Recessed downlights are a discreet and interesting way to add a modern feel to your home. However they do need to be installed by a professional as there are safety issues to be considered. The installation process is not an easy project for an amateur to undertake. Nevertheless correctly installed downlighting can add so much to your home. It can create the illusion of extra space and character in a room with low ceilings, or grandeur and grace to one with higher ceilings. Careful planning, though, is required as once the holes are made there is no going back.
There are a few things to consider before installation:
Ceilings in new builds are fire rated. This relates to the length of time they can hold fire back from the floor above. The installation of recessed lighting compromises this safety rating. It is a legal requirement to maintain a ceiling's fire rating.
Some recessed downlights will maintain a ceiling's fire rating once installed. However some require a separate intumescent fire hood. These non fire rated downlights may seem cheaper but you will need to buy a separate hood for each light.
Is of vital importance as you can't change your mind once they're in. You will also want to give serious consideration to the distance between them. This will obviously depend on your personal preference, but common sense would dictate between 1m to 2m depending on room size.
You should also consider the positioning of the lights in relation to one another. For example you may want to arrange them in straight lines, or position them diagonally across from each other. For more information check out our tips for a perfect layout.
Number of lights:
This again is down to your personal preference. However you don't want to end up with too many lights overpowering the room or too few that don't illuminate it adequately.
Your choice of both the number of lights and their positioning will greatly hinge on the height of your ceiling. As you can imagine higher ceilings will disperse the light more evenly, while lower ceilings will concentrate it into more focused beams. This means that recessed downlights will be a more comprehensive lighting source for rooms with higher ceilings; in rooms with lower ceilings they will create a more atmospheric mood.