Recessed Lighting Spacing

bc basement
Recessed Lighting is used extensively in most new homes for many good reasons. They are one of the most versatile ways to light with a multitude of sizes and lamp combinations. Recess lighting is available in compact fluorescent, offering significant energy savings.

With innovations such as the Air Seal, recess lighting no longer provides a way for either heat or air to escape into the ceiling space. A good recess lighting plan will offer unobtrusive general lighting in living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms and hallways. Placed strategically in the kitchen they provide task lighting and if aimed towards artwork they become accent lighting.

Recessed Lighting

General Guidelines

The area of floor space illuminated by one recessed light is equal to the height of the ceiling where the light is installed.

Recessed LightingSloped ceilings up to 8-12 pitch should use an eyeball trim to direct the light straight down.

Recessed Lighting

When illuminating areas like fireplace mantles, the distance from the light to the wall should be 60% (multiply by .6) of the distance from the ceiling to the object.

Planning A Room

Recessed LightingA spacing of 6′ to 8′ will provide even light distribution throughout a room. A spacing of 12′ to 14′ will provide a softer ambient light.

The first light should be about 3′ away from the wall. Placing the light closer to the wall will create more reflection into the room and make the space feel brighter. Placing the lights farther away will make the corners seem dark, visually lowering the ceiling.


Kitchen-Recessed-LightingSpace the lights every 3′ to 4′ to evenly illuminate the counter top. Center the lights over islands. Counters with cabinets over them should have the lights centered over the edge of the counter.

To adequately illuminate a kitchen with incandescent bulbs, you should allow about three watts per square foot. Take the square area of a room and multiply by three to determine the total wattage of incandescent bulbs needed.

Different trims have different maximum wattage. Recessed housings covered with insulation are restricted to a lower wattage lamp than housing in non-insulated spaces. Consult the label inside the housing for the maximum wattage allowed for a particular trim and application.


Recessed Hallway Lighting

The recommended distance between lights in a hallway installation is 6′ to 8′, as shown.

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