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Recessed lighting layout plan

I gutted everything in my families game room, and I am in the process of re-building it. The new room will have a pool table, a built in display case and built in bar (I stole extra space from the adjoing laundry room). I plan to do recessed lighting because the ceiling is a little under 8 feet, but I am not sure how to lay it out. The room is 20 1/2 feet long by 12 1/2 feet wide. The pool table will have a billiards light hanging over it, but I don't know where to place the recessed lights in the remaining area (all of the walls will have family vacation photos on it). Also, I don't know what use to light up the bar area 6' by 2' and the display case 3' by 2'. Since the room is gutted, I want to get the lighting right before I install the walls and ceiling. Help!!!    

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Posted 2012-09-07T17:11:16+0000  by somerdale15 somerdale15

Hey there somerdale15,


Thanks for joining the community!~


Sounds like this is gonna be a pretty cool room! We can definitely help get you started on the lighting and have the place really shine. It's a bit difficult though to get a grasp of the layout of the room just based on the text provided. It would be a huge help if you'd be able to post some pictures up of the area you're looking at, so that we can all be on the same page. Once you're able to do that, we can go from there as far as designing a great layout for your area!~ = )


Hope to hear back from you soon!

Posted 2012-09-07T19:55:13+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Hello somerdale15,


The beauty of recessed lighting is that it can be anything you want it to be, as long as you work safely within the limits of efficient electrical work (i.e. don't overload your circuits). 


I helped a friend install recessed lighting a few years ago and it is all in the personal placement of where and what kind of recessed lighting you want to install. I did a lengthy write up a while back on recessed lighting, click on the image below and it will take you to it. 

proper spacing of recessed lighting


The write-up won't specifiy placement of your new recessed lights, but it will give you some insight on what to get. For example, if the drywall isn't already on the ceiling as you said, using new construction housing will be good alongside a baffle trim to give the maximum amount of light in a given area. Luckily since you are at the rough-in stage, you can get access to the joists, and bore a 3/4" hole in them to safely carry your wires across for all the lights.


Almost all recessed housings are IC are in contact with insulation nowadays, and using a contractor kit that has the housing and trim already in it is the safest bet to get the most for your money. Also, carefully notice the sizes in the write-up linked above, and you can decide for yourself exactly what kind of lights you wish.


With that said, placement and laying out of your recessed light depends on several things:

  • symmetry
  • accessibility to an electrical source
  • room activity
  • what kind of lights you prefer

Generally, I have seen placement no less than 18-24 inches from the wall for your recessed lighting. Too close means wasted light and can look awkward. In terms of basic placement throughout the room save for the bar and pool table area, you can space your lights in a 3 to 4 foot span. At the end of the day, this can mean as little as 12 recessed lights to a maximum of 24 or more. If you have low ceilings as you stated, using a smaller (5" or less) diameter housing will look cleaner and reduces any glare from it.


Simply draw a sketch of your room, and measure off where the bar and pool table area  is and layout your recessed lights according to that. The beauty of this is that you can move the lights around at the planning stages to get the best lights for the game room. 


I would also suggest to use at minimum 2 separate circuits to feed the lights, as you don't want to overload your 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker feeding it. This is important, as you can add on for the future by placing separate switches, thereby reducing the total wattage used. I installed a dimmer onto the recessed lights I put in, and they really give you the best control over your lights. 


So in closing, it is up to you how you want to plan out and execute just exactly where you want your lighting to be. Do this by knowing exactly where the pool table and bar will be. Jot down on paper a rough blueprint of the ceiling and plan and count how many lights you want to place.  There is no wrong way to plan out, just do so in a safe manner. 


Hope this helps you out,


Posted 2012-09-08T16:39:45+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hi Joseph_HD_ATL,


I admire the ceiling of the photo you showed.  Can you tell me if this is a drop ceiling or what?  I would like to duplicate the look of it, can you please help?


Thank, Martin

Posted 2013-04-18T15:58:36+0000  by martinone

Hello Martin,


Welcome to the community!


I took that image from our online video for recessed lighting, so it is something that I unfortunately don't know how it was constructed.


I will say that judging from the looks of it, is that it is doubtlful that it is a drop aka acoustical ceiling. The trim pieces that are separating the lights look like a form of wide moulding custom fit onto the ceiling.


I would say that if you plan out and use wood similar to this in the image, you can get a similar look for your ceiling.


Let us know if you have any additional questions and we can assist you further.




Posted 2013-05-18T21:04:41+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
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