Recessed light is a little trickier to install than standard light fixtures but the end result, both in style and function, pays off in the end. Before buying, however, it’s important to assess the area and determine exactly what size and style of lighting will deliver the result you’re looking for. As with all lighting, recessed lighting has its own pluses and minuses, so we’ve put together a few things to consider before you begin.
The most common reason for choosing recessed lighting is a low ceiling (usually eight feet). It’s likely that you have a low ceiling somewhere in your home, maybe in the basement, bathroom, or in a section of the kitchen, that could benefit from recessed lighting to make the area feel more open and airy. Recessed lights also open up surface space that might otherwise be used for lamps. Even if you don’t have a low ceiling, you don’t necessarily have to opt for a chandelier or dome light — a set of recessed lights in a high-ceiling space can be an chic and modern upgrade, and many people actually use recessed lights strictly for aesthetic purposes.
Other Factors to Consider with Recessed Lighting
Even though each recessed light provides only a single bulb’s worth of illumination, sets of five, six, or more can generate much more light than a single chandelier or flush-mount fixture. For that reason, recessed lighting is a favorite for large areas like basements, studios, garages, master baths, and bonus rooms. You can place the lights strategically to illuminate a work area, pool table, bar, or any other space that needs task lighting. But with this advantage comes a disadvantage: for each hole you create into the ceiling when installing the recessed light, your likelihood of feeling a draft increases. For that reason, you might want to avoid using recessed lights in colder areas, like a sun porch or in rooms that are already drafty or not properly insulated.
Shower stalls are another place where recessed lights are handy. Because the bulb is completely protected with a casing, there’s no need to worry about water damage to the fixture. Imagine how nice it would be to have extra light in the shower, allowing you to loofa and exfoliate your skin without hunting around in the dark for supplies!
Styles of Recessed Lighting
Once you’ve picked an area for your recessed lights, it’s time to explore the many styles available. Most recessed lights are designed with both a baffle (the light’s covering or shade) and with trim (the material holding the light into the ceiling).
When shopping, you’ll find many different combinations to consider. The type of baffle and trim you choose can impact the amount of light and the way it illuminates from the ceiling. For example, one style of recessed light has what’s called “eyeball trim” that allows you to partially shade the light on either side of the casing. Another type, called “pinhole trim,” has a generous doughnut-shaped shade that compresses the light into a tight, laser-like beam. You’ll also find other options, such as trim made from reflective material that adds more shine or ribbed material that reduces glare. For bathrooms, you may opt for waterproof shower trim and tempered glass that diffuses the light and protects the electrical unit.
Installing Recessed Lighting
When you are ready to install the recessed lights, you’ll need to carefully follow the instructions provided with your kit or consider hiring a professional technician or someone with experience. The installation of recessed lighting isn’t as simple as swapping out one unit for another, as it often is with a chandelier or a pendant. In many cases, you’ll need to cut into your ceiling and install a bar or rack to support the recessed lights and the wiring. If there’s an attic above the area, your job is easier because you’ll have a larger work area. If there’s another floor or insulation above the area, you’ll need to make sure you have the proper kind of shallow housing before beginning the project.
Fortunately, the manufacturers of recessed lighting want you to feel comfortable with the process, so don’t be scared off by the job of putting in the lights yourself. Many kits come with templates and detailed photographic instructions to guide your way. Following the instructions and taking necessary precautions, such as turning off power to the work area, will increase the probability that the job will go smoothly and quickly. Preparation is key — allow at least a weekend’s worth of time so you aren’t rushed. Also consider calling a friend with experience or paying a professional to help. Once you are enjoying all the benefits of recessed light — extra counter space, a more open area, extra light for all the things you do — the time and effort of installation will be much less of a hindrance.
Making the Most of Recessed Lighting
After installation, you can maximize the potential of your recessed light by exploring various bulbs that work with your units. Try various wattage intensities, shades and tints, and shapes. You might try clear bulbs in a garage to get some extra sparkle, soft white in the shower for a calming glow, and low-wattage over the bar to create mood and ambiance. If you’ve opted for eyeball trim or units that pivot, move them around until you find a combination you like. Over time, you’ll need to occasionally clean off your lights to remove dust and debris.
You can change the way a space feels and functions with recessed lighting that’s suited for your style and lighting needs. When you’re ready to shop for the perfect recessed lighting to fit your space, browse through our catalog for a variety of selections. We offer recessed light kits and a variety of styles to choose from. Save your favorites and get started on your plan today.