Recessed lighting is the first choice for many lighting designers. Why? Because it provides an even level of light throughout the home or office, which, combined with dimmers and other light sources, allows you to create the perfect illumination for any activity. Another benefit of recessed lighting is that it never goes out of style. Recessed lighting trims are designed to blend with ceiling colors and rarely used as a design element. Properly specified and installed, recessed lighting provides pleasing light levels without drawing attention to itself. Recessed lighting can also be used to “spotlight” particular features in a room. For example, in a formal dining room setting, place halogen narrow beam recessed lighting on either side of a chandelier for a sparkling effect on fine glass, china and silver. Wide spacing or narrow beam recessed lighting in a room can create a dramatic lighting effect.
If you are planning to install recessed lighting in an existing ceiling that has no fixtures, there are a few basic questions that any lighting specialist will need you to answer.
1) Is there insulation in the ceiling? If so, you will need to purchase IC recessed cans.
2) Do you have access to the ceiling from above or will you be cutting into the ceiling from below? This will impact the type of cans you choose.
3) How high are the ceilings? This will help determine what size aperture fixture to use.
4) Do you want general illumination or do you want to spotlight architectural features or artwork? This will affect placement of your fixtures and bulb type.
Installing new recessed lighting is also an opportunity to save on your electricity bills. LED technology is much more efficient than incandescent and does not generate heat build-up which can drive up air conditioning costs in the summer. LED bulbs also last at least 25,000 to 50,000 hours – which means that you will most likely never have to replace your LED lighting.
Tips for planning recessed lighting
1) To determine where to put your recessed lights, figure out first what in the room needs to be lit: task, work, entertainment, art, architectural, etc.
2) Match the size of your recessed lighting fixtures to how close together they should be installed. The common rule is that 4-inch fixtures should generally be placed at least 4 feet apart and 6-inch fixtures about 6 feet apart.
3) Avoid recessed lighting fixtures placed too close together or in rows down the center of the room. This type of installation can have the look of an airport runway.
4) Whether you choose fixtures with standard line voltage, low voltage halogen, LED or fluorescent fixtures, the basic sizes are 4-, 5-, or 6-inches in diameter. The 6-inch fixtures can be used in tall entryways or two-story hallways, while the smaller 4-inch sizes work better in smaller spaces since they have a sleeker, contemporary look with minimal intrusion.
5) To adequately illuminate a kitchen with incandescent bulbs, you should allow about three watts per square foot. Take the total square feet of your kitchen and multiply by three to determine the total wattage needed.
6) Use recessed cans and adjustable trims to direct lighting toward artwork, bookshelves, fireplaces or kitchen counters. Adjustable recessed lighting can also be used on sloped ceilings.