28th Nov 2022 -

Alongside the ceiling tiles within a suspended ceiling system, you will also find suspended ceiling lights. These can either be the same shape and size as the tiles, fixed into the grid in the same fashion, or they can be separate lights that are attached to or fixed within the tiles.

There are several types of lights available for suspended ceilings in a broad range of styles. Proper lighting is essential for all spaces, particularly public buildings such as offices, exhibition halls, or schools. In this section, we provide a quick overview of the options available for suspended ceiling lights. 

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Types of Suspended Ceiling Lights

LED Ceiling Lights 

LED Ceiling Lights

LED panel lights are an energy-efficient option for suspended ceilings and are designed to fit into a grid much like a regular tile. They are thin and lightweight, which means they do not require any further or additional support. LED lighting tiles come in a range of lumens, depending on your needs and are quick and easy to install. The main benefit offered by LED panel lights is they are flicker-free, and have a low energy usage. 

LED lights come in three main colour temperatures, 4000k, 5000k, and 6000k, allowing for different lighting schemes.  

4000k is a more neutral colour. It is often used in offices, salons, kitchens, and schools. 4000k has a warm effect and is bright enough to work under and perfect for everything from commercial settings to dining rooms. 

6000k is a colder white effect. This is used in places where visibility is most important, like warehouses, dentist's offices, and hospitals. 

LED lights for suspended ceilings tend to be universal in style, with a thin metal border surrounding a square light, which allows them to fit seamlessly within a suspended ceiling.

LED Sky Panels

LED Sky Panels

Another option for LED suspended ceiling lights is LED sky ceilings, a recent innovation in the office and retail arena. An LED sky ceiling shows a still image, often of nature or clouds, on an LED panel lit at the same colour temperature of daylight. 

A series of LED sky ceiling panels can be planned out to give the impression of a large skylight. These can be used in places like office boardrooms, restaurants, and nightclubs. You can select an image from a database, or even provide your own. 

A drawback of LED sky ceiling panels is their cost, an entry-level 1200mm by 1200mm tile will set you back around £5,000, with much higher prices for sets, or custom images.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed Lighting

These panels fit into the suspended ceiling grids much like the LED lights. They provide a bright light output while being low glare due to their protective covering, or ‘parabolic louvres’. 

Recessed fluorescent lights can hold multiple fluorescent bulbs depending on the design. They are lightweight and designed to hang in suspended ceilings. Unlike LEDs, the bulbs can easily be replaced if required. 

It is worth considering that some people may find that using computer screens alongside fluorescent lights can cause eye strain and headaches. This may not make them an ideal choice for office environments.

By securing lights directly to the ceiling grid, it is possible to install larger lights onto a suspended ceiling. You can either leave the square of the grid empty or cut a hole for the light within a ceiling tile. This gives you more options and allows for larger and more powerful lights. 


Suspended ceiling lights

Another option for recessed lighting is pattresses, which are plywood squares that can either be cut using a utility knife or ordered pre-cut. 

They function as backing support for ceiling tiles in suspended ceilings and help support the weight of the fittings. This same method can also be applied to smoke detectors and ceiling speakers.

The common style of recessed fluorescent light panels for suspended ceilings would be a 600mm by 600mm tile with four fluorescent light bulbs. There is a choice of light diffuser grids on top of this, from the popular eggcrate to prismatic opal or crushed ice. Eggcrate helps scatter light and reduce glare, better for workspaces. Prismatic opal creates the softest light of any diffuser, helpful for an office using screens. 

There is a far greater range in styles and lights once you move away from tiles and into fitted lights or lights supported by pattresses. LED recessed light fixtures are a good choice, due to their comparatively low heat. Prioritising lower weight is still important, though some recessed lights will be specifically designed to attach to the suspended ceiling grid. Emergency lights can also be installed into a suspended ceiling using pattresses. 

Where to Put Your Suspended Ceiling Lights

It is worth using a blueprint of your room or space to help plan out where and how many suspended ceiling lights you want to install. It is also worth considering the strength of the suspended ceiling lights you will be using. You will want an even distribution of light within your room, and having lights about three feet away from the wall will help avoid shadows in the corners of your room. 

Fitting suspended ceiling lights with a dimmer light switch can be useful to help adjust your lighting system to the perfect ambience.

How to Install Suspended Ceiling Light Fixtures

LED light panels and recessed fluorescent light installation are relatively simple, though you will have to wire them to the mains above the suspended ceiling before you install the lights. Always consult a certified electrician before carrying out electrical works and where necessary you will need to pay for a professional to complete the work for you. 

The panels are easy to remove and insert and once they’ve been wired you can easily slot them into your ceiling grid.  

When installing recessed lights, you will have to be guided by the specific instructions of the lights you use, such as connecting them to the ceiling grids. 

For Pattresses, it is worth taking out surrounding tiles to more easily attach the pattress over the ceiling tile.


There are two main types of suspended ceiling lights, LED and fluorescent. LED ceiling lights are more often used in contemporary suspended ceilings due to their ease of use, long life, and lack of flickering.

Our Range of Quality Suspended Ceiling Lights

At Building Materials Nationwide, we offer an extensive selection of suspended ceiling lights to meet any commercial lighting need. With a vast array of styles from sleek and modern LED panels to classic fluorescent tubes, we have the right lights to perfectly illuminate any space.

For contractors and electricians, we offer professional trade accounts to make installing ceiling lights easy. Our trade account holders get their own project manager who can assist with large or custom orders. This includes finding products not on our site from our supplier network. Sign up for a professional account now or tell us your project details using the contact form so we can set you up with the ideal lights.

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