Recessed Lighting plan - how do you figure it out?

LoPaySeptember 22, 2013

How did you decide on how many, where, what size of fixture, and bulb to use?

Is there much of a difference between brands?

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Sophie Wheeler

You either engage the services of a full service designer, or a separate lighting designer. Often, many lighting stores will have a lighting designer on staff whose services are free if the products are purchased there.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 7:35AM
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I've found that most of the people at the big box stores don't know anymore than I did, which was almost nothing.

We're going with surface fixtures.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 7:50AM
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The Lighting Forum is great. When I was considering lighting, there were three or four really helpful pros over there. Rule of thumb, 35 lumens/sq ft. My recessed LED's are 2 years old. I used the dimmable self trimming Home Depot Ecosmart, made by Cree, which are even cheaper now than they were then. Cree sells their own, too, which are more expensive but have a longer expected life. Cree website also had a list of compatible dimmers.

One thing to remember - no matter how carefully you plan your lighting, after you open the ceiling the plan may need to be tweaked to accommodate unexpected obstacles like joists.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:20AM
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I spent days in the Lighting forum. And on google trying to fill in any gaps. Then I made my own plan and posted for feedback, as well as took it to the local lighting place where I planned to purchase most of the components. One of the experts in Lighting was gracious enough to help me out with a bunch of questions I had.

Ultimately, I was pretty close with what I originally came up with, so I felt pretty good about that!

Start with the 35 lumens/sf for a rough estimate of how many recessed cans/fixtures. Then decide which lights you want (consensus seems to be the Cree Ecosmart are a good choice for quality and value, but others are just fine too). Spacing will be determined by fixture size and layout. Then add task lighting, usually under cabinet lights.

Here's a late draft of mine, some things moved a tad, and the switches are a little different.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Yes, using the services of an Interior Designer who understands lighting (a large portion do not) is very helpful. Think about the tasks that you will be doing in various areas of your kitchen and the lighting requirements you need (or would like). Layering lighting, have different zones of lighting and dimmers are wonderful. I have never met anyone yet who has said they had too much light to work in. Also depending on the type of fixtures you select heat could be an issue. This is where the services of an Interior Designer are helpful.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Thanks everybody - good information ! I haven't discussed the lighting plan with my designer yet. I will loop back with her.

I definitely want dimmers on everything, and will have under cabinet task lighting. I just don't want to have lights placed in the wrong places. I've consider surface fixtures, but worry about it looking too low with a standard 8 foot ceiling. And I can't help but think about the movie "Steele Magnolias" when track lighting is mentioned :).

I browsed the lighting forum, but will go back and look again.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 6:56PM
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