Pros & Cons of Recessed Lighting


Recessed lighting became popular during the 1950s when contemporary home decor demanded fixtures that were sleek and stylish. Recessed light fixtures were easily hidden because they were installed into the ceiling, rather than against it. This ensured a smooth design that did not interfere with the the ceiling's appearance. Recessed lights consist of three parts, the housing, bulb and trim.

Hidden Light Source

  • Because recessed lighting is installed directly into the ceiling, there are no exposed wires to attract unwanted attention. And unlike light fixtures that sit against the floor, like lamps, there are no wires to trip over. This makes recessed lighting a safe choice for homes with small children, accident-prone individuals, the disabled or the elderly.


  • Once installed, recessed lighting fixtures cannot be moved to another location. When installed in versatile spaces, like living rooms and family rooms, recessed lighting cannot be moved as needed. And recessed lighting cannot be adjusted according to decor either, making them a better alternative for less versatile spaces like bathrooms, where furniture is fixed. Some recessed lighting fixtures allow you to tilt bulbs in different directions, but these resemble spotlights and are not a viable option for lighting an entire room.

Energy Efficiency

  • Recessed lighting is considered energy efficient because it requires low-voltage bulbs. You can even adjust the intensity of light using a dimmer switch that allows total control over how much light the bulbs emit. Accordingly, setting the brightness to a lower amount will use less energy.

Unflattering Light

  • Recessed lighting installed in the ceiling always sends light downwards so that all objects are lit from above. Although some furniture may benefit from being highlighted this way, people do not. When people are lit from above, the light casts unflattering shadows on the face while highlighting imperfections, like wrinkles and blemishes. As a result, recessed lighting is not a viable option for lighting areas where people socialize, apply makeup or shave.

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