. I hope you have a wonderful time here.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - October 17, 2019 - 12:57 AM

    Welcome to Austin Laurel! I adore your blog and I never miss a post. I am a local “grandmillenial” (have you heard of this term?! I love it. Blog post idea?) and I look forward to your posts every week. I have a boob light connected to the fan above my bed and it makes me crazy. Alas it is very hot and I need the fan and I want to spend my money in my living room. It could be worse… ie “Breast Western.” HA! I hope you have a wonderful time here in Austin!ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - October 16, 2019 - 11:57 PM

    I would like to second the request from Macbride Teri – lightbulbs. They replaced all the fixture lights in my apartment complex with LED daylight bulbs. Just hideous. I looked 10 years older overnight; I replaced the ones in the bathroom with the original old style ones so I could face the mirror. There are so many choices now. It’s hard to know what to buy for the best ambient lighting.ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - October 16, 2019 - 11:37 PM

    Hi, Laurel! Just this week I finally found a handyperson to replace almost all of our home’s lighting, almost all flush mounts. And we put it the first fixture on the top of your widget! It is truly handsome, and the crystal near the top is so pretty (but you can only see it from a little distance away). I looked at so many of the ones you show here, plus what seemed like a million others, as I restricted myself to shopping “open box” items to keep our budget in line. I made a few mistakes (one too-small but gorgeous light over a table), but overall, I’m so happy with my new, non-boob lights! So glad you’ve been having happy travels.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - October 16, 2019 - 8:52 PM

    LOL. I only have three boobies in my home: walk in closet, hall from garage and laundry room. I have been looking at retirement homes — in my price range, they are filled with boobies. I laugh and laugh. Thankfully, there are also inexpensive alternatives.

    I am going to offend some future real estate agent by constantly pointing out the boobies.

    Have fun on your trip.

    I am sorry to hear that your brother left you so early in your lives.ReplyCancel

  • Debra McAnd - October 16, 2019 - 7:52 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I’ve been a fan of your blog for years and its a highlight in my day when I see a new post. I too love interior decorating and its possibilities for beauty. Please come visit Alexandria, VA (and stay with me, of course). I live close to the metro and I will take you to all of the great museums in Washington DC. I am also looking for a BFF for trips to England and France!ReplyCancel

  • Anita Lynn - October 16, 2019 - 5:55 PM

    Welcome to Austin, Laurel! (Well, now I can’t officially claim it anymore, since we moved to the hill country after over 40 years in Austin, but we still own our house there.) I didn’t know that “boob lights” were a faux pas when I put a few in the Austin house, but now that I know the error of my ways, no boob lights in the new house 😉ReplyCancel

  • Sheri Bruneau - October 16, 2019 - 4:58 PM

    Laurel, I absolutley adore the Moravian Star. My brother and sister-in-law are both ministers in the Moravian church and I grew up a Moravian. We have a Christmas star we hang up every Christmas (starting with Advent). When we built our home I had an outlet centred on our main floor window with a switch. Every walkthrough I had to explain that it was not a mistake – the it was for a Christmas Moravian star! So happy to see it in your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - October 16, 2019 - 3:58 PM

    I had been searching your page for an entry on flush mounts!! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Whitney - October 16, 2019 - 3:48 PM

    That made me laugh out loud and not just a little.ReplyCancel

  • JW - October 16, 2019 - 2:07 PM

    Ugh, I have never heard of boob lights before and now that you have enlightened me, I can’t look at the light over my kitchen table anymore! 😉 My husband is going to be so excited (not) when I tell him why we have to immediately change out three light fixtures! They were on the to-do list (the light from them gives me a headache) but they just moved to the top of the list.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - October 16, 2019 - 2:04 PM

    Hello Laurel, One problem with overhead bedroom lights is that if you read in bed, they shine into your eyes. At home I have a Rube-Goldbergesque arrangement of switches and wires so that I can control a table lamp from inside the (quite necessary) mosquito net. (Yes, I know about remote switches, but with all the mysterious signals flying through the air lately, they tend to turn themselves on in the middle of the night.)

    Another consideration of flush vs. pendant lights is that pendant lights can be used to arrest or redirect the gaze, and can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of a room.

  • Val - October 16, 2019 - 1:11 PM

    Laurel, for your mother and brother, I’m so sorry for your loss! I love you! And this post is amazing!!! The name is so smashing and exactly what I think when I see this type of lighting lol. And I reread your old post very often, so I’m thankful for it’s new version. It’s so educational for me to read what works and what not and why…and go into details. Thank you, Laurel!!! I truly enjoyed it.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon - October 16, 2019 - 11:48 AM

    I have three of the Moravian Star lights and love the look, but they get dusty inside and are pretty much impossible to clean!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Rideout - October 16, 2019 - 11:35 AM

    Have fun in Texas! I have several boob lights in my rental, can’t wait until I am a homeowner again!!! Someone else mentioned it but please do a post on light bulbs!ReplyCancel

  • Arlene - October 16, 2019 - 10:05 AM

    Welcome to Austin! Love 💕 your blogs. If you do a quick pop up seminar while in the great state……count me in.
    Arlene from AustinReplyCancel

  • Terry H Peacock - October 16, 2019 - 9:37 AM

    Gosh – I really want to go to HAPPY HOUR with you! What a HOOT:)

    Blessings 2 U in Texas!ReplyCancel

  • Em - October 16, 2019 - 9:21 AM

    Oh wow!!! PERFECT timing!! I’ve been visiting the original post a lot lately.

    We recently spent an annual weekend in Bethlehem Pa, where the Moravian Star is everywhere. Quite lovely, so I thought it would be great to bring it back home.

    BUT…had so many questions about size (who says “size doesn’t matter”😉) that you JUST answered for me!! THANK YOU.

    PS…happy for you and your trip(s)…and the “Breast Western,” hilarious!ReplyCancel

  • Janet Knowlton - October 16, 2019 - 8:59 AM

    I am having this very issue right now. We did a major renovation and my contractor put in an electrical box in the middle of my living room. I have not been able to find anything for months now that will work because the ceiling is 8’ tall. You say not to put these in the living room but I need to find something so we don’t have just a white plate. Had I known how difficult it was to find an alternative to the boob light I would never have let him put this in! I have been looking so hard for the perfect light to tie it all together! Good timing on your post!ReplyCancel

  • Mary T - October 16, 2019 - 8:39 AM

    LOL! Breast Western hotel!! If that’s tacky and unprofessional, I love it.
    That lovely alabaster boob light was probably the exact one we put on the landing to the basement in our last house. It replaced a bare bulb so I guess it was an upgrade. Thank heavens there was a door to the basement so it wasn’t visible most of the time. Those quick trips to Home Depot can equate to big decorating faux pas!ReplyCancel

  • Ivis - October 16, 2019 - 8:29 AM

    I am sure that you brother is with you and so proud of what you have created with his help! Enjoy your time in Austin. Happy for you! As for boob lights, two down, three to go…ReplyCancel

  • Susan - October 16, 2019 - 8:26 AM

    Woohoo Laurel 😉
    Loved the Moravian star pendant so much the last time you featured them in your blog that I bought one for my side door entry hallway.
    Now does anyone have tips on how to clean those little buggers?ReplyCancel

  • Renae - October 16, 2019 - 8:05 AM

    I enjoyed your post on “boob” lights. It’s not my first read on this topic from you, but once you see it, you can’t un-see it! You can imagine my surprise when I came home from a weekend away and my dear husband had replaced a bad fixture with a new…you guess…”boob” light. We had a good laugh and I showed him your post straight-away. It will probably be the last boob light he ever buys!ReplyCancel

  • Susanamantha - October 16, 2019 - 7:40 AM

    One thing to remember about choosing ceiling fixtures is to check on how easy it would be to change the light bulb. We have some in our hall that require not just a stepladder but 4 hands. With LED bulbs that should solve the problem for a few years. These are hall lights that aren’t on for more than a few minutes each day, if then. .ReplyCancel

  • Julianna Mathers - October 16, 2019 - 7:38 AM

    Laurel, welcome to Texas! We need more Laurel down here. Sometimes I think you’re in my head. I was just in Raleigh North Carolina helping my best friend update her new home and we were just having this chat about boob lights. Thank you for providing some beautiful alternatives. Also I am reading between the lines and I am so happy for your glorious weekend, you beautiful soul!ReplyCancel

  • MacBride Teri - October 16, 2019 - 6:58 AM

    I enjoyed this post and need more helpful information about wattage and type of light. Please tell us what you think of various light colors, how to select bulbs, LED and other light types. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - October 16, 2019 - 6:40 AM

    I’d just like to say how much I appreciate posts like this one. When you clearly explain why something works or doesn’t work, it gives me the tools I need to make small improvements in my home and life. Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Connie - October 16, 2019 - 5:01 AM

    This was such a fun post! I’m glad you are happy and that you are enjoying Texas. I’m from there, originally. One day I looked around my house and noticed all the boob lights, though I didn’t know anyone called them that but me! Got rid of them as soon as I could.

    And as far as I’m concerned, all those people with no sense of humor can just move on! Take care,