How To Choose Recessed Lighting

Written by: Erica Spangler
Design Specialist
(800) 375-3403
Recessed Lighting Inspiration

Choosing recessed lighting has become a popular and important lighting decision. Whether you want to add recessed lighting to your kitchen or to your shower, here’s a guide to help you start.

Recessed Lighting Housing

It is important to figure out which type of recessed lighting housing you will need for your home. Make sure to make these two considerations first before choosing your trim.

Remodel or New Construction?

Remodel Housing

Remodel Recessed Lighting Installation

These are installed within the ceiling material and not connected to a ceiling or floor joist. The housing is clipped to the ceiling material by four metal spring clips. This installation is preferred if attic access is not available or limited.

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New Construction Housing

New Construction Recessed Lighting Installation

These are installed between the ceiling joists within the attic space. The housing is best installed during a remodel or while building a new house.

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What is an IC Rating?

An IC rating determines whether or not the recessed lighting housing may come in contact with insulation.

  • IC Rating means that the recessed lighting housing may come into contact with insulation.
  • Non-IC Rating means that the recessed lighting housing may not come into contact with insulation.

Measurements and Sizing

Next you need to consider what size recessed lighting you need for your space. Layout and placement are huge, as well as, how much light you will need in your space.

Recessed Lighting Trims

Once you figure out the type of housing you need and the size of light you want, then you can start the fun part by picking out the trims. The trim is the part of the light fixture that you see and determines the look, the feel and the amount of light. These are our eight most popular trim types:

Adjustable Trims

Adjustable Trims

  • Commonly called the eyeball trim or directional
  • Moves in a jointed fashion

Other adjustable trims offer a more pivoted feature that enables you to turn them toward a particular area for an even illumination.

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Baffle Trims

Baffle Trims

  • Most common recessed lighting trim
  • Light casts downward

Looking for the traditional recessed light, then you want the baffle. It's simple, does the job and comes in a variety of finishes and colors.

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Reflector Trims

Reflector Trims

  • Defined by it's mirror-like reflection
  • Great for amplifying light

Like the traditional look of the baffle, but need some more light? The reflector trims are going to be your best bet.

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Shower Trims

Shower Trims

  • May be installed in a shower area
  • UL rated for the damp air

These trims offer additional lighting for darker shower areas and are safe to install in wetter locations.

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Wall Wash Trims

Wall Wash Trims

  • Also called a scalloped trim
  • Has an eyelid-like feature to direct light upon a wall

This option is great for accent lighting on a piece of art or to illuminate your books and decorations on your shelving.

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Pinhole Trims

Pinhole Trims

  • Produces less light
  • Works similar to a pinhole camera

The majority of the light is covered by a trim to lessen the amount of light, which makes for a more dramatic lighting experience.

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Decorative Trims

Decorative Trims

  • Comes in a variety of finishes and designs
  • Meant to fit your home’s design and style

For a more dressed-up look than your traditional canned light, explore products with crystal details, youthful shapes, and colorful trims.

Shop Decorative Trims
Square Trims

Square Trims

  • Defined by their square shape
  • Great for contemporary designs

It's hip to be square with this recessed trim. Think beyond the common circle and step out of the box.

Shop Square Trims

Not sure about the look and feel you going for yet? Or what recessed lighting design would look best in your home? Check out our Recessed Lighting Design Ideas article.

How much light do you need?


Suggested Total Wattage*
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