5' or 6' recessed lights? any other tips?

Lake_GirlOctober 13, 2011

We're installing recessed lights in the kitchen this weekend. We've purchased 5in and 6in recessed because we're just not sure what would be best. Our ceiling is 9 ft high. Any other tips or things we should consider (placement, etc.), or things you wished you had done differently? Thanks !!

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Oh well, trust me the lights are big, but not that big :)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:24PM
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I've tried this twice. When I put inch, it goes to a foot sign. I give up! Please help! I'm losing my mind without computer issues to boot!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:26PM
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it's a glitch with the board, it's not you. Next time, just type two apostrophes rather than the quotation sign. It happens to everyone!

Now, back to matters at hand. We did a kitchen in 2003 and used I think 5" cans. In the current kitchen done at the end of 2009, we used the mini recessed lights. Maybe three inches, or something like that? Halogen. Works well with the modern look of our kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:48PM
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Here's my kitchen with cans.

Since we already had 6" cans in part of the house open to the kitchen, we put new 6" cans in the kitchen. This pic doesn't really do much to help because the trim housing isn't on them yet, and one can doesn't have a bulb. (The holes over the island are for ceiling flush mounts.)

As far as placement, here are some general tips. Cans in front of uppers should be centered on the front edge of the counter. Cans over counters without uppers should be centered over the middle of the counter.

If you need to know how far apart, where to generally place them, etc., I'm no help. I could show you my lighting plan done by a lighting store pro, but it's been criticized here so I'm not so sure you want to see it. :) I suggest posting your layout on the Lighting Forum for help or go to a lighting store and ask for help.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:40AM
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think about what kind of light you want. mine are LEDs and the ones i got were too cold/blue(3200K). i am paying more to swap them out for 2700K which is a warmer, incandescent look.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 1:24AM
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5" are plenty big. We have 6" in our other rooms and I think they are much too large. Our architect spaced the kitchen lights at 4 feet apart and it's definitely enough light. Plus there's under- cabinet lighting and pendants over the island.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 7:50AM
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Thanks for tips so far! We are trying to get by without putting a ton of lights, but do want to have "enough". After looking at the housing for 5in and 6in cans for a remodel, and the trim kit, I think the 5in. will hold a bulb with enough wattage to do the job, plus I like the smaller hole the 5in leaves. But, I know 6in is probably more common, so you may have more options when choosing newer, more updated bulbs etc. We've lived with a blue/ gray florescent light for years. We thought maybe the newer bulbs would make a difference. We tried two different ones, and didn't like either.

babushka cat - I had seen your thread and wondered if you had found a more pleasing bulb.

Any ideas on how far out from the wall the lights should be?? I thought right over the countertop, but an electrician said that the upper cab would cut off some of the light hitting the surface. He said to come out a bit further.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 8:28AM
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As to your last question, check out my post above.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 10:41AM
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6" cans are more common because the smaller ones are a newer product and more expensive for being newer, I guess. We did 4" cans and like them. Given a choice, the newer, smaller cans are the "in" thing, for what that's worth. They are tidier on the ceiling to my eye.

Because I knew zip about lighting plans when we got to that point, I went to the lighting store and threw myself at their mercy begging for help. The salesperson was really very helpful about the theory and practice of lighting a space. Even if you don't buy from the store, you still get to pick their brains and inspect their merchandise. We did buy from the store (we asked for a "better" price and got several hundred dollars knocked off), but we could have done part them and part big box, or even all big box. Lighting plans just don't float my boat the way some other aspects of this reno do, so I was glad to pay for that bit of guidance.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 11:04AM
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We put 4 inch cans in our kitchen. We tried to center them on the cabinet doors (as much as we could). I argued for days with my GC and electrician about how far out from the wall they should go. GC and electrician wanted the lights to be 30-36 inches from the wall but I put them 24 inches from the wall so that the lights would hit the counter in FRONT of me so that it wouldn't cast a shadow when I was standing at the counter. I am really happy with the way they look so far. My cabinets are in and my granite goes in next week so that will be the real test. With 4 inch cans should be no more than 4 feet apart and 5 inch cans should be no more than 5 feet apart etc.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:15PM
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suzannes1 - I am with you. Lighting doesn't float my boat either. My eyes just glaze over, yet it's so important. Thanks for your help. I think I'll make 4 inch templates tonight to see how they look and fit.

breezy girl and chitown remodel - thanks for great advice on placement. I think the furthest two lights are right at 4 feet.

Sorry I missed it the first time, breezy, my bad. When I'm checking GW it's about 2 1/2 seconds between work, when the boss isn't looking :)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 5:31PM
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No problem. Sometimes I have 2 1/2 seconds between kids fighting to check GW. :)

I toyed with using 4" cans in the kitchen even though we had existing 6" ones in the house. I figured that although 4" cans are less obtrusive, you have to use more of them to light the same space since they must be placed closer together. I was trying to avoid ceiling acne so decided that more, smaller cans would be worse than fewer, larger cans. I don't really even like cans to start with so prefer not to think about them again!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 5:48PM
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I think 5'' look better than 6'' but I have a suggestion if LED lights are in your budget. You can use Cree CR6 lights (not LR6, they are more expensive and don't dim very low). The CR6 lights are 6'' so you can use the cheaper 6'' recessed fixtures and the CR6 bulbs include the trim, which is not the case with incadescents. The Cree CR6 lights have a smaller aperture than 6'' incadescent lights, so they look like 5'' lights. We got the 2700K color temperature which is beautiful. Another great thing is they put out the light of a 65 watt bulb but use only 10-1/2 watts. This adds up in a kitchen with lots of lights that are on for long periods of time. And the light is much nicer with less glare than the light from incandescents.

You may find the price differentital for LEDs is not that great when you add up the price for the incandescent trim.

We put them in our kitchen (about 17 bulbs) and LOVE them!


Here is a link that might be useful: CR6 bulbs for $53

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 6:59PM
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Just to follow up - We used 5 in. recessed lights. With the trim kit, the same bulbs fit. So atleast the holes are a bit smaller. One inch probably doesn't make that much difference after all. Thanks for the tips billy g. Thanks for all the helpful comments.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 7:57AM
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Recessed Lighting is the way to go!

Here is a link that might be useful: Recessed Lighting

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:26PM
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Lake girl - which led lights did you use with your 5 inch cans?
We put in 5 inch but found limited options. We used cooper LED but want ideas for the future


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:47PM
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a2gemini, my lighting guy (not GC) is pushing the copper dedicated 4" LED retrofit can plus trim/led bulb.Three year warranty.

Do you like yours so far? They are 2700 Kelvin? They are not american made, fwiw, and so inexpensive I wonder I'd be getting.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Holly- Kay

We are going with six inch because that is what is there now. We are adding several and changing out the old cans for an updated one.

My eyes glaze over too when it comes to lighting. I let the kd and electrician hash it out!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:00PM
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I put in small recessed halogens in my 10x14 kitchen with 9 foot ceilings. The trims are 4" (inches) across and can be aimed.

I have 10 I think in the space, positioned more or less on 24 inches out from the wall above the leading edge of the counters.

Exceptions are in front of the range, I pulled the light further into the room to clear the hood, and in front of the fridge where there is a light centered about 12 inches or so out from the face of the fridge. And then in front of the two 12 inch deep sets of cabinets on the 'pantry wall' I positioned lighting again about 10-12 inches out from the face of the cabinets to provide lighting.

I also put in 19 LED cabinet lights, which frankly, we use 99% of the time. The ceiling lights come on mostly if we're cleaning and need to see nooks and crannies. The LED in cabinet and under cabinet lights are plenty.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:30PM
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We are going with 6" cans to match the rest of the cans in our house and since they are cheaper.

We are also considering the Cree CR6 soft white LED bulbs (EcoSmart brand from Home Depot) to retrofit in them. We bought one to give a try and really like the amount and color of the light. There is an initial sting to the wallet but we hope to see a noticeable reduction in our electric bill.

Some say the lights should be centered over the front edge of the counters that have upper cabinets, but I think that depends on your ceiling height. With an 8ft ceiling, then that should likely be the case. We have a 9ft ceiling and will be putting them 36" out from the walls and spaced about 4.5ft apart. I don't think that we will have a shadow issue. This also helps keep all of our lights in line with each other, as the lights have to be further out where we have our tall cabinets (pantry, refrigerator, oven/microwave).

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:34PM
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I centered our lights over the counter top to the best of our ability (beam locations etc). I think this causes the least amount of shadows but others my say there are better placements. I think it the lights are "behind" you, you will get shadows.

Ours are placed as evenly as possible - but our beams got in the way, so there are some deviations. We did put the sink one over the sink and not in line with the others.

We could have put another row of LEDs down the center but I went decorative - that way, if I want the incandescent look, I am set.

Lake-Girl - ours our Cooper not Copper - and we went with 3000K. They are white not yellow or blue. I thought I screwed up as the Cree won't fit the 5 inch cans and thought I wanted the "incandescent" look. My DH said - light should be white not yellow -it is just we are so used to yellow.

The trim kits for Cooper fit the 5 and 6 inch cans so the overall appearance is the same.

The advantage of the 5 inch over 6 inch is you have a bit more flexibility in placement because they are a bit smaller.

The disadvantage - at this point, there are not many choices for 5 inch.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:05AM
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