Recessed lighting is a relatively inexpensive way to add light to a living room without impeding on style or breaking the budget. Using recessed lighting in a living room will increase brightness and will go with any style. While in the past, recessed lighting was restricted to solely round can lights, things have changed. Although this style is still relevant and versatile, there are so many more varieties available.
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
In a new build, recessed lighting is often cheaper than purchasing light fixtures. Retrofitting into a remodel can be costly, but no matter what lighting you chose if you are adding more light via an electrician, there will be an associated cost. There are also do-it-yourself options that are battery operated, stand-alone lights; these tend not to look quite as nice but are less costly.
In this article, we have provided eleven great living room recessed lighting ideas. The following images show a number of ways to use recessed lighting as an accent while ultimately providing the functionality of light to any room.
1. Modern Lines
This modern living room has very clean, straightforward lines. The dropped ceiling around the exterior of the room makes a very natural space for the recessed lighting. The lights are evenly spaced and square - keeping with the contemporary style.
2. Cozy and Comfortable
This designer has mixed many textures and styles to create a warm and inviting living room space. The wood floor planks continue onto the wall and ceiling; the lighting is the same shape as the planks. This technique combines both subtle style and functionality.
3. Warm Lighting
In this image, the designer incorporated long, rectangular soft lighting and alternated round recessed bulbs in sets of three within smaller rectangular housing. As a result, the room has lots of warm inviting light and creates an interesting focal point in the room.
Click here to see a similar option from Amazon. As with all retrofitting, it is best to contact a local electrical professional to install.
4. Classical and Elegant
Elegance exudes in this room. The designer strategically placed multiple can lights on a flat ceiling; the result is lots of light without bulky lighting fixtures. The even distribution of the can lights keeps to a traditional style and makes the light become part of the room.
If you are looking for tips on proper spacing for recessed lighting, check out our post, How Far Apart Should Recessed Lighting Be?
5. Small and Simple
In a small living room, recessed lighting can make a big difference. Because of the size of cans, they bring light without requiring large light fixtures to take up room. This homeowner has kept it simple using cans within the drop ceiling and above the accent wall to highlight the artwork.
6. Coffered Ceiling
A coffered ceiling is a beautiful architectural feature, but also a great way to accent recessed lighting. Likewise, here the designer has used the coffering to hide the lights themselves; using the light as a design feature. As a result of hiding the light source, the room is well-lit and also very interesting.
7. Plenty of Light
This room has combined both subtle recessed and not-so-subtle recessed lighting. The lights on the ceiling are placed in rows but with non-traditional double, round lights in a rectangular pattern. There is also recessed lighting hidden into the exterior surroundings of the room within the architectural feature. Consequently, the result is a room full of light.
Click here to see these traditional round can lights on Amazon. FYI - you will want to contact a licensed electrician to install.
8. Vaulted Ceiling
Recessed lighting works great with vaulted ceilings because it provides a well-lit space without having to place lights on an angle with strings. For instance, here the designer has placed the lights in traditional straight lines. There are also lights placed within the built-in shelving to help showcase the items placed on the shelves.
For more ideas on how to use recessed lighting in vaulted rooms, check out our post, 10 Best Sloped Ceiling Recessed Lighting Fixtures.
9. When There Are Fans
Recessed lighting is a good accent when there are fans in a room. It adds light without competing with the large feature of the fan. Here the designer has chosen a fan without lights, ultimately requiring more lighting in some form. The can lights placed around the ceiling provide that much-needed light but allow the fan to stand alone as the central feature of the room.
10. Basement Living Room
In a basement living room, there is often not enough space for non-recessed lighting and basements tend to have less natural light. Consequently, strategically placed can lights brighten up the space. In this living room, the lights are accented by molding and because recessed lighting is subtle, it doesn't take away from the beadboard on the ceiling.
11. Another Way to Coffer
This is a more traditional use of combining recessed lighting with a coffered ceiling. Most designers place the can lights directly in the center of the coffered squares. Just as this image shows, it is not necessary to place a light in each square but there should be a pattern of placement. For example, in this image, the designer put one light in each of the middle four squares then in the perimeter of the room.
If you are interested in the coffered ceiling look and would like to see other options, check out our post, 11 Gorgeous Coffered Ceiling Ideas.
Recessed lighting is a great accent to any room. There are many ways to use recessed lighting and there is no limit to what you can do with it. As a result, there really is no wrong way to use recessed lighting and it goes with every decorating style. You can purchase do-it-yourself options in your local hardware store or online. In contrast, if you are not a do-it-yourselfer, contact your local electrician to give you an estimate for your update - most of the time the estimate is free. Sky's the limit for using recessed lighting in your living room!