Recessed Lighting /Design Considerations
Recessed lighting is a stylish way to update the look and atmosphere of your home and business while at the same time depending on your personal preference and style the ability to choose different types of illumination. These lights are often used for three main purposes: 1) general lighting, 2) task lighting and, and 3) accent or artistic expression. They are great for general lighting purposes where they bring light to an area which would be dark such as a living room or common area. They are also commonly used for task lighting in areas where people work or do certain activities such as above a desk or work station. You will also find they are often times used to accent and highlight artwork or merchandisers display cases because they are great at providing robust highlighting effects in addition to dramatic shadows. Recessed lighting is very versatile in that you can accomplish all of these different lighting styles but also keep in mind there are considerations that you must plan for to achieve the desired effect.
Step 1) Your first step when you are choosing recessed lighting is you want to determine your lighting application and this entails what you are trying to accomplish and how you want to use the light. As we mentioned above the common three lighting applications used for recessed lighting is: general lighting, task lighting, or accent lighting.
Step 2) Once you have that part taken care of you will also want to consider the placement of the light fixtures and how it will fit into your general plan. Some other considerations would be the location of your power and switch source as well as any obstructions that could create any obstacles for your project. A few other general installation guidelines to consider. The width of the beam of each light fixture is usually equal to the height of the room unless you use a lamp, 4” to 3” housing size, or eyeball trim to direct the light. To illustrate if you have a 8′ ceiling then you can expect the recessed light to provide an 8′ wide beam of light. The common rule of thumb for layout is to space the light fixtures 5′ to 6′ apart in 8′ to 10′ ceilings to provide uniform lighting. Another rule of thumb for wall washing or accenting is to achieve lighting uniformity in these applications you would want the distance from the wall to be equal to the distance between your light fixtures. Now there are exceptions but this is commonly used in most general applications.
Step 3) The third step would be to determine the trim type & size of recessed light fixture to achieve the desired lighting effect for your project. The main different types of trims commonly used are baffle, open, reflector, eyeball, and lens. Below you will find a brief description of each type to give you a better idea of each type:
Baffle – they are versatile and commonly used in general lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and wall wash lighting, they are the most popular style, and are used to light and minimize glare
Open – commonly used in general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting, they are the most economical choice, and they have an attractive finished look
Reflector – commonly used in general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting, they minimize light output
Eyeball – commonly used in task lighting, accent lighting, and wall washing applications, they are adjustable, and provide directional lighting
Lens – usually only used in general lighting applications, they diffuse and shield the lamp, and are most commonly used in closets, porches, and shower lights
There are 4 sizes that recessed lighting housings come in 6”, 5”, 4”, and 3”. Each size aids in the intended application for the desired effect but are also are used for aesthetics. To illustrate the larger the size the more light output you would be able to achieve that is why the 6” is commonly used in general lighting applications. Now there have been advances in lamp design that can achieve the desired effect that a 6” housing can achieve but these types of lamps usually come with a premium price as well. The smaller sized 4” and 3” are usually used for aesthetics as well as accent lighting applications where the design is intended to highlight a piece of artwork or feature within the building’s structure.
Step 4) Your last and final step before installation of the light fixtures would be to determine what type of housing you will need to install. This is very important because there are several types of housings available and each has is used for a specific application. Below you will find a list of the different types and their intended application.
New Construction Housings – they are used when you have access to the ceiling before the ceiling construction has taken place or you have access from above the ceiling, they have attachments that allow for connecting the ceiling rafters
Remodel Housings – they can be easily installed in existing ceilings where there is no access above the ceiling and install without the use of attaching to the ceiling rafters
IC Rated Housings – these come in new construction types or remodel types and may be covered with insulation and are used when you need to maintain a full insulation barrier
Non IC Rated Housings – these come in new construction types or remodel types and must be kept a certain distance away from the insulation on all sides of the housing
Air Tight Housings – these come in new construction types or remodel types and are used to minimize the air flow between conditioned spaces in a house or unconditioned attic spaces
Shallow Ceiling Housings – come in new construction or remodel construction types and are used in shallow ceilings where 2” x 6” joist construction is utilized within the structure or when obstructions permit a light fixture that is shallow
Slope Ceiling Housings – these allow the light fixtures to be installed in sloped ceilings and still allow the light fixture to aim straight down
Once you have this all the above steps determined there are a few other general installation guidelines to consider. The width of the beam of each light fixture is usually equal to the height of the room unless you use a lamp, 4” to 3” housing size, or eyeball trim to direct the light. To illustrate if you have a 8′ ceiling then you can expect the recessed light to provide an 8′ wide beam of light. The common rule of thumb for layout is to space the light fixtures 5′ to 6′ apart in 8′ to 10′ ceilings to provide uniform lighting. Another rule of thumb for wall washing or accenting is to achieve lighting uniformity in these applications you would want the distance from the wall to be equal to the distance between your light fixtures.
As you can see recessed lighting are extremely versatile and can be used in various styles and applications. They are a great way to light up any area big or small and provide general lighting or artistically styled lighting. The 4 steps of design are intended to help anyone who is new to recessed lighting and can help to ensure that you choose the correct type of recessed lighting for your desired application for practicality, aesthetics, and safety. Please note this article just barely touches the iceberg of the vast amount of information there is concerning recessed lighting but we hope that you are able to gain some insight as to what you might want to consider on your next lighting project. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org we love to help and always consult with a trained professional before you start any project. Please be safe and till next time.