Thursday , July 29 2021

Downlighting, types, trims and more

Tin cans. Tall Spotlights hats.

Whatever you call recessed lights, they're some of the most versatile lighting options out there – whether you're using them for downlights, wall lighting or lighting (yes, you can even embed the lights into the ground) .

They are great for providing ambient light in a variety of residential and commercial spaces, as well as accent lighting to highlight furniture, artwork or the wall itself. With so many different applications and looks, it's hard to know where to start …

This guide will give you an overview of what you need to know to get the right recessed lights for your needs and incorporate them into your space.

Types of recessed lighting

They usually go to the ceilings, but you can also stick them on the walls and in the ground.

  • ceilings: The most common use of recessed lighting, and what we will focus on here, is recessed recessed from the ceiling.
  • walls: When placing a light on a wall, you want to use an angled flange to direct the light downward to illuminate a path or steps.
  • On the ground: Usually used in outdoor applications to illuminate an illuminating path or landscape.

The components

A recessed light is composed of two components: the housing and the lining.

L & # 39; accommodation it is what is encased in the ceiling / wall / earth and consists of the light source, in the assembly and in other electrical parts.

L & # 39; trim it is what is visible to people in the room and gives birth to its aesthetics and, depending on what you choose, it can be used to direct the beam if you highlight art works or "wall washing".

GOOD TO KNOW: Trim and custody are sized to be related to each other, so make sure you have a match when you buy both together.

Selection of housing

The chosen accommodation begins knowing if it will be used in a new construction or a renovation.

New construction

The new construction housings are designed specifically for locations with exposed joists and without drywall, they are usually newly constructed, but these can be used to remodel if you are gutting the space apart.


If the joists are not exposed or if you want to upgrade the current LED system, you should use a reshaped housing. These housings are installed through a small opening in the ceiling and held in place with clips.


Playful and retro, like a piece of pop art.

You can even consider a retrofit housing, probably the cheaper option. An existing coating is removed from its housing and the retrofit is attached to the clips.

When and where to use recessed lighting

Sometimes you want a general or ambient lighting, sometimes you want to focus your light on a piece of art or create an effect like "wall washing".

  • Environmental / general lighting: When you want to light up a room that sees a lot of traffic like your kitchen or your living room.
  • Accent / spot lighting: If you have a focal point as an art work or a fireplace you want to highlight. The optimal angle to reduce glare when the art of spotlights is 30 degrees.
  • Wall washing: By placing your recessed downlight near a wall, effectively effectively flooding it with light, you are bouncing the light into a space in a less rigid way than direct downlight.

GOOD TO KNOW: When possible, add a dimmer to recessed lighting to get more control of your lighting scheme.

Selection of the Trim

The choice of the right recessed lighting system adapts to your aesthetic taste and desired effect.

  • Choose a rimless coating to perfectly fit the surface or a flanged coating for a more prominent look.
  • A square opening for a more modern look, or circular for a more classic aesthetic …
  • A beveled edge for depth or a flat finish for a minimalist finish.

In addition to aesthetic differences, there are a variety of functional differences between the trims that customers should look for in their research.

  • Coatings for the wet position are appropriate for areas where water may come in contact with the cladding, such as a shower or sauna. Wet location coatings are suitable elsewhere.
  • The adjustable coatings are suitable for sloped ceilings or walls that will be washed; otherwise, fixed finishes are the way to go.
  • Adjustable trims, directional edges provide maximum flexibility in orienting light, while gimbals still offer a lot of flexibility, but not so much.
  • The covers of the open reflectors emit the maximum amount of uncontrolled light possible, while the deflector panels and the mirror panels reduce glare.

Lamp selection

Lamps are usually sold separately from the housing and finishes. Most recessed lamps are now integrated with LEDs, the light bulb is not needed. But if you're working with non-LED recessed lighting, there are many different styles of lamps to fit the specifications of any configuration.

  • The A lamp it is the most common type of lamp, useful for a variety of applications. It has no obvious weaknesses, nor exceptional strengths.
  • Perfect as a spot, flood and display lights, Lamps R they contain a reflector and excellent beam control.
  • With their long beams and the wide spread, Lamps PAR they are excellent for task lighting and general lighting.
  • MR16 they are ideal for accent lighting thanks to their excellent beam control.

Basic Rules of Thumb for downlighting of size and spacing in every room

High ambient light is required

3 "-4" of opening.

700-1200 lumens per light

Color temperature 2700-3000K

Diffuse or diffused diffusion

2 & a 3 & # 39; of space between each light

Deflector, adjustable or open reflector finishes

Moderate ambient light is required

2 "-4" dimensions of the opening.

600-1000 lumens per light

Color temperature 2700-3000K

Diffuse or diffused diffusion

3 & a 4 & # 39; of space between each light

Open reflector or adjustable finishes

Living room
It requires little ambient light

Opening dimensions from 2 "- 3.5"

400-800 Lumens for light

Color temperature 2700-3000 K (corresponds to the illumination temperature of existing activities)

Diffuse or diffused diffusion

3 & a 4 & # 39; of space between each light

Open reflector, deflector or adjustable finishes

High ambient light is required

Opening dimensions from 2 "-3.5".

700-1200 lumens per light

Color temperature 2700-3000K

Narrow or punctual beam diffusion

2 & a 3 & # 39; of space between each light

Wet position drawings

It requires little ambient light

Dimensions of the opening from 2 "- 3.5".

400-800 Lumens for light

Color temperature 2700-3000K

Narrow or punctual beam diffusion

3 & a 4 & # 39; of space between each light

Adjustable or open reflector finishes

Accent lighting
It requires little ambient light

1 "- 2" dimensions of the opening

200-400 lumens per light

Color temperature 2700-3000 K (corresponds to the illumination temperature of existing activities)

Spread of points beam

No specific space; adjust as necessary

Open reflector or adjustable finishes

… And now a note on tension and values

According to the National Electric Code (NEC), the housings must be IC (insulation contact) evaluated if the housing is installed less than 3 "from the insulation of the place.The non-IC housings are acceptable when installed 3 "or further from insulation.

It is important to determine the correct tension for the housing. The most common voltage in America is 120 V, although some commercial spaces use 277 V, while international spots normally use 220 V. Once the voltage is determined, you can choose whether the housing will be at line voltage, low voltage or integrated LED.

  • Wired at 120 V, the line voltage housings are easy to maintain and have a lower initial cost, even if the replacement of old lamps and components will add more costs in the long run.
  • Low voltage enclosures offer 12 V or 24 V – while the voltage is lower, these housings provide greater control over light color, quality and attenuation.
  • The integrated LED housings provide maximum control over light and darkening, have low maintenance costs and are the most energy efficient. The biggest disadvantage is that once the LED light bulb goes out, the entire unit will need to be replaced.

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