What to Consider When Choosing Recessed Lighting for Your Custom Home

September 25, 2017

When dreaming up your custom home, it’s important to think about lighting. How much natural light will be provided through windows and skylights? What sort of lighting fixtures will help enhance the atmosphere of your rooms? The options for lighting fixtures are endless, ranging from ornate chandeliers to simple recessed lighting.

What is Recessed Lighting?

A recessed light fixture is embedded into a ceiling or wall. They are contained within a hollow opening, or container, and so are “recessed” into place. These lights can create a great atmosphere because they act similarly to spotlights without taking up space. The circular recess serves to concentrate the light in a specific place.

3 Pros of Recessed Lighting

These are a few benefits of recessed lighting:

1. No Gaudy Fixtures

Recessed lights are installed above the ceiling line, or integrated into walls, which means they are barely visible. If you want to go for a simplistic, postmodern look, these should pull it off nicely.

2. Customize with Trims and Baffles

If you want something more decorative, you can always add trims and baffles. Trims are metal or plastic circles that border the recess of the lights. Baffles are the insert that can direct light to certain places and in certain shapes.

3. Illuminate Pools and Bathrooms

Given their coverage, recessed lights are the perfect fit for wet environments like pools and restrooms. They can be easily sealed, so their safety is assured.

4 Cons of Recessed Lighting

As with anything, there are some potential drawbacks to recessed lighting:

1. Many Fixtures to Light a Large Room

If your goal is to fully illuminate a large room, then recessed lighting may not be the way to go. In order to compensate you would need many, many fixtures installed.

2. Extensive Wiring

This is further complicated by the fact that recessed lights require extensive wiring.

3. Air Leaks

Recessed lighting has a tendency to leak air. Being on the ceiling means they are located where heat congregates. If they are not airtight, they can allow air to pass through them into the attic, compromising your attic insulation. In order to prevent this, you will need to insulate or seal them appropriately.

Unfortunately, sealing isn’t an option for all types of recessed lighting. In some cases, too much insulation on lights can trap the heat they produce and create a potential fire hazard. If you suspect your recessed lighting is leaking air, it’s best to get a few expert opinions on the best way to insulate or seal them without creating a hazard in your home.

4. No Easy Rearranging

Recessed lighting also has an air of permanence. They’re not like table lamps that can be easily moved to a new area. Once recessed lights are installed, you cannot rearrange them without extensive work and rewiring. If you plan on rearranging the room over the years, this type of lighting may not be for you.

3 Recessed Lighting Options

These are all things to consider when evaluating track lighting vs recessed lighting or pairing it with other lighting options. Should you decide recessed lighting is for you, there are many different kinds of recessed lighting with several options. There are three components to a recessed light: the housing, the bulb, and the trim. The housing has all the machinations located above the ceiling. The bulb resides in the trim, and the trim is everything we can see. Choosing recessed lighting is primarily a matter of the housing and the trim. The trim most affects aesthetics and the atmosphere you create in your room, and the housing creates technical differences.

1. Housing for Recessed Lights

There are two main types of housing called “remodel” and “new construction style”.

Remodel recessed lighting is fitted directly against the ceiling via metal clips. This makes it a much simpler installation process, but one that’s also less stable overall. They also tend to be more expensive in terms of the fixture itself, but can save you money by not forcing you to deconstruct and reconstruct your ceiling. They do not have as much trim variety, however.

New construction style fixtures are larger in general. You will need to make sure that you have adequate space in the ceiling to fit these fixtures. In fact, they are easiest to install if you have an attic above the room you are decorating, or if you are constructing a new space altogether. Having sheetrock or plaster may make it more difficult for installation, however.

2. Insulation Contact

The next decision is whether you need to make your recessed lighting IC or non-IC. If you do not adequately insulate around your recessed lights, then they could overheat. Knowing if your fixtures can come into contact with insulation is the first step to figuring out how to adequately design your lighting system.

3. Trims and Size

The size of a trim typically ranges 1” to 6”. The different sizes will have very different effects, particularly in conjunction with spacing. Spacing will also further customize the look of your recessed lights, and the atmosphere they will create. There are many different kinds of trims such as baffle, reflector, adjustable, lensed, and more!

The best place to start is with a design. Consider what kind of room you want, its purpose, and from there you will find the best recessed lighting options to achieve that atmosphere!

There are plenty of lighting choices for your custom home to choose from. Recessed lights are definitely unique and can fill a much-needed niche, but they aren’t necessarily a good fit for every room. That’s where an expert opinion or two can help you out. If you’re ready to build your dream custom home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 today!