Recessed Lighting 101

Recessed Lighting 101

What it is: Recessed lighting, sometimes known as recessed cans or may light, is installed inside the ceiling instead of on the ceiling surface. It has two main components: casing, the space where the bulb matches, and trim, the finished edge that sits around the ceiling.

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The kind of home is dependent upon the ceiling material and insulation, and if the lights are installed during new construction or a remodel. There are specially designed housings to fit ceilings that angle up or down. Trim is largely a matter of personal taste and suitability with the d├ęcor.

Downlights, as the title suggest, beam light directly downward, while eyeball-style fixtures pivot inside their housing. Depending on where you need light concentrated, you can choose one, the other or a combination for your space. If you are installing them at a damp space, like a toilet, basement or covered outdoor living space, be sure you choose models that are rated for moisture.

When to use it : Recessed lighting is frequently used for accent lighting rather than as the only light source for a room. Because it is so discreet (when done well, that is), it marries well with clean, contemporary or minimalist interiors. However, there is no style for which recessed lighting looks really ill satisfied.

It may offer task illumination in kitchens and bathrooms, and can highlight a gallery wall or a stunning piece of artwork. If you’ve got a statement light fixture like a chandelier, but want extra downlighting to decorate the room, recessed lighting include illumination without stealing the fixture’s limelight.

When not to use it when you’ve got a ceiling with detailed plasterwork, ornamental coffers or a painted or papered theme, recessed lighting may detract from its beauty — you may not want ceiling fixtures in any way. There is also A ceiling that is concreten’t the ideal fit for recessed lighting.

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How many you are going to want: It’s easy to go overboard and plan for way more recessed lighting than you require, resulting in the dreaded “Swiss cheese ceiling” look. Consider several factors: which areas you want to illuminate, how much light floods the distance already, how much visibility you need (a media room versus a kitchen, by way of instance), the wattage of the bulbs you’ll use and the height and square footage of your ceiling.

The size and spacing of recessed lighting depends completely on your individual space and the result you need — there is no universal solution. One general rule of thumb is to put 4-inch lights 4 feet apart and 6-inch lights 6 feet apart. Generally, you’ll want to mount them 12 to 18 inches in front of the region you need to illuminate. Consult an attorney for information regarding your particular situation.

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Special concerns: One important factor is the electrical load of your circuit. If you want to have more lights in the present circuitry can handle an electrician will be able to help you devise a safe solution. If you’d like to be able to control the quantity of light through the day and evening, add dimmers.

Price: Again, this varies widely based upon your space. However, as a rule, you can program on roughly $100 to $150 per fixture for a simple version, including materials and skilled installation. Prices go up from there.


Ledra 12 LED Recessed Light by Bruck Lighting Systems – $238.40

The metal casing with this version from Bruck Lighting, available through Lumens, lends a compact, modern texture.


Easy Recessed Light by Fabbian – $115.20

A drum-style glass color gives the Fabbian Easy Recessed Light, too from Lumens, a profile. Additionally, it comes in many recessed home styles.


Leucos | Plain Small Semi Flush Ceiling Light – $148

A hand-molded, etched glass diffuser beams light down to get a gentle glow. The fixture comes in four colors: clear crystal (shown), satin white, amethyst and light blue.


Leucos Hera2-Non IC-CFL-B Hera Energy Saving Recessed Can Light – $196

This version features a poured-glass diffuser and fully remodeled home. Available colors include clear crystal, cobalt blue, jade green, Nile green/aqua, light blue, rose and lace white (shown).

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