Back to Basics: Recessed Lighting

Making a space your own is no easy task. There are often key aspects of home decor that we let slip through the cracks when we're saving pictures and pinning inspiration to our Pinterest boards. One of the most imperative attributes of a home is the lighting. It plays a crucial role in both style and functionality.

Recessed lighting can offer directional and uneven grid illumination. In some instances, recessed lighting can create the illusion of a bigger space.

When is Recessed Lighting Appropriate?

Depending on your project, the installation process of your recessed lighting may vary. For new construction and remodeling projects, recessed lighting is most easily installed between the lengths of timber or steel supporting that part of the building--also known as joists.

Some recessed fixtures are designed for the sole purpose of being retrofit into the structure, and can slip into existing ceiling space through the holes used to accommodate wiring--which is most appropriate for older buildings.

Recessed Lighting Placement

  • Try not to focus the entirety of your recessed lighting in one area. A good rule of thumb to follow is for every inch the fixture is, the same measurement of space in feet should be between that fixture and the next. For example, a 5-inch fixture should have 5 feet between that and the next.
  • Aim your recessed lighting fixtures in front of pieces in your home that you'd like to draw extra attention to. Much like the lighting in museums, recessed lighting can be used to spotlight parts of your home that are most interesting.
  • When lighting pieces other than flat two-dimensional art, like sculptures or furniture, the best practice is to light it from two or three different angles.
  • Installed recessed lighting fixtures in the bottom of your cabinets will wash your countertops with streamlined light.

Recessed Lighting Sizing

Most often 4-, 5-, and 6-inch fixtures are what is used in residential spaces. The higher in length the fixture is, the higher the ceiling should be. Please keep in mind that adjustable recessed lighting, covering the walls with recessed wall washers, and reflectors can help to create the look of a larger space.

Recessed Lighting Bulbs

  • Incandescent- Incandescent bulbs are one of the most cost effective of the bulb options and are ideal for use with wall washers and reflectors. However, they are also the least energy efficient option.
  • Light Emitting Diode- also known as LED are the most energy efficient of the bulb options with arguably the longest lifespan. Due to increasing popular demand, manufacturer's are making it easier and easier to replace any light with a comparable and more efficient LED.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps- also known as CFL are also energy efficient, but do require ballasts to regulate current.
  • Halogen- offers a pristine white light, perfect for modernizing spaces. These are more efficient than their incandescent counterparts, but still not as efficient as CFLs or LEDs.

Don't Forget

Please be sure to analyze the construction of your home before purchasing any lighting fixtures. Getting advice from an experienced electrician is strongly recommended prior to installation.

Watt Did You Think?

Let us know how you plan to implement recessed lighting into your home furnishing!

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Taylor Bickham
Taylor Bickham

Taylor was inspired at a young age to embark on the path of creative writing. Her world view expanded while attending Savannah College of Art and Design, as she learned the endless job opportunities for creative writers. In a world in need of compelling creative and technical content, Taylor always answers the call.

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