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How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

Recessed lights are a popular and great way to light up a room. They are a great addition to any space, providing an even and bright distribution of light. But how many recessed lights do I need for my room?

We know that choosing the right number of recessed lights for your space can be challenging, and that’s why we have created this post.

In the post, we’ll walk you through the factors to consider when determining how many recessed lights you need, as well as the different types of recessed lights.

What are recessed lights?

Recessed lights (also known as downlights) are a type of lighting fixture installed into the ceiling or wall. The lights can be used for downlighting (on the ceiling), wall lighting (on the wall), or uplighting (uplight landscaping).

The lights, which are designed to sit flush with the surface, provide a sleek look that gives you a sleek ceiling or wall.

Recessed Lights Types

Recessed lights come in two main forms: can recessed lights and canless (wafer) recessed lights.

Like the name suggests can lights have a can-shaped housing that is installed into the ceiling. Can lights are comprised of three main components: a trim, housing, and lamp.

Canless lights (also referred to as wafer lights) have a very slim casing and are designed to sit flush with the ceiling or wall. Most canless lights utilize LEDs, making them more energy-efficient and durable than can lights.

Determining How Many Recessed Lights You Need

How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

Determining the number of recessed lights needed for a room is an important step in creating a well-lit room.

To determine how many lights you need, you need to consider the following factors:

Room size

The number of recessed lights you need increases with the increase in room size. To provide adequate lighting, a larger room would need more lights than a small room would.

As a rule of thumb, you should aim to have one recessed light per 4 to 6 square feet of ceiling space. For example, a 12-foot by 18-foot room would require 6 recessed lights.

Ceiling height

A higher ceiling requires more lights to properly light the space, especially if you want to create an evenly lit environment.

For example, a room with a 10-foot ceiling will require more recessed lights than a room with an 8-foot ceiling to achieve the same level of lighting.

The function of the space

Spaces like kitchens or workspaces may require more lighting than a living room or bedroom. For example, you may want to install more recessed lights in a kitchen to provide ample lighting for cooking and food preparation.

Existing light sources

When determining how many recessed lights you need, consider any existing natural light source. If the room already has natural light, you may need fewer recessed lights to achieve the desired level of illumination.

Style and placement of furniture

If you have large pieces of décor that block the light, you may need more recessed lights to achieve even illumination.

Related: How to Install Recessed Lights Without Attic Access?

So, How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

As a rule of thumb, recessed lights should be placed about 3 feet away from the walls and spaced between 6 feet apart. You should also consider the size and shape of your room, as well as the placement of furniture when determining the placement and spacing of your lights.

Determining How Many Recessed Lights You Need

You can also use an online lighting calculator, which can provide you with an estimate based on the size and shape of your room.

Related: How To Remove a Can Recessed Light


Choosing the right number of recessed lights for your room can be a challenging task, but by considering the factors mentioned in this post and following the guidelines for placement and spacing, you can create a well-lit and stylish room.

NB: It’s important to consult with a professional electrician for the best results, especially if you’re unsure about the process or have specific lighting requirements.

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