How to Choose the Best Recessed Lighting for Your Home


Installing recessed lighting is a great way to add style and elegant lighting to any room. But with so many different trim options and housing sizes, it can be difficult to determine what kind of recessed lighting will work best for what you’re trying to accomplish. This guide will explain the various options available so that you can decide which will work best for you.

Recessed Lighting Housing Options

The housing is the light fixture itself. It’s what sits inside the ceiling and what holds the trim along with the light bulb. Housing comes in different sizes ranging from 3 to 6 inches in diameter. Below are the various kinds of housing you can pick up.

  • New construction housing is used before the ceiling is installed.
  • Remodel housing is used when you have an existing ceiling.
  • Insulation Contact (IC) housing is used when installing recessed lighting in insulated portions of the house. Installing non-IC housingnear insulation is a major fire hazard. Non-IC housing should only be used when there’s at least 3 inches of space between the housing and the insulation.
  • Airtight housing reduces the airflow between the space above and the room below.
  • Shallow ceiling housing is used when dealing with ceilings with 2-inch by 6-inch joists.
  • Slope ceiling housing is used for angled ceilings.
  • Recessed Lighting Trim Options

    The trim is what fits inside the housing and forms the fixture’s outer ring, giving your recessed lighting the look you want.

  • Baffle trim is designed to diffuse and absorb excess light so that it’s more evenly distributed. It also helps to reduce glare, making them great for living rooms, dining rooms, dens, and bedrooms.
  • Reflector trim helps to maximize the amount of light produced. They also help to obscure the bulb from view and prevent warming. Reflector trim is great for kitchens and high ceilings.
  • Eyeball/Adjustable trim allows you to focus the light where you want it. This makes them great for highlighting accent walls or other decorative features.
  • Lensed trims are meant to keep moister out of the housing. This makes them the preferred choice for bathrooms and showers.
  • Wall wash trim shields most of the bulb to evenly focus light on a specific feature. This could be a fireplace or a piece of art.
  • Decorative trims give you the ability to customize the look of your recessed lighting so it can match the style of the room.
  • Recessed Lighting Bulb Options

  • Incandescents are the cheapest light bulbs you can buy, only running about $1 a piece. They last for roughly 2 to 3 years and uses 60-65 watts of electricity, making them not very efficient.
  • Halogens sell for roughly $2 and are much brighter than incandescents. However, they do throw off a lot of heat. Their lifespan is the shortest at about 1 to 2 years and they use about 43-50 watts.
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs are higher priced than halogens and incandescents but are still very affordable at $2-4 a piece. They last roughly 5 to 7 years and only use 13-15 watts.
  • LEDs are the most efficient bulbs, only using 9-12 watts. They also last the longest at 15 years or more. Prices range from $2-5 a piece, so they’re still very affordable. Plus with the extended lifespan, they’re definitely worth the extra money.

    Hopefully now you’ll be able to narrow down which recessed lighting options will work best for you. Remember that Socket Doctors is always here to help with your recessed lighting installation and design.