How Many Recessed Lights?

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General Lighting Calculator

1. Enter room dimensions in inches:

[item-236_quantity] in.  x  [item-235_quantity] in.

2. Select the ceiling height:

3. Select the ceiling type:

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Results

Number of Lights:

1 light

Number of Lights:

2 lights

Number of Lights:

2 lights

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3 lights

Number of Lights:

3 lights

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4 lights

Number of Lights:

4 lights

Number of Lights:

4 lights

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5 lights

Number of Lights:

5 lights

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6 lights

Number of Lights:

6 lights

Number of Lights:

6 lights

Number of Lights:

6 lights

Number of Lights:

7 lights

Number of Lights:

7 lights

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8 lights

Number of Lights:

8 lights

Number of Lights:

8 lights

Number of Lights:

8 lights

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9 lights

Number of Lights:

9 lights

Number of Lights:

9 lights

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10 lights

Number of Lights:

10 lights

Number of Lights:

12 lights

Number of Lights:

12 lights

Number of Lights:

12 lights

Number of Lights:

12 lights

Type: Fixed Downlight
Type: Adjustable (Gimbal) Downlight
Minimum Brightness: 600 lumens
Minimum Brightness: 750 lumens
Beam Angle: Wide Flood
Beam Angle: Flood
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Final cost

Results:

Number of Lights: 1 light

Summary

Description Information Quantity Price
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Total :

How many recessed lights?Use the calculator on this page to determine how many recessed lights a room needs for General lighting.

Once you know how many lights you need, you can decide on a layout and calculate their placement.

Before you start, you need to know the room’s dimensions (length and width). Measure in inches for accuracy. You can use the same measurements to calculate where to place the lights on the ceiling when you’re ready.

 

What Is General Lighting?

General lighting (aka Ambient Lighting) provides overall illumination for a room. Every room needs general lighting. Windows and skylights may provide enough light when the sun is shining, but in the evening a room without light is useless except for sleeping.

 

Why is Recessed Lighting best for General Lighting?

Recessed lighting is ideal for general lighting. It provides lighting for an entire room, and when combined with a dimmer switch, gives you full control of a room’s brightness at any time of the day or night. If your home lacks overhead lighting, I can confidently say it’s one of the best improvements you can make to your home.

 

How Does General Lighting Work?

 

General lighting diagram with recessed lightsLight shines downward from a recessed light in the shape of a cone. From a top-down perspective (aka a reflected ceiling plan), think circles of light. 

With general lighting, the circles of light get distributed evenly and intersect above the work plain. The number of recessed lights a room needs comes down to the number of circles of light needed to cover the space with an adequate concentration of light.

How to Measure a Room for Recessed Lighting

 

To determine how many recessed lights a room needs, you first need to define the space. If you have an open floor plan that combines several living areas, think of each area as a separate room by creating imaginary walls to define them. Then you can measure and calculate each space separately.

In the example below, you’ll see a typical open floor plan that combines a kitchen, dining nook, and family room. Notice how the number of lights for each space was calculated separately.

 

Reflected ceiling plan with segments for lights

How Many Recessed Lights for Tall Ceilings?

A common misconception is that tall ceilings need more lights, but that’s not usually the case. Tall ceilings allow the cones of light more distance to spread than low ceilings, so they provide plenty of coverage for the room. Most often you’ll be better off installing brighter lights rather than more lights. For ceilings taller than 16-feet, using LED lights with a narrow flood beam angle will get more of the light down from the ceiling to the surface plain. 

Next Steps…

 

Once you know how many lights a room needs, you can use this calculator to create a reflected ceiling plan.

 

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