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How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

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Would you like to know how many recessed lights you need to light a room? Well, we have researched this topic and have answers for you. For proper lighting, it is important to be able to calculate how many recessed lights you need for different room sizes.

To calculate how many recessed lights you need for a given room, multiply the area of the room by 1.5. Doing this will get you the total watts of all the light bulbs the room will require. Then, divide the total number of watts by the number of watts on the light bulbs you are using, which will give you the total number of recessed lights you will need.

In this article, we will learn how many recessed lights you need for different room sizes. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions, such as do high ceilings need more recessed lights, and what are some alternatives for recessed lighting? Keep reading to learn more.

Recess in a dark wall in square shaped with point light, How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

When installing recessed lights, it's crucial to have the correct number of lights for a given room. Many factors can affect how many recessed lights will suit your chosen room. Let's look at a method for finding roughly how many recessed lights are needed and discuss what other factors need to be considered.

When calculating the correct number of recessed lights for a given room, you will need to know the area of the room in square feet.

Once you know the area of the room in square feet, take that number and multiply it by 1.5. This new number is an estimate of how many total watts of lightbulbs the room will need to be adequately illuminated.

Next, divide the number of watts needed by the number of watts in the lightbulbs you are using. If you use different watt bulbs, divide it by the average watts of the bulbs you are using. The final number you get should be rounded up to the nearest integer to give you the number of recessed lights you need.

While this method effectively tells you the rough number of recessed lights you need for a given room, it neglects a few factors. This method of calculating the number of recessed lights needed assumes the room is a convex rectangle.

If there are any concave corners in the room, you will need a different method. Also, some rooms require more lighting than standard rooms, like the kitchen. Let's look at how to improve this method for these situations.

Dark wood furniture in bedroom with ceiling fan

Concave Corners

If the room you are trying to light has a concave corner, the wall will block some of the light. If you try to use the above method to calculate the required recessed lights, you will end up with too few lights to properly illuminate the room.

The solution is to break the floor plan into multiple rectangles and calculate each separately. This will ensure that there will be enough light to illuminate the room thoroughly. If the room's concave corner is in the form of a separating wall with an opening, then calculate each side of the wall as a different room.

Brighter Rooms

Some rooms will also require more light than the above method will yield. Rooms that will require more light than a standard room include the kitchen, bathroom, and closets. Let's look at how to calculate the correct lighting for each of these exception rooms.

Kitchen

Nicely decorated and served dining, lunch room table with family room and the kitchen at the back

When calculating the correct number of recessed lights for the kitchen, take the square feet and multiply it by 1.7 instead. Then, take that number of total watts for the room and divide it by the number of watts in the lightbulbs you are using.

Often this adjusted method adds one to two additional lights for a kitchen. Also, remember to make adjustments if your kitchen has a concave corner.

Bathroom

Spacious bathroom in gray tones with heated floors, freestanding tub, walk-in shower, double sink vanity and skylights

The bathroom is another room that you will want well illuminated. To calculate the number of recessed lights needed for a bathroom, take the area in square feet and multiply it by 1.7. Then, take that new number and divide by the watts in the bulbs you use.

The bathroom adjustment usually only adds one lightbulb, but that one lightbulb can make all the difference in how well your bathroom is illuminated. Concave corners will also need to be taken into account.

Closet

Dressing corner and wardrobe in a small

Closets are a little different in that only one light is often required. The adjustment needed for closets is to allow your lightbulb's total number of watts to exceed what the method calculates. If you used the above method, then you may find you only need a 40-watt bulb when you are best using a standard 60-watt bulb.

If your closet is enormous or has concave corners, use the standard method for calculating lighting and your closet will be adequately illuminated.

Do High Ceilings Need More Recessed Lights?

Spacious bright family room with cathedral ceiling and wall of windows

When calculating how many recessed lights a room needs, many wonder if the ceiling's height is a factor. While the height of your ceiling needs to be considered, it doesn't make as much of a difference as many think.

A higher ceiling doesn't significantly affect the number of recessed lights a room needs because while light fades with distance, it also spreads. This means that each light will be dimmer on the ground but cover a larger area. The overlapping illuminated areas will compensate for the dimmer lighting.

This property of light means that you will need the same number of lights for a high ceiling as a low ceiling. While the number of lights will be the same, an adjustment should be made to improve recessed lights on high ceilings. Recessed lights on high ceilings should use narrow-beam lights.

Using narrow beam lights on high ceilings will help to reduce how much the light on the ceiling spreads out to give you a similar lighting effect as recessed lights on a low ceiling. If you are looking for narrow-beam lights for your high ceiling, here are two of the most popular narrow beam bulbs from Amazon.

Bioluz LED Narrow-Beam Lights

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Lepro Narrow-Beam Lights

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Can You Use Dimmer Switches With Recessed Lighting?

human hand of a man adjusting dimmer switch on wall light switch

Not only can you use dimmer switches with recessed lighting but it also looks better than with other types of lighting. One of the advantages recessed lighting has that makes it so perfect for dimmer switches is how evenly it lights a room.

With a room evenly illuminated, dimmer switches give you total control over the lighting in a room. Dimmer switches used with unevenly lit rooms can lead to dark and bright areas around the room that won't look as nice.

We highly recommend you install dimmer switches with your recessed lighting. Not only are dimmer switches easy to install but they can also allow you to select the lighting you'd like precisely. Don't forget to install light bulbs compatible with dimmer switches or else they won't illuminate properly.

What Are Some Alternatives To Recessed Lighting?

While many lighting options illuminate your home, not all have the same evenly lit effect as recessed lighting. Let's explore some alternatives to recessed lighting and see how they compare.

Disk Lights

Disk lights are illuminating disks that provide light in all directions. One advantage disk lights have over recessed lighting is that you won't need to cut holes in your ceiling.

Disk lights also provide even lighting that works excellent for dimmer switches. If you want to try disk lights, here are two of the most popular models on Amazon.

Luxrite Disk Light

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Hamilton Hills Disk Light

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Spotlights

Spotlights are another alternative for recessed lighting that can be calculated the same as recessed lighting. One disadvantage of spotlights is that they don't illuminate a room as evenly as recessed lighting.

While spotlights don't illuminate as evenly, they can be adjusted to accent different areas in a room. If you want to check out spotlights, here are two of the most popular ones on Amazon.

Cloudy Bay Led Spotlight

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Aisilan Led Spotlight

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Tube Lights

Tube lights are another great way to provide even lighting to a room. You will also not need to cut holes in your ceiling to install tube lights.

One disadvantage with tube lights is that a large area of light bulb is exposed, and it may not be compatible with children that like to throw their toys. If you think that tube lights may be a suitable alternative for you, check out some of these popular tube lights on Amazon.

Airand LED Tubelight

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Luxrite LED Tubelight

You can find this product here on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Recess in a dark wall in square shaped with point light

This article taught us how to calculate how many recessed lights you need for a given room. We also learned that high ceilings require narrow beam lights, not more lights.

Remember, when calculating the number of recessed lights you need in a room with a concave corner, break the room into multiple rectangles to get the correct number of lights.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts:

How Many Can Lights For A 12 X 12 Room?

Should Sidelights Match Front Door?