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Thread: Advice on laying out recessed lights

  1. #1
    Engineer chassis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    SE Pennsylvania

    Default Advice on laying out recessed lights

    Thought this would get more views in this forum, plus it's remodel-related anyway.

    Have a house built in the 1950s and want to put recessed lighting in the foyer. The entryway is 10' x 10' with a 20' x 5' center hall leading to the rear of the house. I think I want 4 small diameter (4" ?) recessed lights in the entry, and in the hallway one can every 6 feet or so. Does this sound OK? Wattage would be 60W each or less incandescent. Would like to do warm fluorescent but I haven't found dimmable fluor. bulbs.

    Any rules/tips on how many cans I should put in? At the present moment there is a hanging pendant in the center of the entry ceiling. I will keep it. So I will have the pendant on one circuit, and all the recessed lights on another, probably on a dimmer. That will let me have a few options on lighting scene.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    You really need to talk to a lighting designer or study the websites of the manufacturers well. Depending on the bulb you use, the ceiling height, and the size of the can, you can size and space the system out. Just changing a bulb from a flood to a spot makes a big difference, and changing it to a "standard" lightbulb, radically changes the light level and pattern, too.

    The better websites will show you the angle of coverage for their fixtures with various bulbs. Then, based on how high the ceiling is, you can determine how close to put them to create an even coverage. Now, that may not be what you want. FOr example, you might be trying to highlight some artwork, or feature. One manufacturer that I've played with is www.waclighting.com. There are others that make similar such as www.cooperlighting.com (not absolutely sure on this one - they make Halo stuff, if I remember). But, the general shape and bulb characteristics are very similar for each manufactuer.

    So, spend some quality time researching, or buy the stuff from a lighting store that offers design help.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Central Florida


    One other tip -- get a roll of blue masking tape and use it to lay out the locations of the joists in the ceiling. They will really affect (usually adversely) the locations of the cans.


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