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Old 08-17-2015, 12:02 PM   #1
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Placement question for recessed lights in living room


I'm in the process of installing some recessed lighting in my living room. It's a split level home, so there are stairs leading upstairs to the bedrooms and downstairs to the foyer on one side of the room. The room is about 12 feet wide by 23 feet long, but due to the stairs it's not a clean edge on one side of the 23 foot length. There's also a bow window with five windowpanes along the 23 foot length.

I was planning on six 6" lights in the room, with three 4" accent lights on the 12 foot wall opposite the stairs. Should I align the middle 6" lights with the middle of the window, which is around 11 feet from the end wall? The problem I see with doing this, is that if I space the lighting 3 feet away from the non-stair wall, then the middle pair of lights (aligned with middle of window) is about 8 feet away. If I then space the last pair evenly from the middle pair (another 8 feet) then I won't have 3 feet of distance from the stair wall. The lights would be at 3' - 11' - 19'. On paper it sounds like it would work, but look at the pic of the ceiling and you'll see the challenge. Spacing the lights at 19' from the far wall would put them very close to where the ceiling ends near the steps.

Confusing and hard to describe in words. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks



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Old 08-17-2015, 12:17 PM   #2
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Placement question for recessed lights in living room


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Originally Posted by PSUlion01 View Post
I'm in the process of installing some recessed lighting in my living room. It's a split level home, so there are stairs leading upstairs to the bedrooms and downstairs to the foyer on one side of the room. The room is about 12 feet wide by 23 feet long, but due to the stairs it's not a clean edge on one side of the 23 foot length. There's also a bow window with five windowpanes along the 23 foot length.

I was planning on six 6" lights in the room, with three 4" accent lights on the 12 foot wall opposite the stairs. Should I align the middle 6" lights with the middle of the window, which is around 11 feet from the end wall? The problem I see with doing this, is that if I space the lighting 3 feet away from the non-stair wall, then the middle pair of lights (aligned with middle of window) is about 8 feet away. If I then space the last pair evenly from the middle pair (another 8 feet) then I won't have 3 feet of distance from the stair wall. The lights would be at 3' - 11' - 19'. On paper it sounds like it would work, but look at the pic of the ceiling and you'll see the challenge. Spacing the lights at 19' from the far wall would put them very close to where the ceiling ends near the steps.

Confusing and hard to describe in words. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks



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I would not put too much weight on aligning the lights with the window. Recessed lights are not very noticeable and only electricians and lighting designers would pick up on how they are laid out. Do what works for lighting the room the way you want it. How about eliminating the one light that comes close to the stairs?

Work it all out on a floor plan drawing. When you go to do the installation you may have to adjust the position of the lights due to obstacles in the ceiling such as pipes and ducts.

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Old 08-17-2015, 12:40 PM   #3
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Placement question for recessed lights in living room


I can speak from experience that areas near to the stairwell might have extra framing in the ceiling. At least there is sufficient room for the ceiling box that holds the smoke detector. That joist space might be OK, but as John said, think about pipes from above.

On another light I installed, I cut the hole and I was close to some water pipes running through that particular joist space. One more inch to the left and I would have been patching popcorn ceiling. I got lucky. Know anybody with an inspection camera? You can get a cheapie at Harbor Freight (which I know use on a regular basis)
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:40 PM   #4
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Placement question for recessed lights in living room


How about 4', 11, and 18' spacing? Now this will reduce the lighting on the stairs itself so you might want to think about additional lighting coming down the stairs from the second floor.

You could pull back yet a little more from the stairs and front door if you have additional downlighting coming into the room from the foyer (front door area).

In the 12' direction the best spacing is 3' and 9'. For the pair closest to the stairs and front door you could go 4' and 8'.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-17-2015 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:45 PM   #5
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Placement question for recessed lights in living room


Thanks for the reply. No need to worry about adjusting as they're being installed, as the ceiling is currently open and I have full access. No obstructions in sight.

My concern with not aligning with the window is that the center light will be about a foot off of the middle of the window. I'm not sure if that will look stranger than having the pairs of lights spaced unevenly. As for eliminating the light by the stairs I don't know if that would work. Perhaps that one light is closer to the middle pair (maybe 5 feet away from the center light) while the one behind it (in the far corner of my picture), is spaced evenly as it should be. I just don't want to find out the hard way by cutting holes and needing to patch them up when things don't look right. Thanks again for the help.


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Old 08-17-2015, 01:41 PM   #6
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Placement question for recessed lights in living room


Who do you think checks to see if a recessed can (used primarily at night) aligns with a window (used primarily in the day) ?

Concentrate on getting good lighting in the room. Other than your closest friends and family who might notice the improvement, no one notices good lighting. The one sure way to get them to notice is to have poor lighting (uneven lighting, shadows, etc)

The only people that fixate on staring up at recessed cans are people that are in the process of buying/installing them.

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