Talk to me about recessed lighting!

aggieroseNovember 6, 2012

We are preparing to add about 10 recessed lights in our house. I will also be replacing the "nipple" lights with recessed lights too. Is there a standard light that people usually use? There are a ton on the home improvement websites and I have no idea what to get!Thanks!

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You didn't say which places in your here's my general advice.

Mostly, you want to avoid what is often called the "Swiss cheese ceiling."

Consequently, I am a fan of smaller, more specific recessed lights.
I like them positioned close to the edges of a room, washing the walls in specific places, rather than running down the central parts.

A room lit only by ceiling lights can look dead and unwelcoming, so well-spaced table, wall, and/or floor lamps are important in living areas.

The exception might be in a kitchen or workroom - but always on dimmers, and ideally set up in zones, so that you can control the lighting levels based on which function you want to emphasize...turning them up in the cooking zone, for instance, and then down when you move to the eating area.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Do you have a local lighting store? Not a big box store, but a store that specializes in lighting. Take a drawing of your room, or photos, and talk to them on what would be the best to use. Be willing to at least buy your bulbs from them for their advice. : )

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:33PM
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I would suggest planning on LEDs -- they are cooler and much more energy efficient. They also come on instantly, have a more pleasant light, don't make noises and they are dimmable. Cree appears to make the best ones. That is what we have in our house -- some 4" and some 6".

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:26AM
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I have found that I can get some recessed lights for less than $20, while others are over $60. Are the $60 worth it, and if so, why?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:40PM
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Lowes has their own brand and I am happy with my LED lights.. They are dimmable. They go one instantly. They are bright and flood the area like they are suppose to. The R30's are about $20. I got the soft white. First, I bought one to make sure that I liked it. I like a lot of light, especially in the kitchen. I am glad that I have recessed lighting. Also, I can dim them when I have company.

I didn't get the cool looking lights, I got the LED lights that look like normal bulbs.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:21AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

A lot of the expense in recessed lighting has to do with the trims...I spent big bucks on the ones in my library as I wanted to get the golden metallic lining on the trim. Also there can be a difference between new light fixtures and retrofit which are designed to go into a remodeling situation vs. new construction. The types of bulbs they will accommodate will make a difference and the exterior trim will also make a difference. A good lighting store will have a "dark room" with lots of different recessed lights where you can turn them on and off separately to see how they affect the room...spots, floods, eyeball, slots, etc. It's fun to go play with them and learn what's what.

I prefer 4" to 5" recessed cans....and I like how Candice Olson places hers for highlighting the room...about 14" from the wall to skim the fronts of drapes, book cases, fireplaces, etc.

Dimming I consider essential as it really sets the one feels comfortable, no matter how lovely the room, if it's lit like an operating room.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:45AM
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We went ahead and got 1 LED recessed light at Home depot to install just to see how we liked it. It was $50. It's horrible. The light looks very fluorescent. We'll be returning it and looking for something else. I hope to find something that will provide bright light (but dimable), but I don't want to feel like I'm in an office building.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes LED can go very cold with their light. They are making warmer ones though.

It might be helpful for you to get familiar with kelvin light temperatures....which is a way of grading the warmth or coolness (yellowness or blueness) of lighting. Finding out the kelvin of the bulb ahead of time will help guide you toward the look you want....

Here is a link that might be useful: LED lighting temperatures

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:04AM
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GinaXOXO, if you could post a link to the bulb you purchased at Lowe's it would be very helpful! We need to buy about 15 since we are finishing our basement, and would love to find what you've described, but I can't find it on Lowe's site -- thank you! And thank you, aggierose, for asking!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Aggierose, I am not a fan of LED lights for general home lighting. I find them to be cold and robotic, and about as far from the feeling of firelight, candlelight, and incandescent bulbs as you can get.

That said, I know that new versions of green lighting are being developed all the time.

But installed electrical things are not a place to choose on price alone. You should educate yourself about the reputations of certain brands, buy the best quality you can afford, and have them installed by a well-regarded, licensed electrician who knows the differences among fixtures and bulbs, and can explain them to you.

We are so accustomed to the fairly recent luxuries of plumbing and power in our walls that it is too easy to forget that there are still dangers to consider. It's particularly important now, when cheap versions of things from China and elesewhere are flooding the market with a minimum of inspection and regulation.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Of course, we had our cans installed by a licensed electrician and I plan to talk with them about bulbs when they come out to do the final. But in the meantime, I would like to know if there are flood LED's that simulate incandescent, are dimmable, go on instantly, and won't break the budget. I might rather spend more now and have a smaller electric bill, for years, than we would have had if we used incandescent or fluorescent. The area where most of the recessed lights are will mainly be used to watch movies so they probably won't be on brightly very often, but it would be nice to have a very bright area if/when we choose to...

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Sounds like you are on top of it. I may have misunderstood your question, thinking you were looking for inexpensive cans rather than asking about bulbs.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:22PM
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So you're just wondering about the light bulbs, right? And you want LEDs if they aren't too expensive. If you search the lighting forum, they like the home depot ecosmart LED lights. These will fit 6" cans - I didn't see if you said which size can you installed. When I went to the home depot site, they wanted my zip code to get local pricing, which was $34.97 for my zip. These lights are made by Cree, an LED light bulb maker with an excellent reputation. The home depot bulbs appear to be an exact version of a more expensive Cree branded bulb (but I forget the model number).

We put 8 of these bulbs in our basement and we are very happy with them. They do everything you want (dim, come on instantly to full brightness, are very bright, and since we got the 2700k version, they look very much like incandescent light, not the blue/white light that many associate with LEDs). Cree makes the light a warmer color by adding some yellow and red bulbs. Also, these bulbs include the trim and we like the way it looks. They are very easy to install in an existing 6" can.

We also put LEDs in our kitchen when we remodeled. These were the real Cree's and were much more expensive and are a slightly different model. We are also very happy with these bulbs.

Good luck with your decision. I know the LEDs are still expensive, but we don't regret our decision at all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home depot ecosmart bulb

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:53PM
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I have LED's in a bird room that has a very high ceiling, but I had to order from the site below to get what I needed.

HD nor Lowes carried any LED's with a wide beam, which I needed for maximum lighting of the room. All the lights I found locally were more of a spot light with a 25 deg. beam.
Be sure to take beam angle into consideration when shopping.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED's

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Hoosiergirl, I didn't see your question. I snapped a picture of an extra BR40. We got the same exact product in BR30 also. I still love them. After adding a few we loved them so much that we updated almost every light to LEDs from Lowes. The only regret I have is that we aren't completely converted yet. In other words, I don't regret spending the extra money on LEDs. I want a Christmas tree kit by LEDs next Christmas. (:

Let me know if you have any questions.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:56PM
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