Guide to recessed lights and recessed lighting design
Recessed lighting has numerous benefits: it provides powerful illumination, saves ceiling space and is easy to install. It is also versatile enough to be used to great effect in any room in your home, from the bathroom or basement to the living room or kitchen. Recessed lights can also be outfitted with special bulb housings that allow you to move the light, in case you'd like to change the angle to highlight certain features of the room.
Recessed Lighting Design Tips
Conventional wisdom suggests that you should avoid placing your recessed lights in tightly grouped clusters. Most interior design gurus also hold to the principle that recessed lighting should be scattered across your ceiling rather than running down the middle of it. A good rule of thumb is to allow 1 foot of space between lights for every 1 inch in light size. For example, you should allow at least 4 feet of space between each 4-inch recessed light.
Also, keep in mind that recessed lighting has a more modern rather than traditional appeal. While you can subtly integrate recessed lights into rooms with more formal decor, they tend not to blend well with ornate lighting fixtures like chandeliers.
Finally, you should know about the different types of recessed lights and the specific ways in which they are used. Downlights are the near-universal standard seen in homes today; they are typically paired with dimmers and usually have directional capabilities that allow you to create a customized lighting array. Troffer lights are recessed lighting fixtures which usually come in the form of elongated rectangles. You can use them if you want focused, high-intensity light in a certain part of a room. Finally, cove lights are indirect recessed lights with hidden fixtures, and are typically placed in ceiling vaults and valences.
Four Steps to Install Recessed Lighting
Installing recessed lighting is an involved project, but one that can be accomplished if you have some basic electrical know-how. First, you should know that you can use existing wires in your ceiling for your recessed lights; just take out the lighting fixtures that are already there. However, you will need to install a separate switch for your new recessed lights, and you'll have to wire the new switch back to your home's electrical panel.
Next, you'll hang the individual pot fixtures of the recessed lights and install the wires. The manufacturer will provide you with detailed instructions on how to do this safely, though you should enlist professional help if you're uncertain of your ability to wire your lights properly.