Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

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Every housing project requires planning. The customer is concerned about a LIT house, mostly possible with the right placement of the recessed lights. If you want to build your knowledge about recessed lighting this article is all you need to go through.

What is Recessed Lighting?

Recessed Lights which is also famous as “Can light” designed in a remarkable way to save space in your ceiling giving that smart look that works as a light fixture. To explain it in simple language it a metal ring insertion into the hollow space that clips the bulb and throws the light outside.

Guide to Recessed Lighting

Lights play a critical role everywhere but special attention is required for light fixtures in the kitchen. This is a place where you need ample light in every corner focusing on the slab, in the cupboards carrying the crockery and on the stove, and in short in every corner of the kitchen.

Recessed lighting is the need for today's kitchen where the most critical human need is prepared. It sounds all good but the installation of it is not a piece of cake as it requires the cutting of holes in the ceiling, installation of hardware, and proper wiring connection for every light.

Lights Configuration

The recessed lights configuration is such that it mostly hides the bulb in its hole and is not quite visible for every sight. It makes the ceiling look clear throwing lights beneath.

Let's start by gaining knowledge about the advantages that we will gain from using recessed lights.

recessed lights
Image credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Advantages of Recessed Lighting 

Homeowners usually use recessed lighting in their kitchen, cupboards, and living rooms because of the following reasons:

  1. The best solution to light up every corner of the house is through recessed lights because it is spaced uniformly covering the maximum ceiling areas.
  2. Recessed lighting transforms small rooms into bigger rooms creating a deceptive image in minds through proper lights in every corner. If you want that spacious feel in a small room you know what to do.
  3. No visual obstruction giving a clean, neat, and clean ceiling line.
  4. Recessed lights distribute lights evenly as compared to the conventional lights system.
  5. The simple look of recessed lighting or accent lighting has been in fashion for a decade now and will not go out of fashion as it guarantees that this light fixture will never lose its trend.
  6. It has the best design that is durable and convenient for electricians to manage.

Disadvantages of Recessed Lighting

Every product or technology has its downside but before you judge the product weigh both the good and the bad points. Let's dive into the bad side of recessed lighting :

  1. To get more recessed light in the room you need a good amount of bulbs installed for additional brightness.
  2. The more light bulb calls for more wiring connections creating a complicated wire mesh network in the background.
  3. The complex wire network can get entangled with one another making replacement and repair difficult.


Lights Layout

The recessed lights layout is very important for all lights fixtures especially for recessed lighting to make the room, living room, work surface, cabinets, counter top/slab, wall furniture, and home in general visible for everyone. Without light, nothing ever will be visible.

  1. Know the Purpose of lights
  2. Find out the area that needs to lighten up
  3. Choose the type of lights best suited for your use
  4. Keep several bulbs in mind as per your need
  5. Figure out a recessed lighting layout
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels


Purpose of Recessed Lighting

The purpose of recessed lighting is to create a dramatic light illusion where the lights are illuminating through a hole in the ceiling propagating towards the room surface, highlighting the objects that come that are placed under it. Let's discuss some information on the purpose of such recessed lights fixtures:

Accent Lighting

When you want to bring something in limelight trying to highlight or focus on a specific object in the house you need Recessed Accent Lighting. How recessed lighting layout in form of accent lighting can be used are:

  • Highlighting a painting or calligraphy
  • Making the fireplace the center of attention
  • Generating focus on the work surface, wall furniture, cabinets, or the counter top


Task Lighting

Recessed task lighting is handy when you want to highlight a work area.


The kitchen requires task lighting where you need task lighting on the vegetable cutting slab, cooking food, or even paperwork in the most active location of the house. Similarly, in the vanity area, you need task lighting for makeup application. People also like to have task lighting over their sink, cabinet, on the counter top, or right above or inside the cabinets to improve glare and vision under task lighting.


Ambient or General Lights

If you need a bright room in general with no specific side to focus upon you can opt for recessed ambient lighting. This is quite a common light fixation method used in the living room or drawing room. Most of the recessed lighting layout is used for this. This kind of light ensures consistent lights throughout the room.

Find out the room that needs to lighten up, once you are sure about where recessed lighting is required the steps that you need to consider are :

a) Measure that area where recessed lighting is required.

b) The second decision should be which purpose you need to fulfill whether you need to highlight something using accent lighting or you need ambient or general lighting in the space under consideration.

c) Know the activities that might take place in that room so you can plan the drilling of holes for accent lighting accordingly.

The recessed lighting layout in a room depends on which type of recessed lighting you plan to purchase for recessed lights.

Small-sized lights

If you decide to use small spaced recessed lights they will give you less illumination as compared to big lights, will require you to buy more of them to cover the area of use, you will need to install them closer and these lights will cost you more.

Large-sized lights

If you opt for 6 to 7-inch lights that are brighter you can place them at a distance from each other and will require a few of them saving a lot of costs.

Another factor that needs to be considered is the watt management through the switch or dimmer. Expert electricians recommend the use of an LED dimmer as it has the maximum watt capacity. For small rooms, you don't need to worry about the watts management but for the bigger rooms, you need to plan before the furnishing of the house.

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels


Keep several bulbs in mind as per your need.

After calculating the room's total area, divide your lights for the coverage according to the requirement. The perfect lighting layout for recessed lighting can be done by chalking out a plan of the even distribution of lights in the room. If the room size is 1 44 square feet then you will need approximately 6 recessed lights (144/25= 5.76 lights).

This is just a basic lighting layout that can be used for ambient lighting. To highlight a special arena in a room or if you have a unique architecture of the rooms consider making a more general strategic lighting layout.

If you consider the kitchen lighting you need a combination of led lights placed at general locations such as sink top, stovetop, island, and then on table arena.


Figure out a lighting layout for recessed lighting

This mostly applies to general ambient lighting applications although a few points may apply to all the types of recessed lighting. Before you proceed further with your lighting layout plan consider finding the joint points in the ceiling to avoid any destruction that needs repair.

Mark the ceiling joints where you can do the light fixtures and design the lighting layout accordingly. This demarcation of points will help in the wiring process which is very complicated for which you need a professional electrician.

A good tip for the lights fixtures is to keep them 3 feet apart from the wall. A few adjustments might be required depending upon the joints in the ceiling.


Outdated or in style

When people are making new houses for themselves they want to buy the latest technology items for their house. So, when lighting comes into consideration people often wonder if this decade-old recession lighting fashion is still trending.

The answer to this is YES, YES, YES a million times over because recession lighting is still trending and very much in style. According to a survey of new houses, 90% of them have used recession lighting and the new architects continue to recommend this and electricians prefer to install this technology.

If “Can Lights” don't work for you, you can find other ceiling light options for your kitchen.



Every step or task big or small requires a plan so does the recess lighting procedure. This article is sufficient to give you basic knowledge regarding what recess lighting is, how its lighting layout can be developed and what are pros and cons of. All you need to do is mark your ceiling points, strategically plan the wiring network if you have prior experience, or hire a professional electrician.

Other than the knowledge we have provided use your common sense to address the unique situation you are dealing with because we are sure that every room needs special lights adjustment. When you go to buy these lights do consider if those lights are air-tight and insulation compatible. Do your general research or find general ideas and information on this task before you step out to purchase the recession lights.

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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