Track lighting is very much what it sounds like: a track that screws into your ceiling and provides power for a series of independent lights that are suspended from it. Lights can be placed anywhere along the track and directed in a variety of angles. Track lighting is great for calling attention to a specific workspace, piece of artwork, doorway or architectural detail. If, however, you are looking for general illumination to light up an entire space, a standard ceiling fixture will cast a more dispersed glow.

Types of Tracks
The most basic type of track lighting systems are those that consist of a straight line- voltage track that holds the lighting fixtures. These tracks can come in one of three configurations: H, J or L style, which refers to the way in which the track is shaped internally. When buying new track lighting or replacing fixtures along an existing track, make sure the lights you choose match your track style.
Another popular system is the monorail track. This can come in a variety of styles, but at its most basic, consists of a custom-formed track from which lights are suspended. So if you have a curvy kitchen island, for example, you can get a monorail system that would follow its contours. There are pre-formed monorail systems, those you can flex yourself (called flexrail) and those that are dropped down from the ceiling via a series of connectors (called suspended monorail). There are also two-circuit monorail systems that allow you to work some lights with one switch and others with a second switch. In such a system, you could have one circuit operate spotlights aimed at particular areas while another could light pendants for dispersed ambient light.

The lights that sit along the rail in a track lighting system are known as track heads and are available in styles as wide as those found for ceiling fixtures. You’ll find spot lights, drop-down pendants with gorgeous glass shades, flexible-arm track heads, and much more. If you already have a track lighting system in your home, you can refresh it by just swapping out the track heads; just make sure you purchase new lights at the correct voltage and for the same style track.

If you already have a ceiling light fixture, track lights are easy to install. Simply remove the old fixture, screw the track into the ceiling using toggle bolts or other appropriate anchors, connect the new track to the electrical box, snap your lights in place and enjoy the fun of moving them around to get the lighting in your room exactly the way you want it!