Recessed lighting can add to both the form and function of your room, be it the kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, or any other room. Here are some things for you to consider when adding recessed lighting to a room.
1. Identify your goal
As with any other project, you need to determine what your goal is. There are five main reasons to consider recessed lighting:
- Ambient lighting that evenly illuminates the entire room
- Accent lighting that accents a specific area
- Task lighting that focuses lighting on a work area
- Wall wash lighting that emphasizes a vertical surface such as a wall with a fireplace or large piece of art
- Specialty lighting that provides trims for wet locations such as a shower or bathtub or even a steam room
2. Develop a plan
Sketch the general dimensions of your room on grid paper. Indicate the location of workspaces, counters, shelves, furniture, artwork, etc.
3. Calculate light placement
The basic rule of thumb is to divide the height of the ceiling by two. That determines the space between lighting. For a typical eight-foot ceiling, you would want lighting every four feet. Again, this is a general rule of thumb and actual placement could vary. Also try to keep your lighting at least three feet away from the wall to avoid casting shadows creating the perception the room is smaller than it is.
4. Determine size and trim style
This is largely subjective. There are three trim sizes:
- Six-inch is the most common size and is used for all applications
- Five-inch can also be used for all applications, and fits more tightly around the bulb
- Three-inch and four-inch are used for small areas
There are also three trim styles. You should choose the style that best matches the room’s decor:
- Reflector styles maximize light output
- Baffle styles minimize glare
- Eyeball styles allow you to adjust lighting direction
5. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
Energy-efficient light bulbs such as LED lights may cost a little more, but they last much longer and will cut down on energy costs.
6. Don’t forget dimmers
Dimmers can help create the appropriate mood in the room. They also extent the life of the bulb since you are using less energy.
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