One word explains why recessed lighting continues to grow in popularity for use in the living room: versatility. Functional and affordable, recessed lighting can deliver direct, indirect or ambient light without taking up any visual space in the room.
Recessed lights, also called downlights, have three main components. The housing, or can, holds the wiring and the socket for the bulb. The baffle and lighting trim cover the interior of the can and the edges of the opening made for the can. The light bulb, or lamp, is the third component. Different cans require different types of bulbs. Some fixtures come with a lens that lies flush with the ceiling.
Recessed Lighting Installation
Recessed lighting installation requires cutting a circular hole into the ceiling. Your choice of fixture may depend upon whether you install the recessed lighting from the space above the living room or from below. The first step in the installation process is to determine how many fixtures you’ll need for the living room. There are several factors to take into consideration when spacing recessed lighting cans.
Lights should be installed a least two feet from the wall. For overall room lighting, experts recommend that recessed lighting fixtures be installed 6 to 8 feet apart. As a general rule, a recessed fixture illuminates an area equivalent to the ceiling’s height. Recessed fixtures that are specifically intended to provide indirect illumination by washing walls with light can be placed 2 to 3 feet apart.
Installing Recessed Lighting From Above the Ceiling
When installing recessed lighting in new construction or in a remodel where the ceiling is exposed, the cans are attached to the ceiling joists, before the ceiling is drywalled. Wiring for this type of installation is typically done by a professional electrician. Insulated ceilings require specially designed fixtures. These can be identified by an “insulated” rating on the product.
If you have access to the space above your finished living room ceiling, you can install recessed lighting in the same manner, except that the hole is usually cut from below before completing the installation from above.
Installing Recessed Lighting From Below
Manufacturers offer specially designed retrofit fixtures for installation when there is no access to the space above the ceiling. The wiring is then snaked through the ceiling and wall to an electrical connection. Once inserted into the hole, retrofit units have clips that fold out to keep the unit in place.
Lighting Trim and Baffles
Both trim and baffles are available in a broad array of finishes, colors and textures to give your recessed lighting fixtures a distinctive style. Baffles offers various functional options as well, including adjustable swivel lights, called eyeballs, that allow you to direct light precisely where it’s needed. Trims intended to wash walls with light are available with reflectors that can direct soft light in one direction.
Recessed lighting can be used to provide even illumination over the entire room, to highlight focal points in the living room or to wash walls with light. While some homeowners undertake installation on their own, if you have any concerns over working with your home’s electrical system, a professional electrician can assist you.