How to Decide How Many Recessed Lights Are Needed

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Recessed lighting adds ambiance, task lighting and general lighting to the room. Many factors play into creating the recessed lighting plan and installing the lights. One of the biggest decisions is how many of the light fixtures to purchase. If you don't add enough light fixtures, the recessed lighting project won't solve the lighting issues in the room. Too many recessed lights may overheat the electrical circuit or leave guests feeling as if they are in the spotlight. Take time to calculate the number of recessed lights needed before you begin the project.

  • Measure the length, width and height of the room. The size of the room dictates the number of lights needed. The larger the room, the more recessed lights you will need for the best lighting.

  • Evaluate the availability on the electrical circuit. Determine the greatest wattage the circuit can handle. If you're not experienced with electrical work, consult an electrician to assist.

  • Assess the room's current lighting situation both during the day and at night. Determine if the room needs recessed lighting everywhere or only in part of the room. Decide which area of the room will receive recessed lighting if you don't plan to use it throughout the room.

  • Determine the spacing you want for the recessed lighting fixtures. The typical spacing is about five to eight feet apart depending on the size of the room, the size of the light fixtures and the amount of light needed in the room.

  • Determine a starting location for the first recessed light fixture. Mark it with a sticker or other marker. Measure using the distance you chose to determine where the next fixture will go. Place another sticker in that location. Continue marking the placement of the fixtures in the area.

  • View the placement of the stickers. Determine if the placement and number of stickers looks correct. Adjust the arrangement or number as needed.

  • Count the number of stickers on the ceiling to determine how many recessed lighting fixtures to purchase.

Tips & Warnings

  • Schedule a consultation with an electrician if you are unsure how to place the lights.
  • Bring the dimensions of the room with you when you go to the home improvement or lighting store. One of the lighting experts can give you suggestions for the number of lights or let you know if your estimate is a good one.

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