Most homes in the UK are built with single pendant light fixtures. Generally this means one or two in each room and other than putting a new lampshade on them, there is not very much which can be done to make them look any better. This is where track lighting comes in. These systems allow you to transform the look of your room, without having to do any damage to your ceiling and with the minimum of help from an electrician.
Track lighting is simply a way of getting the power from a single lighting point to travel along and reach several lights in a row. Each of these lights can then be pointed in different directions to offer directional lighting which a single pendant could never offer.
All track lighting systems will require a track or rail, suspension fittings or brackets and connectors if you want to connect more than one rail together. Your electrician will also need a power feed. Then you can choose which lamps you want to hang from your rail or track.
Usually the wires which carry the current to each light are hidden behind metal or even plastic tracks. These can come in different colours and sizes and can even be curricular or square. The tracks can hang down or will snake across the ceiling in waves or curves. They add a modern look to any home with the minimum of fuss.
Generally track lighting will use the usual household low energy bulbs, unless you are fitting a low voltage system complete with transformer. The latter usually use 12 volt lamps, which tend to last longer and offer a different sort of light.
If you want a minimalist look then you can dispense with the track idea and go for a tram wire type of lighting system. These low voltage kits have a transformer mounted in the ceiling void and the supply runs along two parallel wires. The lamp fittings, of which there are countless styles and designs, simply hang from these wires.
Unless you are sufficiently experienced and knowledgeable, you will need an electrician to help you install your track or tram lighting, but it is an easy and quick job.
A track lighting system with everything you need to hang three lights from the ceiling will cost around £50 - £70. High quality systems with metal tracks, tram wire lighting systems and special lamps can cost considerably more. Some individual lamps or hanging pendants can cost up to £100 each.
Obviously your imagination will set the limits of what you can achieve with track lighting and the designs are limitless. These days the almost industrial look of having tracks or tram wires running across your ceiling is actually very fashionable and practical.