Often when it comes to choosing lighting for the kitchen and even other areas of your home, your first instinct might be to go with recessed lighting.
And you know what? It's not a bad way to go. In fact, recessed lighting makes for a smart lighting strategy, for numerous reasons:
- Recessed lighting can be an excellent source of ambient light (i.e. the overall illumination for a particular space).
- Good recessed lighting can give you extra flexibility when it comes to selecting accent lighting. If you already have good overall illumination thanks to your recessed lighting, then you can be "choosier" when selecting accent lighting.
- Recessed lighting offers a sleek profile since recessed lights don't protrude from the ceiling. Recessed lighting is also perfect for lower ceilings as well.
- More and more recessed lighting fixtures are available in smaller apertures, adding to the sleek profile, yet they offer similar output as larger apertures. For example, the Juno 2" LED recessed light fixture (pictured to the right) is only two inches in diameter, yet it produces the same amount of light as a 60-watt household bulb.
Recessed lighting is renovation-friendly. In fact, you can use many recessed lights right out of the box (a remodeler's dream!) and install them from below the ceiling.
What should you keep in mind if you opt for this type of lighting? Here are some recessed lighting layout tips.
- Use recessed lighting in fixtures where you need added ambient light. Kitchens, bathrooms, and foyers are all prime locations for recessed lighting. Make sure you pay attention to key task areas that would especially benefit from good lighting (e.g. kitchen islands or bathroom sinks in conjunction with decorative sconces).
- Remember that recessed lighting doesn't simply mean downlights. Wall washers are another example of recessed lighting. They cast light at an angle and can help illuminate and highlight wall designs, art, photographs, etc. Adjustable recessed fixtures or "gimbals" can also direct light where you need it.
- Center recessed fixtures over what you'd like to light, such as a fireplace, kitchen table, or hallway.
- Use a dimmer. Dimmers can soften recessed lights and extend the life of your bulbs.
Here's a Wolfers favorite: Halo LED H4 Collection, which offers downlights, shower fixtures, and gimbals. The fixtures are available in a wide variety of designer finishes so that you can match them to the room's overall décor or to specific items in the space, such as faucets.
Check out how incredible these Halo 4-inch downlights look in the master bedroom pictured below.
Don't have room for recessed fixtures? Lightolier's SlimSurface LED Downlights are surface mounted fixtures that look like recessed lights since they are installed directly onto a junction box (as seen below). They're available in 5 inch and 7 inch (round) or 4 inch and 6 inch (square) for a more contemporary look.