Understanding recessed ceiling lights and its uses

[] Recessed ceiling lights are ideal for a minimalistic look, while adding sophistication to the space

If you are planning to get a false ceiling installed in your home, it is imperative that you do your research about the kind of lighting you want to add, along with it. While the market is flooded with a range of lighting options, recessed lights are the most common and useful option for POP false ceilings. Here is everything you should know about recessed ceiling lights and other important aspects of choosing lights for your false ceiling.

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What is recessed lighting?

Recessed lights are installed directly inside the surface, so that the electric wires and connection line (also called housing) of the fixture remain hidden within the wall or ceiling. The trim is the decorative part and works as a reflector or shade, while the bulb is fitted inside the trim, to illuminate the space.

Types of recessed lights

There are different types of lighting available in recessed format that you can choose from, based on the access you have to the surface and the space available. Also, you should know that the lighting fixed on newly-constructed unfinished walls or ceilings, are different from what you would install on a finished surface. Some of the common types of recessed lightings are:

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IC-rated recessed light: If there is insulation present, you must use this type of lighting, as it will not overheat in extremely hot climates.

Speciality lights: Such lights are perfect for thin surfaces, as these have very shallow housing and are relatively easier to install.

Angled fixtures: These are ideal for pitched ceilings.

For outdoor locations, always choose wet location-rated recessed lights, to ensure safety even in case they come in contact with water.

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Types of trim in recessed lighting

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Once you have decided the right kind of lighting for your ceiling, choose the fixture/trim that fits with your room’s interiors. Since trims come in a broad range of metal, decorative and plain finishes that offer plenty of style choices, do some research, to choose the perfect trim for your recessed lighting. Such lights have a single bulb and round or square trims. Understand that these symmetrical shapes can stand alone or be placed in groups, whereas fixtures with multiple bulbs typically have rectangular trims and are an ideal choice for lighting long horizontal features, such as bookcases.

Tips for choosing the right trim

  1. Baffle trims reduce glare and supply softer light for the living areas. While the black baffles absorb the light, white may look better in light-coloured ceilings.
  2. Reflectors maximise the light output and direct it downward but such fixtures are ideal only for task lighting or rooms with high ceilings.
  3. You can use wall wash trims to accent a piece of art on a wall or highlight an architectural feature.
  4. Eyeball or adjustable trims are also excellent accent lights, as it lets you change the light’s direction.
  5. For bathrooms and outdoors, use lensed trims that have solid covers as it will protect the bulbs and wiring from water.

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Recessed ceiling lights vs hanging ceiling lights

Recessed ceiling lights

Recessed lights Hanging lights
Uses low-voltage bulbs and adjustable trims on the recessed cans, for better illumination. Uses incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs.
Light can be controlled in the room much better than with traditional ceiling lights. Available in a large variety of styles, shapes and colours.
Great options in situations with low ceilings as they do not protrude down from the ceiling. Usually available in flush or semi-flush mounts.
Used to obtain a minimalistic décor that avoids clutter. Using multiple ceiling lights can seem cluttered.

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Pros and cons of recessed lighting

Pros Cons
Perfect for low ceilings. The holes cut to install such lighting can leak air in and out of the ceiling, causing energy-efficiency issues.
Make the room look bigger. The lighting is not uniform. Some spots may look much brighter while others can be completely dark.
Fits well in the overall look of the room. For uniform lighting, you may have to install more than five light fixtures, which will add to your expenses.
Ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, where excessive moisture can damage hanging or mounted fixtures.  


Can you put recessed lights in an existing ceiling?

Yes, recessed lights can be installed in an existing ceiling.

Is recessed lighting worth it?

Recessed lighting definitely has numerous advantages, making it a great choice.

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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