A Lesson in Recessed Lighting

Ideal for use in a variety of home settings, recessed fixtures are high on the list when it comes to versatility in both style and application. Follow these four easy steps to determine which recessed fixtures align best with your design needs and goals.

A lesson in recessed lingting | Image courtesy of Ryland Homes | Ryland.com
Image courtesy of CalAtlantic Homes | CalAtlanticHomes.com

STEP 1: Determine your lighting application

  • General Lighting – These are your uniform  light patterns that are bright and comfortable, ideal for  living and family rooms.
  • Accent, Task & Wall Wash Lighting – Recessed fixtures can be used to accent bookcases and artwork or to accomplish specific tasks on kitchen islands or counter areas. Fixtures can also be used to emphasize vertical surfaces, and draw attention to fireplaces and wall hangings.
  • Wet Locations – Shower trims allow for recessed lighting to be used in wet locations.

STEP 2: Determine trim type and size to achieve the desired lighting effect.

Recessed Lighting Applications

Baffle – Most commonly used trim that effectively minimizes glare.

Open – Offers a streamlined, finished look to your recessed fixtures.

Reflector – Maximizes light output, and is most often used in residential and commercial applications.

Eyeball – Adjustable, directional lighting that is ideal for accent applications.

Lens – Diffuses light and shields lamp. Most commonly used in closets, porches and shower lights.

STEP 3: Determine housing type.

New Construction Housing:For use when access above and below the ceiling is still available.

Remodel Housings:  Easily installed in existing ceilings with little or no access above or below.

IC Rated Housings: Required in most residential applications. These housings can be covered in insulation to maintain an unbroken barrier.

Non-IC Housings: Insulation must be kept 3 inches away from all sides of the housing.

Air Tight Housings: Use these housings to minimize airflow between conditioned spaces in a house or unconditioned attic areas. These may be covered in insulation and may be required to meet building energy codes.

STEP 4: Determine housing size.

6” – Most commonly used size, for all lighting applications.

5” – Slightly smaller aperture and reduced lamp options, for all lighting applications.

4” – Smaller aperture. Used mainly for accent, task and wall wash applications.

2” – Smallest aperture. Used mainly for accent, task and wall wash applications.

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