How To Choose Recessed Lighting And 3 Benefits To Your Home

November 6, 2020 | Cristina Dinulescu

kitchen recessed lighting

If you are looking to update a room, then lighting is one of the most impactful factors, and recessed lighting should be a top consideration. This is one of the most versatile lighting alternatives out there, bringing forward several advantages that are difficult to ignore.

Also known as pot lights, high hats, or can lights, recessed lighting is exactly what its name describes: a type of lighting that is recessed, attached. The trim and the housing are the two parts that recessed lighting is generally made up of. The trim is the part you can see and it comes in different sizes, shapes, and finishes. The housing is the part installed above the ceiling line. In the case of incandescent lighting, you need to count the light bulb as a third part. 

In terms of light bulbs, LED technology is the most energy-efficient option out there. It’s also very popular, being estimated that in the US alone, more than 500 million recessed downlights are installed, and over 20 million are sold each year. LED recessed lights are usually installed in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and of course office or commercial buildings. LED modules or trims are one of the most popular options today. A module represents an all in one piece that is available as a smart device and works with Alexa and other home hubs. It has dimming capabilities, color changing features, as well as scene control. 

How To Choose Recessed Lighting 

living room recessed lighting

In the past, these lighting systems seemed a bit clunky and even complicated to work with. However, newer models are now a lot simpler to install and they provide plenty of options, meeting almost every need. 

Even so, it’s not a DIY type of job, so contact a professional electrician to help you with a lighting plan, install the fixtures for you, and make sure that you are complying with all the local rules and regulations. 

Here are 3 steps to help you choose the right lights for your home:

1. Look for the right size 

When choosing recessed lighting, size is important and even though there are a lot of options on the market, choosing the right one depends on your application. When thinking about trim sizes, the aspect that matters most is the aperture measurement. The aperture is the opening through which the light shines. This is not, however, the overall size of the trim, so keep this in mind. 

In most residential applications, the standard size used to be a 6-inch aperture. However, this has changed and now, the newer standard is 3-4 inches. A smaller aperture might look cleaner, but it’s not always the best choice. When you reduce the size you also reduce the illumination, as 6″ apertures can go up to 1250 lumens, but 4″ can only go up to 650. You need to always consider the size-to-function ratio. Smaller sizes are a great option for highlighting a specific area or corner of a room. 

Recessed can lights are usually regarded as an architectural lighting solution, which means they’re highly dependent on the type of space they’re being installed. Working with a specialist to choose the right size for your needs might be a good idea.

2. Choose the right housing for your recessed lighting

The housing is one of the three parts of a recessed lighting fixture. There are two types of housing you need to choose from, remodel and new construction. The installation process is what counts the most. 

New construction housing is suitable for spaces where the ceiling line has either been removed or not installed. For these spaces, housings are designed to be installed between the ceiling joints. 

For buildings with existing ceilings, the suitable options are the remodel housings. These enter the ceiling through a hole cut in the drywall and it’s held in place using clips.

Another aspect to consider when choosing the housing is the IC rating. This stands for  Insulation Contact. IC rated housings can be installed with the insulation running up to it or even over. This is a highly important aspect for areas where the housing goes into an attic. For non-IC rated housing, a buffer will be required to make sure that the housing is operating safely. 

3. Select the right trim 

Two factors determine the type of trim you need: the application and the design you are going for. While round trims have been historically popular, square shapes are getting a lot of attention right now. Some options include glass, metal or crystal lens, or a decorative flange.

When trying to decide on the type of trim you need to invest in, you should also consider function. There are a few tips to help the process: 

  • to highlight a specific area, features, or object in a room – consider the adjustable or gimbal trim; 
  • to install recessed lighting in the shower or outdoor space – consider the wet-rated or shower trim, which has been specially designed to function safely in wet areas; 
  • to ensure general lighting –  consider the color and shape of the baffle, which helps disperse the light much better than an open trim. 

3 Benefits of Recessed Lighting

recessed lighting in living room area

LED recessed lights enjoy a great deal of popularity and that’s because they bring many advantages and provide a lot of options. Here are the top three benefits recessed lighting brings to any household. 

More coverage area

Recessed lights are spaced throughout the ceiling, and due to this way of installation, they make it easier for you to uniformly light up every corner of your room. That is why many homeowners find this option a great choice for kitchens, living rooms, and even closets. 

Diversity in styles 

Lighting has a great impact when it comes to updating the appearance of your house. For this reason, there is a lot of diversity in terms of lighting options. While you might think that recessed lighting is much more discreet than other options, it certainly does not mean that you don’t have where to choose from in terms of style. 

From modern to contemporary to traditional recessed can lights, you’ll discover a myriad of styles once you start researching. For cabin homes, you can go with rustic recessed lighting that uses earthy colors and is nature-inspired. At the opposite spectrum, an elegant option is the Victorian recessed lighting, which oftentimes includes ornate elements of design. 

Aimed lighting 

This is one of the biggest advantages you can enjoy when installing recessed lights. This type of lighting is amazing for highlighting different corners, areas, or objects in your home. You can install them along with traditional lighting options. For instance, if you are looking to highlight a collection or obtain more light in an area, recessed lighting is the solution you are looking for. 

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