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Old 09-08-2010, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Schaumburg
557 posts, read 1,362,018 times
Reputation: 423
Default How many recessed lights should I install?

My 1960s ranch house never had ceiling lights installed in the living room. I am now getting ready to put in recessed lighting. The ceiling is standard (10ft) and the room dimensions are 16x14.

I'm not sure if I should put 3 recessed lights on one side of the room or both sides, or to save money, put 2 recessed lights in on both sides.

Anyone have any suggestions? My main concern is to make it look nice.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:10 PM
 
21,477 posts, read 35,351,953 times
Reputation: 10511
Default Technically speaking...

...there are forumulae known to "lightening designers" and available from most websites of lighting companies that will help you calculate the acceptable lumens from a given fixture / bud combination at a given height / spacing.

Assuming you are not going to be using those light for needlepoint/stamp grading/ amateur surgery, and the walls are not covered in dark paint / fabric I would guess four recessed light would put out more than adequate light. If it turns out you really are thinking of making this into a temporary set for HD TV shows OR you want the effect of more lights of lower indivual output (which might also be good for some of the higher efficiency lighting options) the spacing of six lights in a moderate sized room might be an issue...
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Utah
4,290 posts, read 8,275,821 times
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I had 5" recessed lights put in my living room about 5 years ago. Prior to that, no overhead lighting. I made my decisions based on lighting needs in the room. I have an entertainment center, loveseat, sofa, coffee table, and end table in the room. I positioned recessed lights above both the sofa & loveseat so that there would be ample lighting for reading. I did place a light above the entertainment center but it's on a separate switch. I don't want light shining on my tv while watching it. I also placed a light over my sofa table. That light could be used to highlight a niece piece of art. Again that light was on different switch than the sofa/loveseat lighting. So I ended up with 7 lights on two switches. The main lighting is on a dimmer so it can be adjusted for optimal television viewing, or just for mood lighting. I'm not certain of the size of my living room. But I do know there's too much oversized furniture in there. I used halogen bulbs in my fixtures because I cannot stand fluorescent lighting.

Do you have a lighting store near you? I'd go to a showroom and look at all the different choices. Perhaps someone their could guide you through what you need for your space. There are different lights for exposed ceilings vs finished ceilings; insulated or not; lights that shine straight down vs those that can be adjusted, etc.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:29 PM
Status: "Character is what you do when no one is looking..." (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
21,012 posts, read 22,187,467 times
Reputation: 49917
here are some tips:
Recessed Lighting- Recessed Lighting Basics
Active Electrical Supply Co. & Fox Lighting Galleries - Recessed Lighting FAQs
On The House with the Carey Bros. & Rebecca Cole. : Recessed Lighting -> Weekly Project
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Schaumburg
557 posts, read 1,362,018 times
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Thanks everyone, I decided to go with Chet's advice (Chet--you seem to know a lot about everything!!), and get 2 lights on each side. I won't have a tv in the living room, just my piano, a bookcase and some seating arrangement. I got an electrician with a lot of good reviews (and 10% discount) on Angie's List, so the work will be done in a few weeks. He'll supply the lighting plus the trim around the lighting on the celining.
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Utah
4,290 posts, read 8,275,821 times
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Glad you've got things lined up. I hope you like the way it turns out.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
302 posts, read 618,032 times
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My kitchen is roughly the same dimensions and I have 6 (R30's) and it seems pretty well lit.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,239 posts, read 11,313,735 times
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I would say 6 lights also.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,647 posts, read 20,724,030 times
Reputation: 5143
You seem pretty well set on recessed.
For a living room I probably wouldn't do it. I'd probably do a dual function- Ceiling fan with light kit.
If you do get the recessed- get a dimmer.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
302 posts, read 618,032 times
Reputation: 89
And if you do dimmable do not use compact flourescent. Only some of them are dimmable and the ones that are donot dim much at all, maybe 30% at most.
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