Choosing an LED Recessed Lighting System for Your Home

Homeowners that want a functional, practical lighting solution for their home know that LED recessed lighting is a good choice. Making the switch to LED home lighting means you’re choosing a lighting solution that:

  • Consumes less energy
  • Lasts longer than halogen, incandescent and CFL bulbs

Recessed lighting is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your space during a remodel and is often chosen as the lighting solution during new construction.

When LED Recessed Lighting Makes Sense

Recessed lights can be used indoors or outdoors, and they work well in most rooms of a home, including:

  • Hallways
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Porches
  • Patios
  • Gazebos

Most homeowners will choose this form of lighting to create:

  • Ambient lighting that can brighten up a room
  • General lighting to brighten a room
  • Accent lighting
  • Focal points, such as on a mantle

Adding a dimmer can provide you with even more control over your lighting, allowing you to choose a lighting scheme that changes with your mood.

If you’re choosing an LED home lighting solution, the next step is to choose the trim, recessed or non-recessed lights and housing.

Select the Right LED Home Lighting Trim

There’s no wrong or right trim. You should choose trim based on the aesthetic look you want to create in the home and the effect you want your lighting to make. Trim options include:

  • Trimless, which sits flush with the ceiling.
  • Flanged, which provides a prominent look with a thin flange around the light.
  • Bevel trim, which provides visual depth.
  • Reflector trim is ideal when focusing on a brighter lighting that’s able to reflect off of the mirrored surface for a brighter look.
  • Gimbals which allow you to adjust the light’s direction so that you can beam the light on accent walls or on focal points in the room.
  • Baffle are ideal when trying to create a softer light due to the groove’s ability to absorb excess light.

You’ll also find round and square trim that allow for greater control over the look and feel of the home.

Select the Proper Housing

If you already have recessed lighting, you can often keep your current housing in place. The housing remains hidden in the ceiling, so it’s more of a construction issue than it is an aesthetic issue.

The key types of housing are:

  • Insulated housing: A type of housing that can come in contact with insulation.
  • Non-insulated housing: A type of housing that requires 3+ inches of space between the housing and insulation.
  • Airtight housing: A type of housing that is designed to reduce air flow between spaces that lower heating and cooling requirements. These are the most common options for recessed fixtures.

If you have ceilings that are thin, you may need a super thin model that doesn’t require housing. These housing options are thin enough that they can be installed in areas where other fixtures cannot be installed.

Some models are less than a half-inch thick.

Choosing the Layout and Spacing

Once you choose your trim and housing, the next step is to focus on the lighting’s spacing and layout. Fixture placement is preferential, so there’s no right or wrong way to space out your lighting.

A general rule of thumb is that the taller the ceiling, the wider the recessed lighting should be.

Sizes range from 4 to 7 inches in radius.

When spacing your LED recessed lighting, you’ll want to follow these common standards:

  • 2 to 5 feet between each recessed light
  • 2 feet from all walls or cabinets

Kitchens need lighting, but they need less lighting than an open room. It’s often ideal to install four- or five-inch fixtures in the kitchen and focus lighting on cabinets and countertops.

It’s not uncommon for less lighting to be used in areas of the home that have pendant lighting.

Grid patterns can be used in the space to provide even more lighting.

Different bulb sizes and lumens per light should be chosen for each space. Living rooms, where low ambient light is required, often do well with bulbs that have 400 to 800 lumens. Dining rooms that require ambient lighting, in most cases, will have 600 to 1,000 lumen bulbs installed.

Kitchens and bathrooms can go up to 1,200 lumens, or higher, to provide a brighter space.

Choosing an LED recessed lighting system isn’t a decision that you should take lightly. Consider these tips to choose a system that will work for your home and budget.