How to Choose the Right Recessed Lighting

Versatile, impressive and the perfect blend of form and function, pot lighting, can lighting or “recessed lighting” is a must-have for any modern project.

What is recessed lighting?

A recessed light is typically installed into an opening in the ceiling, i.e. they are flush with the ceiling, making it seem like the light is coming from a hole in the ceiling. Recessed ceiling light or recessed lighting is usually associated with the term “downlighting”. However, several architects, interior designers and lighting experts have also incorporated recessed lighting into walls and the floor (uplighting), too.

Pochette Lamp by Rodolfo Dordoni

The Pochette by Rodolfo Dordoni is a good example of recessed wall lights that are installed on the walls lining your corridors or staircases.

While recessed lighting, by definition, might seem like more of an accent, these lights are actually quite powerful and provide unique functionality along with aesthetic value.

Understand how modern recessed lighting works

Before you go about shopping around for recessed lights, it is important to comprehend the functionality and structure of this type of lighting. Here’s a quick look at the essential components and different types of recessed lights:

1. Housing

The housing consists of the lamp or light source, the mounting component and electrical parts. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular housing options:

  • Insulated ceilings: IC-rated housings are recommended if you are working with a ceiling that is insulated. For non-insulated ceilings, you can go for either an IC-rated housing or a non-IC-rated one.
  • Damp areas: For regions exposed to dampness or wetness (showers or kitchens), it is best to use UL or CUL marked housings.
  • Retrofit: These housings are an economical option that can be attached using clips instead of the existing trim. 

There are various other types of housing considerations to look at, for instance, the fire rating.

2. Trim

The most important thing to consider when choosing the trim is gauging whether it corresponds with the housing. The trim is what adds the aesthetic value to the light. Here are a few types of trims available in the market:

  • Lenses/diffusers: These are perfect for bathroom lighting, porch lighting and closet lighting,
  • Eyeballs: These trims are adjustable, making them ideal for directional lighting.
  • Reflectors: Reflectors are excellent for general or task lighting, since they maximize the output.
  • Open: A popular and economical choice, open trims are efficient and attractive in equal measure.
  • Wall washers: Washers help create the perception of a larger room and are great for pointing towards pieces of art on the wall.

3. Lamp

The lamps to be used would be defined by the trim and housing, but here are some varieties of lamps to consider:

  • Incandescent: You choose from R, MR, PAR lamps or halogen lamps
  • LED recessed lighting: These are known to be long-lasting and very efficient
  • Fluorescent: Highly efficient and apt for general lighting

Choosing the ideal recessed lighting

The first step is defining the purpose of recessed lighting according to where you intend to use it in your project. Here are a few modern recessed lighting ideas, tips, scenarios or areas where you could use this type of lighting effectively:

1. In the office or study

  • Above the desk for effective task lighting

2. In the living room or bedroom

  • General lighting aimed at brightening up the room

Skygarden Recessed Lamp by Marcel Wanders

The Skygarden Recessed Lamp, designed by Marcel Wanders, for example, is a wonderful example of recessed downlighting for a populated area of your house. It not only illuminates the said are effectively, but also gives you a “garden on the ceiling” effect.

Foglio Wall Lamp by Tobia Scarpa

Or the contemporary Foglio Wall Lamp that casts indirect light in a unique way. The idiosyncratic shape and design of the light can be attributed to Tobia Scarpa’s uncanny ability to find inspiration in everyday objects – in this case, the cuffs of his shirt!

3. In the kitchen

  • Above the sink or the kitchen platform for task lighting

There are various regions and rooms in a house where recessed lighting works like a charm. The key is to analyze the need and make the right choices.

It always helps when you add a dimmer to your contemporary recessed lighting. This allows you to get greater control over the lights, enabling you to adjust the brightness and intensity depending on the time of the day, specific needs at any given point of time and the elements you wish to highlight.

FLOS is a leading manufacturer and seller of recessed lighting fixtures and designs crafted by some of the most renowned lighting designers in the world. Browse through the website to find the right lighting solution for your project.

How to Choose the Right Recessed Lighting
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