How to Choose Recessed Lighting for Your Home

How to Choose Recessed Lighting for Your Home

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We often think of lighting as purely functional in the home, but the truth is that the right lighting design can go a long way toward creating an inviting atmosphere, highlighting features, and more. Recessed lights are one of many choices homeowners can install in different areas of the home to add form as well as function. The professional electricians of Estes Services explain how to choose recessed lighting for your Atlanta area home so you can make the most of your home’s lighting design.

Purpose of Recessed Lighting

Recessed lights are also commonly known as can lights, as the fixtures themselves look like a cylindrical metal can holding the bulb, wiring, and other components. These fixtures are designed to be installed sitting flush with the surface on which they are installed, typically the ceiling, to give a seamless and minimalistic appearance.

You may also know recessed lighting by the term downlights, as these fixtures send targeted light directly downward thanks to their design. Downlighting with recessed lights can serve various purposes in the home, such as:

  • Increasing a room’s light
  • Highlighting specific home features
  • Adding task lighting
  • Making spaces look bigger and more open

Creating a Recessed Lighting Plan

Before you choose specific recessed light fixtures for installation in your home, you need to create a plan for the recessed lights you wish to place. Will recessed lighting fixtures be the only lighting in the space or will they be installed in addition to other ceiling lights? Is the goal of the recessed lighting to increase light and improve functionality of the room or a specific area, or do you wish to use these fixtures to accent architectural features or personal belongings you want to highlight in your home?

  • In new homes or in a new renovation, recessed lights are installed between ceiling joists with the housing attached to the neighboring joist. If you’re adding recessed lights to an existing home without doing a full renovation of the space, the fixtures are not connected to the joists and are joined with the ceiling material instead. 
  • Space fixtures at a distance that is twice the distance between the wall and first fixture in the series when adding lighting to a larger space. You want to place the first light approximately three feet from the wall, as a closer light could create unwanted shadowing.
  • If your recessed lights will serve as task lighting, they should be installed directly overhead to illuminate the chosen area.

Choosing Recessed Lighting

As you select recessed lighting fixtures for installation in your home, here are the important points to consider:

  • If the light fixture is to be installed within an insulated ceiling and may contact insulation, it needs to have housing with an IC rating. 
  • Determine the size of recessed lighting you wish to install.
    • 4- to 5-inch fixtures are often used for task lighting.
    • 6-inch fixtures are commonly used for general lighting.
    • 7- to 9-inch fixtures are used for wide washing of light in a room.
  • Trim style affects the function and look of the recessed lighting. The trim is the part you see sitting on the ceiling. 
    • A baffle trim reduces glare and produces a softer light ideal for living areas and entryways. 
    • A reflector trip amplifies the light making it brighter, which is ideal for use in a kitchen or high-ceiling space.
    • A gimbal trim allows the recessed light to pivot so you can direct the light, which is useful if your lights are to be used for accent lighting or are installed on a sloped ceiling.
    • A wall wash trim allows the light to rotate with greater range of motion versus gimbal trim, ideal for highlighting wall hangings or for task lighting.
    • A shower trim should be used for recessed lights installed in bathrooms and showers for moisture and corrosion resistance.
    • A pinhole trim allows less light out, creating a targeted and dramatic lighting feature.
    • A decorative trim can be chosen in square or circular design, with various color and detail options.

Get the Recessed Lighting You Want for Your Home

Installing recessed lighting has never been easier – work with the licensed electricians at Estes Services to access professional lighting design and installation for your new fixtures. Contact us today and receive an estimate for recessed lighting installation, and our team will help you select the best options to achieve the look and feel you desire.