Proper Spacing of LED Recessed Lights

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Dining room chandelier recessed lighting

Q: When using 4-inch LED recessed lights, what spacing between fixtures would you recommend with an 8-foot ceiling height?

A: What is the room that you are lighting being used for? How is the furniture laid out? Instead of just doing a grid of recessed fixtures, my recommendation is to take a look at how the space is being used and how the furniture is laid out to determine where the fixtures should go.

On my projects, I almost never use a fixed recessed downlight. Using an adjustable fixture allows the light to be directed towards art, plants, tabletops and lethargic pets. Also, try not to put recessed fixtures over seating areas because they cast harsh shadows onto people’s faces. I am using recessed adjustable LED fixtures now.

Consider installing a pair of wall sconces or adding a pair of torchieres and/or a center fixture, in addition to some recessed adjustable fixtures, providing some indirect illumination and decorative lighting for the room. Then you will have a flexible design that’s also complementary to the people within the space.

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