What Are the Applications of LED Downlights in Homes and Businesses?

By Morgan McConnell on 12/10/2018

downlights in living room

LED downlights, also known as can lights or recessed lights, are embedded into the ceiling to become a seamless accessory in any room. While you might be fond of this sleek look, you may not know all of the factors that contribute to creating perfect lighting in your home or business.

Where Should I Put LED Downlights?

LED downlights are a great option for large rooms and/or rooms with low ceilings. Recessed lights blend in with the ceiling, so they will not use as much space as traditional hanging light fixtures.

Lights can be spaced evenly throughout a room, and since they are recessed, they are discreet enough that you can install more fixtures than you otherwise would.  This means that light can reach all corners of the room.

How Do I Install an LED Downlight?

downlights in kitchens

LED downlights require you to insert holes in the ceiling to install a new light fixture, or you can retrofit a preexisting ceiling lighting fixture.

You will most likely require a new junction box if you do not already have one in the area you want to install the recessed lighting fixtures. A junction box is placed in the ceiling above the light fixture and contains electric wires and cables necessary to connect the light to the main power source of the building.

Architecture and building regulations vary, so you must check your downlight’s Insulation Contact (IC) rating to ensure that it is compatible with the type of insulation used in your home or business.

If you still need help, try reading our blog on recessed lighting installation!

Do I Need a Special Downlight for Showers and Outdoor Areas?

For outdoor recessed lighting and shower recessed lighting, you want to find light fixtures and bulbs that can withstand dust and water exposure, which is indicated by the Ingress Protection (IP) rating.

The right IP rating will reduce hazards by shielding your recessed lighting fixture from the elements. For dust and water protection, a rating of IP65 is recommended.

What Kind of LED Light Bulb Do I Need for My Downlight?

To avoid a fire hazard, never choose a light bulb with a higher wattage than is recommended for the light fixture. LED light bulbs produce more light (measured in lumens) for less energy (measured in watts) when compared to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.

Choosing LED bulbs will allow you to maximize light output and reduce maintenance costs.  LED bulbs also remain cool, which will further protect your home or business from fire.

Can I Control the Beam Angle of My LED Downlight?

gimbletYou can control the beam angle of your downlight by installing an eyeball or gimble light frame. These features allow you to move and pivot the light bulb to shine in the direction you want.

Beam angle is determined by the light source and the height at which it is installed. The higher the ceiling, the narrower and more direct the light will appear.

A beam angle of 60 degrees or more is a wide beam angle, which creates a soft light.  Anything under 60 degrees is a narrow beam angle, which gives off a sharp, direct light that is great for displays.

If you would like more information, read about how to calculate the perfect beam angle!

What Color Temperature Should I Use with My LED Downlight?

Color temperature refers to the tint of color produced by a light bulb, measured in Kelvins (K). Below is our list of color temperature suggestions by room:

  • Living Room and Bedroom: Choose a warm color temperature (2500K-3500K) for these rooms. The yellow tones are relaxing, which makes them perfect for casual settings.
  • Kitchens: For kitchen recess lighting, we recommend a natural white light (4000K). Natural light improves the kitchen aesthetic by providing an intense light that helps you see to cook and assess food quality without being too harsh.
  • Offices, Reading Rooms, and Other Workspaces: For these rooms, we recommend a cool white light (4100-5000K). Cool color temperatures are soft and ideal for reading. It also reduces headaches and improves focus.

How Do I Determine the Right Size and Number of LED Downlights for My Room?

downlights in living rooms

LED downlights come in many sizes to fit any home or business environment. Small downlights (4”-6”) provide a modern look, while large downlights (8”-10”) fit a traditional aesthetic.

Room size and height will also impact your options. In large rooms, it is best to select larger downlights, since small recessed lights will appear dwarfed and will not provide adequate lighting.

You can determine the number of downlights needed in a room by creating a lighting layout. Generally, downlights are placed 1.5 to 2 feet away from the wall. You can then determine the needed space between downlights by measuring the height of your room and dividing that number in half. For example, in a room with 10-foot ceilings, you want about 5 feet of space between downlights.

Once you map this out, you can judge how many downlights you need to correspond with the area dimensions of your room. Let’s pretend our room with the 10-foot ceilings is 9-feet long and 9-feet wide.

downlight layout

If we multiply the length and width of the room (9x9), we will find the square-footage of our room (81 ft2). Once you graph out this area, you will see that, based on the 10-foot ceiling height, there is enough room for 4 downlights.

Recessed lighting is a great compact lighting solution for your home and business. Are you interested in discovering your next lighting solution? Browse HomElectrical’s selection of LED downlights today!

Watt Do You Think?

Where do you plan on installing LED downlights?

Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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