Recessed Ceiling Lights & Light Bulbs: What to Know

Feb 5, 2021

What is recessed lighting? Recessed lighting is installed directly into your ceiling, wall, or another surface. When used and installed correctly, recessed light bulbs can highlight features and add ambiance to your space—but it does require some planning ahead!

Before installing recessed lighting, you should have a strategy in mind. Here are a few things you should consider before buying and installing these fixtures.

What is the purpose of recessed lighting?

Recessed lighting fixtures are very versatile. What are you trying to achieve with your lighting? Figuring out how the light in your space will function is the first step! The possible answers to this question are nearly endless.

Maybe you want a downlight for your kitchen space to help you see a cookbook better. Or, maybe you want to highlight that new piece of artwork in your corridor with an eyeball light. Maybe you just like the sleek look of recessed lighting and want it for a large space such as a family room. These are all perfect places to put a recessed light or two! It’s a versatile, modern design that can be used in so many different ways. Because of their versatility, it’s essential to know what you want in advance—plan ahead!

Dimmers & Light Color

Dimmers are a great feature you can use with recessed lighting that can help you control the mood of your space. All of your recessed lights should have them—especially overhead lights! This allows you to change the light’s intensity based on the mood you’re trying to create, which could change. This is especially important for, say, an entertainment area; a game night is going to require more lighting than a movie night will. An added benefit of dimmable lights is that by dimming a recessed light bulb even just 10%, you can extend its life. If you want to use dimmers in your recessed lights, choose fixtures that can use incandescent, halogen, or LED light bulbs. Usually, fluorescent light bulbs are not dimmable, unless they have a dimmable ballast.

When looking for a light color for your recessed light bulbs, consider again the mood of the room. “Cooler” colors of light bulbs, such as clean, bright white, and blueish-white, look better in kitchens or bathroom vanities. Cooler lights are also good for spaces in your home that need task lighting like a laundry room. If you want to give your room a cozy and comfortable vibe, consider looking into red and yellow hues or warmer whites.

If you’re interested in learning more about light color and how to use it in your home, check out our previous article where we took a deep dive into lighting color temperature.

How to Install Recessed Lighting

After you’ve chosen your bulbs and mapped out a lighting layout, you need to install your recessed lighting. There are lots of things you need to consider, including the space you have available, the sizes of the fixtures you want, and what kind of support you want your fixtures to have.

What Sized Fixture

Common sizes for recessed lighting fixtures vary. Of course, the size you choose will depend in part on what you are wanting to highlight, but generally speaking, common sizes range from 4 to 7 inches in diameter.

The easiest way to answer the size question is to consider how far away the ceiling is from what you want to light. For instance, if your ceiling is 8 feet tall, a single 4-inch fixture will provide nice lighting on a kitchen countertop. If you have a 10-foot ceiling, multiple 4-inch fixtures will help spread the light out more, as opposed to a single larger fixture. Generally, 6-inch fixtures are the most popular size overall, and therefore have the most choices for fixture trim.

TCP Lighting Solutions

New lights can bring an entirely new life into your space. Whether you are having trouble picking a color temperature, finding the right light bulb, or need help starting at square one, Contact the lighting experts at TCP to receive help creating a personalized lighting plan for your unique space.

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