I'd like to light up a small toilet room (4' x 6', with 8' ceiling) with the smallest possible recessed lighting fixture. I can find 3" cans that use a 50W MR16 bulb, but do you think this would be enough light?
That's not very bright. Look into the LEDs
No, not enough light, it would look like a weak spotlight. How about one or two sconces with LED bulbs in them?
50 watt halogen MR16s (which run on 12v low voltage) are quite bright - nearly what a 90w incandescent floodlight would be. Look for a wide beam spread; you can also get high-efficiency 35w halogen MR16s that are as bright (but not as hot) as regular 50 watt bulbs.
Though slightly larger, the ECO4-575L 4" LED modules sold at Home Depot are also good - very bright and use only 9.5 watts each, and are dimmable.
Thanks for the suggestions. I've been trying different bulbs in another recessed light, and I've found that the halogen bulbs show a lot more shadows than the more diffuse CFL bulbs. The trouble with the CFL's is that by the time they get up to full brightness, you've left the bathroom.
That's why I like the LED modules - they are diffuse, and turn on immediately at full brightness.
Are the bulbs you're using in your recessed light reflector-shape floodlamp bulbs, or standard-shaped light bulbs? If the latter, use halogen bulbs that are white frosted, not clear. Or good LED retrofits, like the Ikea 502.225.55 40w equivalent and their dimmable 502.225.55 60w equivalent, both of which give of excellent incandescent-quality light, are silent, and turn on at full brightness immediately. Both aim most of their light out the outer half of the bulb, partcularly the 40w replacement, but that's a plus when installing in a recessed can.
lee676 - Could you please double check the numbers for the Ikea LEDs? I can't locate that number on their website.
oops, didn't quite get that right - here are the correct numbers:
402.224.76 - 8.5w (40w equivalent)
502.225.55 - 10w (60w equivalent), dimmable
The dimmable 60w replacement bulb ($14.99) isn't on their website as of now, but it (sometimes) has been in their stores around here for the last few weeks - I bought several. I've also used their candelabra bulb and the clear version of the 40w replacement (which glares a bit too much compared to clear incandescent bulbs for my taste, but may work well for certain indoor or outdoor applications like lanterns that look good with clear bulbs).
Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA LED light bulbs