Recessed Lighting

Why you should use it in your designs

Known by many names, recessed lighting (or downlighting or can lighting) has been all the rage in recent years and is widely used for its elegant touches and for adding to the ambience of any design space.

Recessed Lighting - downlighting as bathroom lights

What is recessed lighting?


Recessed lighting when compared with ceiling lights, floor lamps or hanging lamps is intended to be almost hidden with fixtures hidden from view. It can be used to provide any type of lighting (accent, task or ambient lighting) making it incredibly versatile and a popular choice for bedrooms, living rooms and even smaller spaces like closets. Bulbs with a narrow angle provide more concentrated pools of light while wide beam bulbs provide larger fields of light.

Fixtures for recessed lighting include the frame which secures the light to the ceiling or wall, a housing unit containing the bulb and other elements and the trim which is the part visible to people.


installing recessed lighting


Safety is an important consideration when it comes to recessed lighting and when using these lights with an insulated ceiling you must use an IC (Insulation Compatible) rated canister to avoid overheating and the risk of fire. AT (Airtight) fixtures are suitable for top floors and ensure that hot air from the lights doesn’t escape onto the roof and is more energy efficient as well as cost effective.

The installation of recessed lighting is no easy undertaking and requires professional electricians to install them. Attention needs to be paid to the total wattage, insulation and number of fixtures used. The housing sizes you can choose for your recessed lighting need to be small enough to fit snuggly in the plenum as well as fit between your ceiling’s joists. Most recessed lighting housing is suitable for most projects though shallower and deeper options are widely available.

Recessed Lighting - can lights are also known as recessed lights
Recessed Lighting - bathroom lighting

customizing recessed lighting


The trim (finishing) of your recessed lighting is key to how your lighting will appear in the room and there are plentiful sizes, styles, materials and colors to choose from. Adjustable types are extremely versatile while baffle trims can help reduce glare and absorb excess light which is why it is commonly found in kitchens. Reflector trims can reflect light produced by the bulb proving ideal for higher ceilings and lensed trims offer extra protection from moisture thus making them suitable for bathrooms.

The final consideration is likely to be the bulb type. Ensure that the bulb you chose is compatible with the fixtures you use first. Opt for warm lighting if you are going for a relaxing atmosphere and cooler lighting for a work environment. LED bulbs are the best in terms of energy efficiency and also offer a very wide variety of color temperatures. A dimmable light is also a popular choice to provide levels of brightness for a range of activities.


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