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Recessed lighting plan

Greetings.  I need some help planning how many recessed lights I need for my living room and what spacing they should be.  Dimensions are: 247" L x 124.5" W x 104" H.  I want to have either 6 or 9 lights total.  I plan to have 2 zones, so there will be either 2 lights in one zone and 4 in the other - or - 3 in one zone and 6 in the other.  The zone with fewer lights has a computer desk along the shorter wall.  The rest of the living room has a couch and  a media center.  There is no physical partition.

Assuming 60-watt equivalent LED lights, how many lights total should I install and what should the spacing be?  Using some calculations I found online, I should be able to do it with 6 lights but my contractor says I should use 9 since recessed lights don't provide as much light as ones that are positioned inside the room.  If anyone has a good, simple calculation you can show me I would love that.

Thank you!
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Posted 2015-08-20T19:19:29+0000  by Broomhandle Broomhandle
Unfortunately there isn't really a "simple" method and lighting a room gets into something called photometrics or the measurement of light and how it's perceived by our eyes.  It starts by determining how much light you want.  Then you have to decide on the fixtures you want to use and what kind of bulbs you want to use.  From there you get the photometic information from the manufacturer and plug it into special software.  Frankly, it can get kind of complicated.

I can tell you that LED bulbs, while called "equivalent" to incandescent bulbs, frequently put out a LOT less light.  I might also suggest that if you want to use LED, then use either a LED can or a standard can and retrofit LED module.  While considerably more expensive you'll find that you get more light per fixture, which may mean you can use fewer fixtures.

My recommendation is to go with more fixtures.  It's a lot easier to dim lights than it is to add more if you realize you don't have enough.
Posted 2015-08-21T01:48:39+0000  by Adam444
Hi Broomhandle,

I agree with your contractor and Adam ... even though I don't think you necessarily need them evenly spaced.

In your approximately 11 X 22 feet of space, you are likely to find two main activity centers where most of the light is needed.

Concentrate your lights in these two areas and leave the space directly above your sofa without lights; a lower light area.

This prevents your eyes from constantly adjusting to bright overhead lights while viewing TV or gaming.

In a similar size space in my home, I've installed six equally spaced lights on the end opposite the entertainment center.

And on a separate switch, installed four bug-eye spot lights ... two to either side of the entertainment center focused on the built-in bookshelves.

This leaves table lamps next to the sofa and chairs that can fill in this area when needed.

Think about the layout you'll most likely use and position lights to make the most of how the space will be used.
Posted 2015-08-27T15:55:50+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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