How To Reduce Glare From Recessed Lighting

Recessed lights offer an attractive and interesting style, but they also serve many different purposes. Mainly, recessed lights are used to save space on the ceiling. But even though recessed lights open up a room, they can still produce a glare. Modern technology has mostly resolved these glare problems, but some circumstances don’t work out. Maybe your new LEDs won’t fit with your old fixture. We’ve researched the best way to reduce glare from recessed lighting.

There are multiple ways to reduce the glare from your recessed lighting. These solutions generally involve adjusting the trim on the housing.

  • Use a grooved baffle, which comes in black or white.
  • Install haze reflectors, which are specifically designed to reduce glare.
  • Eyeball trims will let you freely adjust the direction of your light.
  • Install dimmable LED retrofit lights. This will allow you to adjust the amount of light pouring down.

Recessed lighting is great for all kinds of interior design styles. But these lights are also pretty unique and usually permanent. This means that you also need to be prepared for unique and permanent problems. Besides reducing glare, you should keep reading to learn if recessed lights are worthwhile, in style, or costly.

A built-in LED ceiling lights on a glossy stretch ceiling, How To Reduce Glare From Recessed Lighting

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What is the difference between can lights and recessed lights?

Before you begin shopping for a solution to your glare issue, it’s best to understand what recessed lights even are. This will naturally make the frustrating process much easier.

Recessed lights are light fixtures that are hidden away inside the ceiling itself instead of hanging like traditional lamps. This creates an interesting kind of mood and provides many practical advantages. 

But if you’re irritated that you can only find the perfect light kit for “can lights,” you don’t need to worry. Can lights are just another name for recessed lights. Like so many household items, this nickname came about by literally describing the appearance of the product.

The shape of the lighting fixture on recessed lights looks like a cylindrical canister. In fact, in Canadian English, recessed lights are also called “pot lights” because the circular look resembles a pot. So, pot lights may also include the lighting kit you’re looking for. Recessed lights are also sometimes called “downlights,” for literal reasons again.

How to reduce glare on recessed lights?

Now that it’s clear what you’ll be shopping for, it’s time to begin fixing that irritating glare issue. There are certainly dimmable lights available. However, most solutions for an unwanted glare will require you to replace the lights’ trimming or “trim.” This is the lining and inserts on the light that you’ll see, making it crucial to your interior design.

Grooved Baffle

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Click here to find this black baffle on Amazon.

Sometimes, a Baffle is more than enough. Baffles are a kind of trim that is specifically designed to absorb more light. Baffles are ridged and specially shaped to trap and control light. This should minimize any glare that may have resulted from your new recessed lights.

Fortunately, Baffles are also commonly available in black or white, which should fit any style you want. However, you should bear in mind that you will need to match your Baffle with the correct lighting cans and light bulbs.

Haze Reflectors

Click here to see this haze reflector on Amazon.

Haze Reflectors are the next step up in glare reduction. Even better, they can still maximize the amount of light in your room. This is because haze reflectors are built to cast a wide light pattern. As such, you won’t have to sacrifice the amount of light in your room to avoid that pesky glare.

This is all possible because of the finish on haze reflectors. There are different finishes, but the standard is generally considered Alcoa Aluminum’s “Alzak” finish. This represents the so-called haze in the haze reflectors. Alzak finish uses an electrochemical process called “anodizing,” which thickens the oxide coating on metal. The result is a surface that essentially removes all glare and hardly loses any light strength.

Further, haze reflectors have a smooth surface, as opposed to the grooves on a baffle. The smooth look can be considered cleaner and more ideal for a wider variety of interior design styles. Since recessed lights are often used for minimalist styles, that smooth look can become invaluable to your room’s atmosphere.

Eyeball Trims

Click here to find this adjustable eyeball trim on Amazon.

Eyeball trims make the direction of your light adjustable. The best comparison is the eyeball on a chameleon. The trim is shaped like an eyeball, which can then be pointed in any direction. This way, you can easily readjust the light until there is no glare. Even the slightest adjustments are possible.

Eyeball trimmings are typically popular among artists. This is because eyeball trim can direct light towards a wall, where artwork may be hung. This pinpointed lighting may also highlight an easel, desk, or any other workspace.

Eyeball trim is also frequently used as an accent for appealing architecture, like sloped ceilings. You can read this post about how to hang a light fixture on a sloped ceiling. Eyeball trim is also perfect for “wall washing.” Wall washing refers to the practice of evenly lighting a particular wall, such as a fireplace area.

Use Dimmable Lights

Click here to find these dimmable recessed lights on Amazon.

Dimmable lights are a fairly straightforward solution to any glare issues. Most modern kits will allow you to wire your recessed lights to a dimmer. The switch can then be used to adjust the overall light output.

Unfortunately, sacrificing the brightness of your room may not be very practical. This can quickly become a problem if you need to lower the lights too much to eliminate the problematic glare. If your room is too dark, then simply dimming your lights isn’t a worthwhile trade.

Still, most modern recessed lights come with a dimmable feature. And it’s still possible that just a slight adjustment would fix the glare. Since modern recessed lights are probably more reliable overall, it may be time to replace your old lights anyhow.

Are recessed lights out of style?

As usual, the trends of interior design are highly subjective. Even worse, style trends are constantly changing. This means that the only way to perpetually keep your room in style is to stay practical. Colors, themes, furniture, and fixtures that serve a practical purpose will always be in style.

This means that recessed lights are no exception. Many homes have a very short ceiling, and recessed lights can save your guests from walking headfirst into lamps that hang too low.

Recessed lights can also be used to make any room appear larger and taller. This, in turn, makes the room seem less cluttered. This isn’t just tidy for general purposes. It is ideal for minimalist styles, which already focus on simplicity and openness. You can check out this post about fifty-three ideas for minimalist living rooms.

Since eyeball trim is also available for recessed lights, they are perfect for artists. It’s terrific whether you are actively working on a new project or hanging up your latest masterpiece. Recessed lights with an eyeball trim will draw attention anywhere you need it.

How much does it cost to install recessed lighting?

If you feel confident that you’re handy enough, you might be able to install recessed lights yourself. This is especially true if your ceiling already has an existing hollow area for the fixtures. That means that all you need to calculate is the price of the recessed lights themselves. This should include the proper trim if it doesn’t come with the kit.

Unfortunately, the price tag for recessed lights can radically change from one brand to the next. Even the intended purpose might adjust the price. Most importantly, you must consider the number of lights you will need for your room and how big the lights are. A single downlight kit can range from low prices like $17.00 to well over $100.00.

If you opt for professional installation, it’s naturally going to cost a lot more. It may depend on your electrician, but installation can cost anywhere between one hundred and four hundred dollars a light. This includes both the cost of the product and the labor, like drywall repairs and painting touch-ups.

Are recessed lights worth it?

Recessed lights will always be in style. Then again, because recessed lights can get a little pricey to purchase or install, they are probably only worthwhile as a necessity. If you’re committed to artwork every day, have small rooms or low ceilings, recessed lights may be too important to ignore. Worse, hollowing out a ceiling for them is difficult to reverse.


Recessed lighting can get a little complicated and certainly a little expensive. But lighting is a famously important element of any room. Fortunately, the right baffle or trim can transform a problem into a beautiful ceiling. Now that you know the best way to work around an unfortunate glare, you can plan on a permanent solution to make your room glow just right!

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