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Old 07-05-2011, 08:39 AM   #1
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Recessed lighting design questions


I have been commissioned, free of charge of course, to install recessed lighting in my parents' family room. It is replacing a single fixture with four 4-foot fluorescent lamps.

That being said, I have NO idea how to properly lay out recessed lights. I am waiting for the exact measurements, but here is what i can guess:

Room size: 20' x 12'
Ceiling height: 8'

One thing I have noticed in other peoples' houses that I do not like is when there are too few recessed lights, which forces them to have to be very bright (and piercing) to adequately illuminate the room. I would err on the side of more fixtures, and lower-wattage bulbs (or a dimmer) to make more even, soft light.

How do I know what size fixtures to use? How far apart to space them?

Also - are there any fancy (dual) dimmer switches that would allow me to split the lights in half without having to run an extra hot from the switch? I know lutron makes a switch that allows you to control a fan & light independently with only 2-conductor wire (with a canopy module), but I cannot find one that is meant to convert to two dimmers.

Thanks!

Edit - rough sketch of the room below:
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:26 AM   #2
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Recessed lighting design questions


Andy,

I might consider an assymetrical layout with multiple switches. You might want to consider 6" with a baffle trim and a flood PAR bulb. You could use a 6-8' center between lights. I would try to put them over the sitting areas so you have good light to read. Near the TV i would have a separate switch so you don't get screen glare.

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Old 07-05-2011, 10:31 AM   #3
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Recessed lighting design questions


Thanks, Jim. Think you could provide some more specifics on how you'd lay out the lights?
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:37 AM   #4
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Recessed lighting design questions


I might consider 3' off the long walls and 4' off the short wall with 6' in between.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:50 AM   #5
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Recessed lighting design questions


So, two rows of 4 lights each? I was wondering if I should do 3 rows. Maybe that's overkill...
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:55 AM   #6
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Recessed lighting design questions


It works out to 2 rows of 3.

One at 4', the next at 10', the third at 16' with 4' to the wall for the total of 20'
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:08 AM   #7
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Recessed lighting design questions


Is this a suspended ceiling? If not, the layout will depend upon ceiling joist layout, ductwork, piping, etc.
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:11 AM   #8
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Even with a suspended ceiling you could have obstructions we have no details about. This is why I lay them out in a CAD drawing first.
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
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Recessed lighting design questions


It's a drywall ceiling, and the joists run parallel with the short wall (left to right in the picture). Shouldn't be any plumbing in that area. There are really no obstructions to speak of.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:00 PM   #10
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Recessed lighting design questions


Just got the measurements of the room, I was a bit off, it's 17x16.

I just went to a lighting store, the guy there suggested a normal fixture (maybe with fan) in the center of the room, then 6 cans around the perimeter (like what Jim suggested).

Maybe put the fan/light on one switch, the recessed on another. Thoughts?

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