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Old 11-01-2009, 11:08 PM   #1
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recessed lighting layout


Hi,

Does anyone know of a rule of thumb for spacing 4" recessed lighting fixtures in a 7' ceiling for general lighting. I have a room that is 10' by 12' and I have 6 cans for this room will that be enough or too many or how do I make this decision before actually mounting them and then finding out I got it wrong? I will be using this room as an office.

Thanks

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Old 11-01-2009, 11:14 PM   #2
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recessed lighting layout


I have 8 recessed lights in my kitchen (14x16) and am glad I went with that many. It is bright, but that is how I want my kitchen when I'm in there cooking. I did put them on a dimmer so I can tone it down when I want. I also have under cabinet lighting which is super.

In an office that size, I'm not sure I would want that many recessed lights, but that's me. You should decide for yourself how much light you desire.

Personally, I'd make sure I had some good task lighting -- maybe under cabinet/puck lights. Again, that's me.

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Old 11-02-2009, 12:23 AM   #3
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recessed lighting layout


Understanding how recessed lighting spreads its light is integral to coming up with a recessed lighting layout design. Figure out how far the lights really spread the light. It may be 5 feet and it may be 8 or 9 feet. However large the diameter of effective light is, that will determine the spacing the lighting needs in order to be most effective.
Another thing to keep in mind anytime you are planning a recessed lighting layout design is to think about what the area will be used for. If a lot of reading will need to be done in the room, the recessed lights should be closer together. For bathrooms and kitchens, most people want a bright light that will allow them to see as well as possible. Home offices also need bright lighting.

For a living room or dining room, there may not be as much need for bright overhead lighting. Living rooms, like bedrooms, may not rely on the recessed lighting to provide most of the light. If there are table lamps or floor lamps that are frequently in use in any given room, that room probably doesn’t need as many recessed lights as a room that depends exclusively on the overhead lighting.

For rooms that don’t require bright reading or working light, spacing the recessed lights about 8 or 9 feet apart is enough to provide adequate lighting. For rooms where overhead lighting is extremely important to the function of the room, the lights may be spaced 5 or 6 feet apart. This recessed lighting layout design is not set in stone, but it is a good guideline for most recessed lighting.

So, keep in mind that you have low ceilings, the spread effectiveness will be less (than typical 8 or 9') ceiling, requiring more lights. Another thing to consider, is where the bulb sits in the can, in relation to the trim, is it flush or does it sit up in the can?

If you plan on using the 6, space them 4ft off the (12ft walls) 2 rows of 3, but I would put in 9, evenly spaced at 3ft off the 12ft walls) 3 rows of 3


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Hope this helps - rather have more than not enough, can always tone down with a dimmer.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:05 AM   #4
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recessed lighting layout


More even lighting within the room is had when the distance from the wall to the nearest light is half of the distance between one light and the next light. For example for a 12 foot wide room, three lights would be (from one wall) 2', 6', and 10' respectively (4' light spacing).

Meanwhile you may prefer more light in the middle of the room compared with around the perimeter in which case the previously mentioned equal spacing (3' from wall and from the next light) would be appropriate.

Or some compromise.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:09 AM   #5
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recessed lighting layout


I also put my recessed lighting on 2 different switches
So I can turn some off if not needed
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:48 PM   #6
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recessed lighting layout


When in doubt, put in too many. It's easier to put in lower wattage bulbs than it is to put in additional cans.

You can also put them on a dimmer.

We have three can lights over our kitchen table. It's about 3' by 5'. The dimmer is usually at about 75% (65W bulbs).

Our living room is 24 x15 and we put in six 6" lights. Since it's a living room we can always add a floor lamp or a side lamp. The six lights are on 4 switches, two of which are dimmers. We don't have the room finished, so I can't tell you how successful the plan is.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:08 PM   #7
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recessed lighting layout


I use old power cords to put up lights & see the spread
For unfinished areas I can put up all the lights w/extension cords & move them around as needed
For finished areas I just hold them up & see how the light looks
I don't like too many in a small room...or even a big room
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:17 AM   #8
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recessed lighting layout


Hi, Last night I took scuba Daves advice and installed them in the unfinished ceiling evenly spaced and powered them temporarily with an extension cord to determine if the lighting was sufficient. I have 6 4" cans evenly distributed in the ceiling with about half the distance to the walls as between the cans each with a 20 watt CFL bulbs. As I stated earlier the ceiling is 7' and the room is 10x12 and will be used as an office. The lighting seems sufficient for an office. If I was ever to change the use of theis room to a bedroom I would probably reduce to wattage to 13 W CFLs.

Now I think I am good to go with finishing the ceiling. Thanks for your help.

I hope my description of the layout helps for others with a similar problem. I would suggest that the 4" can is not the most efficient use of the light available from each bulb. If I could have fit a larger can maybe a 6" I would probably have been able to get away with a smaller wattage bulb for the lighting I needed.

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