How to Choose Recessed Lighting

What is Recessed Lighting?


Recessed lighting goes by several different names. You might see spotlights, cans, or high hats, but the designs are relatively the same.

Recessed lighting is installed into ceilings instead of hanging down from ceilings, which allows rooms with low ceilings to seem more spacious.

●      Ceiling Recessed Lighting

This option creates an inset light in the ceiling, often of a below-average wattage, to create more ambient light while adding to the visual aesthetics of the space.

●      Wall Recessed Lighting

With this design, an angled flange allows for light to be directed in a specific direction. It's seen indoors and outside to illuminate stairs, hallways, or paths.

●      In-Ground Recessed Lighting

You'll see this installation used primarily outside to provide up-light landscaping or pathway illumination. It's sometimes included in swimming pools.


What are the advantages of Recessed Lighting?


1.     Since the light cans are installed in the ceiling with nothing hanging down, recessed light can make a room feel bigger. It takes up less visual space on the ceiling.

2.     By using the right kind of trim, recessed light would cast more light around the room to make it feel bigger. That's what we called the “wall washing effect".

3.     Recessed lighting can keep up with trends and add a sense of style to your home, offering ambient light in different environments for it comes in all kinds of colors and designs.


In what circumstance should recessed lighting be used?

Difference between downlight and recessed light

The main difference between downlight and recessed light is how they are installed. Installing recessed lights can be more complicated than downlights because the process involves cutting numerous holes of the same size. And putting them on the ceiling can also be more complex than working along the walls.

Recessed lighting can illuminate a room in a minimalist way to avoid visual clutter. It's a good option, especially with low ceilings, as they don't protrude from the ceiling. Sometimes hanging fixtures (even flush mounts) in rooms with low ceilings can make the room appear smaller. And by using low-voltage recessed lights using MR16 bulbs with various beam spreads, it is possible to control the light in the room better than traditional ceiling lights. With low-voltage bulbs and adjustable trim on recessed cans, recessed lighting is often the preferred option.


How to choose recessed lighting?

In decorating design, small details can often play the role of icing on the cake. Recessed lighting can offer a great effect as being a small design added in the ceiling. To choose the best style that makes your space come alive, you may consider several things like these:

Do I Need a Wet or a Dry Installation for Recessed Lighting?

When installing recessed lighting, you'll need to consider the environment when deciding what trim to use.

Wet location trims are necessary whenever moisture could come into contact with the fixture. That means any lighting in a shower, pool, or sauna would need to use this design.

Damp location trims are different. They're suitable for any room where high humidity levels are present, but direct moisture contact is relatively rare. You'll see this choice included in most kitchen and bathroom designs.


Dry location trims are for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.


If you have a sloped wall or ceiling that requires light washing, an adjustable trim is an excellent choice to consider. Fixed trim is appropriate for any other situation.


When choosing recessed lighting in the kitchen, we highly recommend decorating with reflectors. Choose 4" or 5" lamps in diameter to provide enough concentrated light for meal prep and cleanup.


When choosing recessed lighting in the bathroom, the first consideration should be whether it is waterproof and designed for wet or humid locations. They would be less prone to short circuits after prolonged use.

Living Room

Recessed lighting in the living room has a variety of uses. If you want to display artwork, consider wall wash decorating options. Choose lights with sloping trim to suit the space if your ceiling is sloping.


Outdoor recessed lighting is designed to withstand outside elements, including rain, storms, and extreme temperatures. These also come in various sizes and trims and come with a range of unique features.


What do I need to know before installing recessed lighting?


What kinds of bulbs are used for recessed lighting?

Recessed light fixtures with medium threaded bases can be incandescent, fluorescent, halogen or LED bulbs.

If you like the energy efficiency, long life, and cool temperatures of fluorescent lamps and the warm colors of incandescent lamps, you can buy low-Kelvin fluorescent lamps. For high-intensity light, especially in small areas, halogens usually work best. For warm general lighting, most people prefer incandescent lamps. However, LED bulbs can combine these advantages to become a more popular choice.


The most common size range for residential recessed lighting is 4 inches to 6 inches in diameter. The suitable size should be selected based on the planned function and location of the lights, the distance from the ceiling, and the area to be illuminated. The higher the ceiling, the broader and more diffuse the light casts.



The style of trim is mainly the style of whole recessed light., to create more ambient light while adding to the visual aesthetics of the space.


Trim Type for Recessed LightingWhy Choose This Trim Type?
Flangeless Trim TypeThis option provides an unmistakable high-end, white-glove look that stays flush with the floor, ceiling, or wall. It creates a prominent look that often adds stylishness to a home.
Flanged Trim TypeYou can receive the same appeal as a flangeless design with this option. It uses a thin flange that sits on the ceiling's surface to create slightly more definition for the visual aesthetics.
Square Aperture Trim TypeIf you have unique architectural components in a room, consider using this trim type for a modern look. It delivers clean lines and geometric shapes that create visual appeal.
Round Aperture Trim TypeThis choice provides the classic styling that makes a home feel contemporary. It's an excellent selection for remodeling projects, especially if you're converting a more traditional décor to something more modern.
Bevel Trim TypeWith this option, you create more visual depth and additional architectural appeal. Instead of sitting flush with the surface, the size and shape of the fixture appear to sit within the wall.
Flat Trim TypeThis design is appropriate for all shapes and sizes of recessed lighting when a minimalistic, clean aesthetic is desired.



Color Temperature

Recessed lights are typically available in 4 color temperatures:

Warm White (2700K)


Warm color temperatures make you relax and feel sleepy and are often found in living rooms and bedrooms.

Soft White (3000K)
Cool White (4000K)


Warm color temperatures make you relax and feel sleepy and are often found in living rooms and bedrooms.

Daylight (5000K)


How many recessed lights do I nee​d for a room?

Usually, you can use this formula: total sq. footage x 1.5 = total wattage needed. If you are tired of calculating you can Click Here to use our Ledvance calculator for free.


When selecting better recessed lighting options for your home, choosing a design that works with your room structure while delivering the ambient light you need is crucial. By evaluating the strengths and benefits of each design element, you can select the best products for your project.




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