When T. Edison invented the incandescent lamp, having a miracle of technology and an outlandish novelty in the house was considered a great luxury. Only about one and a half hundred years have passed since then, but humanity has become much more demanding. Just one light bulb or chandelier in the center of the ceiling is often not enough. Lighting began to play not only a functional, but also a decorative role, to emphasize the features of the interior, to divide the space into zones. This is a whole science! When it comes to an ordinary ceiling, you can use any lamps, but with tension structures, everything is somewhat more complicated. Here you need to take into account their features and try to maximize the beauty of the surface. It’s time to figure out which stretch ceiling lamps to choose, how to arrange them and which bulbs to use.
# 1. What features of a stretch ceiling should be considered?
If we take into account some of the nuances, then lighting devices of any shape and type can be used with a stretch ceiling. The fabric of tension structures is made of fabric or film. The fabric is more resistant to temperature influences, but the film, with constant heating above 600C, can turn yellow, crack and lose elasticity.
In order for the stretch ceiling to last as long as possible, consider the following nuances when choosing lamps:
- luminaires should emit a small amount of heat;
- it is better to use energy-saving and LED lamps, which are characterized by minimal heating during operation;
- if incandescent lamps are indispensable, then their maximum power should be 60 watts. Maximum power of halogen lamps – 30 W;
- for incandescent and halogen lamps, there is also a limitation on the distance from the ceiling surface – this is 30 cm, and preferably 40 cm.
The installation scheme for all lamps must be thought out in advance. In this case, it will be possible to effectively carry out preparatory work and mount all the necessary fasteners. The luminaires will not be attached to the canvas of the tensioning structure, but to the main ceiling, and the necessary holes are simply made in the canvas itself, which are then neatly made out. Thermal insulating rings become additional protection of the web from overheating.
# 2. What kind of stretch ceiling lamps are there?
All lamps that are used in conjunction with stretch ceilings can be divided into the following types:
The chandelier in the center of the ceiling is a classic of the genre. It can be made in the form of a plate, be on a long hanger, or it can consist of several hanging shades arranged in a row. If you plan to use incandescent or halogen bulbs, keep in mind safe wattage and distance. In addition, it is desirable that the design features of the chandelier be such that the shades, together with the lamps, are directed sideways or down, but not towards the ceiling. You can use plate chandeliers with stretch ceilings, but you will have to buy fluorescent or LED bulbs. In principle, when using lamps that do not heat up, the design of the lamp can be absolutely any – fortunately, the choice in stores is so huge that you can get confused and confused.
A problem can arise if you want to install a luxurious crystal chandelier on a suspension. Candle lamps of such a chandelier will almost rest against the ceiling. Of course, you can install conditionally cold energy-saving lamps, but crystal looks best only under the light of ordinary incandescent lamps. The only way out is to increase the length of the suspension in order to achieve a safe distance between the lamps and the ceiling of 30-40 cm, but this is possible only when the ceilings in the apartment are high enough.
If you have a glossy ceiling installed, in which, like in a mirror, everything is reflected well, then when choosing a chandelier, you should pay attention to how it looks from all sides, since the reflection will clearly see the part that is usually not for us visible.
Spotlights and stretch ceilings have already become an inseparable pair, since their combination looks, indeed, very attractive. Such lamps can be used as the main light if there are a lot of them in the room, but they are usually installed to illuminate some area in the room. Spotlights save when the ceiling height is critically low. They have a low angle of light scattering (about 30 degrees), therefore, for normal illumination of a room or part of it, you need to install 1 device for every 1.5-2 m2 of area. In shape and size, such lamps can be anything – the choice is extremely large.
Spotlights can be installed:
above ceiling level, provided that light-transmitting sheeting is used. Thanks to this arrangement, you can achieve a soft ceiling lighting from above or a flickering effect, you can also create various lighting effects;
- at the level of the ceiling, when the luminaire and the ceiling form one flat solid surface;
- just below the level when using lamps with a protruding bulb. If you choose the appropriate design, you can change the angle of incidence of light by tilting the lamp.
The LED strip is mainly used for decorative purposes. It consumes a minimum of energy, gives a soft cozy glow and is usually mounted along the contour of the ceiling, between the skirting board and the ceiling, or used to highlight individual elements.
Another option for decorative lighting is the so-called “starry sky”. The technology allows you to perfectly simulate the glow and twinkling of the stars, so an incredible atmosphere is created in the room. Such lighting is realized thanks to fiber-optic LED filaments, which are connected to a light generator located above the tension structure. LEDs may not be output through the ceiling and project light onto the inner surface of the ceiling: during the day, the ceiling remains absolutely smooth, and at night, magic ensues. Another option is to bring out the ends of the LED filaments. The most expensive option is to embed diodes in Swarovski stones, thanks to which the light begins to refract especially beautifully, perfectly imitating radiant stars.
Separately, we highlight raster lamps, which are easy to recognize by their characteristic cellular metal structure. Typically, such lamps are used in suspended ceilings, but sometimes they are found in tension structures, although they are still a rarity. This is a more office and austere option that will only look appropriate in large rooms.
It is not necessary to dwell on only one lighting option: the chandelier can be combined with spotlights or LED strips, and spotlights can be installed together with the “starry sky”.
No. 3. Fixture type
Installation of lamps is done by hand or with the assistance of specialists – it all depends on your skills and the complexity of the work.
Chandeliers are mounted in one of the following ways:
the ceiling version involves the installation of a reinforcing strip even before the installation of the canvas, then the lamp is attached to the base with self-tapping screws. This is not a very popular option;
pendant mount for mounting chandeliers is used more often. Before installing the canvas, you will need to fix a hook from the fittings at the installation site of the future chandelier. After the tensioning structure is mounted, a chandelier is hung on the hook. A hole is made in the canvas in the appropriate place, which is then reinforced with a special ring.
Spotlights by the method of installation are:
overhead lamps. Before their installation, the adjustable racks are mounted and the power supply is supplied. After the canvas is stretched, thermal rings are installed, which will prevent heat transfer between the lamps and the film. You can install rotary and non-rotary models, externally they will be slightly below the ceiling level;
recessed luminaires are installed in a similar way, but at the same time form one plane with the canvas. Such products are distinguished by a spring-type fastening: after the lamp is installed in a pre-prepared hole, the spring straightens, which allows it to press tightly against the ceiling. Externally, the luminaire is decorated with a decorative cover. For recessed luminaires, a technical gap of about 7 cm must be provided between the stretch ceiling and the main ceiling.
No. 4. Types of lamps, or Which light source is better
Lamps in stretch ceilings can be supplied with any light sources, but this does not negate the need to weigh the pros and cons of all options and choose the optimal one:
Incandescent lamps are the most wasteful of all. They have a low efficiency, therefore most of the energy is converted into heat, which imposes restrictions on their use together with film stretch ceilings. Such lamps are usually installed in pendant chandeliers, but you need to remember about the power limitation: this is 60 W, but some recommend using lamps no more powerful than 45 W. Such lamps are usually not placed in spotlights, but if you have a fabric stretch ceiling, then you can find a compromise and take a mirror-coated light bulb;
halogen lamps are somewhat more economical than incandescent lamps, they give bright and intense light, but are limited in terms of the color spectrum of radiation. Such lamps emit less heat, last twice as long as conventional incandescent lamps, but they are still best used in suspended structures. Usually, along with halogen lamps, an additional transformer is required, but such lamps, when installed with a heat reflector forward, allow you to create interesting visual effects;
energy-saving fluorescent lamps just by their name suggest that they use energy sparingly. In addition, they are durable and do not overheat, so they can be installed in pendant, surface-mounted and recessed luminaires. Such lamps are relatively large, so they may not be installed in every luminaire. If the luminaire is located so that it constantly falls into the field of view, then it is better to choose a dark light reflector lamp with a soft light beam;
LED lamps are one of the most modern solutions today. In them, electricity is immediately transformed into light radiation, due to which high efficiency and durability are achieved. LED lamps are several times more economical than incandescent lamps, and a couple of times more economical than fluorescent lamps. Some manufacturers give a guarantee for their products up to 10 years. In addition, these lamps practically do not heat up, are available in different colors and have a soft light without flickering effect. As a rule, the LED light source is already built into the luminaire – these are reliable, more durable and economical products, but then the entire luminaire will have to be replaced, not just the bulb. You can find lamps in which the replacement of the LED element is allowed: you can always replace the lamp with a more powerful one, although the durability of such products is lower;
fiber optic strands are used only to create a “starry sky” effect. They are characterized by low heat transfer, but they do not give much light – this is decorative lighting. Fiber optics are not cheap, they are durable, and thanks to the various attachments, they can simulate flickering or flames on the ceiling.
It is best to combine different types of lamps and lamps: this will make it easier to create the necessary lighting in each area of the room, quickly change the setting and highlight individual parts of the space. To have complete control over the light, you can equip the luminaires with a rheostat and adjust the light intensity.