Placement of recessed lights
We are building a new single story home and want to use recessed lights in the kitchen. I don’t particularly like the looks of the larger 6″ lights, and are considering using 4″ ones.
What are the drawbacks of the smaller ones, and how do I determine how to place them. The room is approximately 12′ x 13′ with a center island.
Thanks for the input.
Junolighting has photometric data available for their cans,
perhaps you can determine your needs with that info.
My electrician charges more for the small ones (mini-cans) than the regular sized ones. I don't know what the price is if you are buying them yourself. Maybe he charges more just because he doesn't keep them "in stock".
As far as recesed lighting placement, generally they are placed about 1' out into the room from the edge of the counter top. You may want to place one directly over a specific task area like the kitchen sink.
Price spike for the small ones could be because, most of the time the bulbs cost more for them little cans.
Not an electrician, nor a fan of recessed lighting.....take it fot what its worth.
Recessed lighting works well for task areas, but in order to properly light an entire room, you`ll need many. Smaller cans would require even more.
I prefer using recessed lighting as complimentary additional sources....not as the sole source of lighting.
The size of your kitchen would likely be served well with a single overhead fixture and some under cabinet lighting. (Perhaps a recessed over the sink.)
My two cents.
J. D. Reynolds
.....I have to agree , I use them around my place as wall washers, I did experiment once and mounted the thing horizontally in a soffit, ......the HO didn't see the humor.....
Even though I know Home Depot is the devil's work, we occasionally find new interesting products. At our local HD, they've got 3" inch mini recessed cans, that use directional halogen bulbs, that come with either a white or brushed knickel trim kit. I don't know the manufacturer's name, but when I go there today, I'll look it up and see if I can post a picture. The benefit of this type of lighting it they look great, their dimmable, and believe it or not, from a material cost, they're in expensive. The only drawback was installation: after installing innumberable six and four inch cans, installing this little cylinder's was tricky. I believe they'd work best in a remodel situation (drywall already installed) versus a new construction setting. Our client's love them. I'll try and get you a name and number, or find you a link to them. Every client who's seen them since has loved their look. My only caveat is that whoever's installing them consider the extra time it'll take to install.
The brand is Commercial Electric, Cheapos private label line and if I remember correctly is not an everyday item at least in my market. There is also a similar setup made by the Eurofase track lighting people.
We had pretty much the same situation you do (although no island) Kitchen was about the same size. I didn't like the 6 inch cans either and went with the 4's (low voltage actually) We have a low ceiling maybe 8 feet if that. Anyway we have 5 cans for the room and 1 directly over the sink. Those six cans are more than enough light for that room. I would suggest looking at a chart that shows the light spread for the particular light and baffle you choose.
No offense to Matt but DO NOT put the cans where he suggested. We originally had them over the counters to give us light while working (seems logical). The electrician had us move them back to the position Matt suggested (Thinking he knew what he was doing we agreed). We now cast a shadow whenever we work at the counters. We also installed Xenon fixtures under the cabinets that help alleviate this a bit but again the electrician screwed us and put them at the back of the cabinets instead of the front (where we asked him to). We don't have enough wire to move them forward either.
Couldn't agree more but in all honesty, the shadow thing happens no matter where in relation to yoru workspace the one can is. If you are lighting a task spot, (in my kitchen this includes the sink, the stove top and the work area) then keep two light sources on each location.That is the better way to do it.You pay a few bucks more for the extra cans but it is worth it. (I also used the little ones described above with the brushed nickle rings -- and I think they look great.)My belief: No kitchen ever had too much light or too many outlets.
Just as an FYI I was not sharing my individual experience or opinion. That is where the lighting designer places them on the multi million dollar homes that my company builds. A contributing factor may be that these homes do not have 8' ceilings... Maybe it also has something to do with the way the loght reflects off the worksurface and the objects placed on it?
Maybe the combination of the 8' ceilings and the low voltage fixtures caused your problems.
As far as the electrician placing the under cab lighting toward the back of the cabs - I wonder why he did that?
No offense intended Matt (seriously, sorry if it came out that way) Just trying to keep someone from running into what we did or at least be aware that issue could be a problem. I'm sure you're right regarding the height of the ceiling. I measured it tonight and it is actually only 7' 3". The one light over the sink (which relative to the others is where we originally wanted them) doesn't cause nearly the shadow issue.As to why the electrician did what he did with the under cabinet lights; it was because he was a moron (real touchy issue with me). He not only put them in the back of the cabinets (after being told to put them at the front) he also used screws that were too long and came through the bottom of all our new cabinets (didn't even do one and check). He also used Non IC cans in the ceiling of the mudroom which is vented and now pours cold air into the room all winter long. Wired my workshop to a 10 AMP circuit breaker. Pulled out the doorbell wiring and blamed someone else. Set the lights over the bar lower than we asked. I could just go on and on. Again sorry if I offended.
Matt, your comment "That is where the lighting designer places them on the multi million dollar homes that my company builds. " explains all. These million dollar homes are made to look good, not be worked in good. So what if the lights cast a shadow on the counter when working, the home owner will never be bothered by it, just the staff or caterer. Putting a point source of light behind your head will make a shadow right on your workspace. The higher the ceiling the farther back the point source will have to be to cast the shadow. I do not recomend recessed for kitchens or other areas of large work spaces. The reason high end homes have recessed lighting is that all those point sources of incandescient light sparkle off of all shiny surfaces of counters (especially granite) and appliances. It really looks good. I can get a lot more footcandles of light per killowatt with fluorescent surface mount than incandescient recessed. I visited one kitchen that was bright, but still cast shadows, maybe 12 by 15 feet. 9 recessed fixtures at 150 watts each. 1350 watts! That designer should be whipped by the green building people.Frank DuVal
I visited one kitchen that was bright, but still cast shadows, maybe 12 by 15 feet. 9 recessed fixtures at 150 watts each. 1350 watts! That designer should be whipped by the green building people.
Er... Frank, are you sure they are not growing something?
Be sure to check what wattage bulbs are allowed for the cans you choose. Generally smaller the can the lower wattage bulb you can use without overheating. It also depends a lot on the trim you choose. I used some Juno 4" cans in our house (all the others were 5") and the largest bulb you could use with the trim we used was 25 watts. I think the largest bulb you could use (with the proper trim) was 50 watts. These will mostly be reflector halogen and probably run $4-7 per bulb
The other drawback is the cost. The 4" juno cans I used cost about $20 each, vs $14 for 5" and under $10 for 6". The trims for the 4" were about $30, the 5" $15 and the 6" $10. Since we had ~ 50 cans, 4" were just too expensive to use everywhere although I liked the look.
In our kitchen I placed the cans just in from the counter edge and about 3' apart. Your spacing will depend on the bulb you use and the height from the floor or countertop. Your placement may also be limited by the locations of the trusses in the ceiling.
One of the other posters mentioned downloading the photometric data from Juno. I had a tough time finding a link to it that worked but it is in the back of their catalog here:
It depends on what you want the recess cans to do, task? General? Ambient? Wash? One thing for sure they are not decorative.
When you mentioned small cans I take that you meant halogens. The lamps come in different spreads and they all have their use in different situations. As a general rule for general lighting 38 degree lamps should be set about 5' apart for an eight foot ceiling. But then you'll be dotting the ceiling with evenly spaced cans which IMHO is not fashionable, they call them ceiling acne.
There is a very good article in FHB about 2-3 years ago on kitchen lighting, the key to lighting design is layering. Consider what kind of effect you want and desire then use different lighting fixtures to achieve the effect. You are kind of putting the buggy before the horse.
in canada most cans come complete with trims,4" usually @15$, halogen pin-type or screw-in bases, dimmable, 50watt. i've seen very hi-end jobs with many 3" about 4' centres--they looked like stars, not acne.
There is a tendency to go small these days. The small ones 6.5 cm are MR-11's and the bigger ones 11 cm are MR-16's.
The small ones look OK if you place them with a purpose but if you place them all over the ceiling to give you general lighting, I still think they are ceiling acne.
We have come a long way from those 15 cm cans with R lamps.
"Ceiling acne"......I like it. I`m gonna steal it.
I usually think of it as a miniature golf course on the ceiling.
Ugh.....I hate those things.
J. D. Reynolds
use 5" cans . they will take a 75 w par lamp(a 65halogen flood is better) the most you will want, space 30 to 36" depending on the stuff above...make them about even with the front edge of the counter top so you don't get shadows...use lots...Even Ic will leak so you can seal em up with garden variety silcone...(it good to 400 deg...).