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What is Recessed Lighting?

What is Recessed Lighting?

Recessed lighting has been gaining traction in the last few years. Since it’s easy to pair with other kinds of lighting fixtures, property owners can use it to set the right ambiance in any room and add character to any given space.

Homeowners can gain a diverse range of design options by using recessed lighting. But while it can certainly help you brighten up a room, it may also spoil the look that you’re trying to achieve. Without proper research, you might install the wrong kind of fixture, and it may pose a fire hazard. You may also end up destroying a room’s design instead of complementing it.

To avoid all the unnecessary stress, let’s find out what recessed lighting is and discover what one can do to make this type of lighting work.

What is Recessed Lighting?

Light fixtures that are installed within little metal housings and embedded in the ceiling are called recessed lighting. They are also often called pot or can lights, and downlights.

Recessed lighting requires extensive wiring. On the other hand, junction boxes may have light-to-light connections, which means you can run a single cable instead of using several.

An interior housing covers all of the electrical components. It is also designed to protect the lighting fixture from any flammable materials. An exterior trim, which is usually made of metal or plastic, is the most visible component of the lighting fixture. It is attached to the housing, and it influences the quality and appearance of the light source.

The great thing about recessed lighting is that it is tucked into the ceiling. No fixtures are visible, which makes it easier to incorporate into different design options. It also appears less cluttered.

Though it shrinks into the ceiling, its capacity to illuminate any space will not be compromised. When it is placed at the center of the room, the middle will be well-lit. As you move away from it, the light gradually becomes dimmer. That’s why you need to install the right type and number of fixtures to brighten up an entire room.

How to Choose the Right Fixture

If you’ve decided to use recessed lighting, there are a bunch of factors that you need to consider before having it installed. Safety is the number one priority. For ceilings that are insulated, an airtight fixture that’s insulation-compatible is needed. But if the ceiling isn’t insulated, then you can opt to use a fixture that has a non-insulation-compatible rating.

  • Insulation compatible: An IC rating means that a light fixture is safe to place in direct contact with insulation.
  • Non-IC: Fixtures that are Non-IC-rated come with a protective layer that separates the insulation from the housing.  
  • Airtight: Those who want to install recessed lighting on the top floor or any room that’s directly connected to the roof should use AT fixtures. They hold onto the warm air that’s emitted by the bulbs, which should cut down energy consumption.

Always choose the right type of fixture as it may become a silent and destructive fire hazard.

How to Determine the Number of Fixtures

The number of fixtures should depend on the maximum wattage of each of the chosen light sources. Since a circuit is only capable of carrying a certain amount of wattage, there must be a compromise between the number and the type of fixtures and light bulbs used.

LED bulbs can be an excellent choice for recessed lighting. They have low wattage, which means you can accommodate more fixtures.

Best Places to Use Recessed Lighting

Pot lights can be used in residential or commercial spaces. Since they don’t protrude from the ceiling, they can even brighten up rooms with low ceilings.

  • Home theaters

Without proper lighting, any home theater system won’t be as effective and enjoyable. Since can lights are installed in the ceiling of the room, they are non-intrusive and won’t reflect on the screen.

  • Kitchen counters and islands

Recessed lights are installed overhead. That means you can direct light towards your kitchen counters and islands and have a well-lit workspace.

  • Shower stalls

Downlights may come with watertight lenses. Even when splashed with water, they will be able to function properly.


Recessed lights provide homeowners with a variety of design options. It is a subtle but highly-significant way of elevating the design you want. As long as you remember how to choose the right fixtures and the right number of fixtures, you can make this type of lighting work.  

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