Recessed LED spotlights: how many you need and how to place them

Recessed LED spotlights: how many you need and how to place them

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Getting the lighting right is one of the goals to increase the comfort of a home. LED recessed spotlights are perfect tools for lighting specific areas of interiors and exteriors. But how many are needed, and how should they be positioned, to achieve effective lighting?

Recessed LED spotlights to light up the home

Recessed lights are lighting systems that in most cases allow you to radiate a very powerful diffused light thanks to LEDs, which allows you to illuminate the room according to your needs. In this way, it is possible to effectively highlight architectural and decorative details or simply the furnishings of the home.

LED recessed spotlights are devices for lighting interior spaces with practical and versatile operation. They last a long time while consuming less energy than traditional lamps and require little maintenance, making them very convenient for home lighting.

The arrangement of LED recessed spotlights must be carefully planned to get the most out of their ability to illuminate and enhance the room. They can be easily inserted into wall cavities, leading to even lighting in a given area (bedrooms, hallway, etc.).

In a small room, it is best to use spotlights of small or medium power, arranged evenly. In a large room, on the other hand, it is possible to use more powerful spotlights, arranged farther apart. In a bedroom, for example, it is advisable to use spotlights with a soft, diffuse beam to create a relaxing atmosphere. In a work room, on the other hand, you can use spotlights with a more direct beam of light to increase concentration.

Number of spotlights for a room: how to calculate it

A spotlight is a device suitable for generating diffuse lighting in a given room. You may be wondering: how many LED spotlights are needed to illuminate a room?

On the basis of Lumens - a unit of measurement of the light emitted by a light source - we count Lux, or the Lumens needed to completely brightly illuminate a square meter of surface area.

To calculate the number of spotlights needed to fully illuminate a room, several factors must be taken into account such as:

  • ceiling height

  • materials that make up the ceiling

  • composition of the walls and floor

  • decor of the room

  • types of work and movement taking place in the room

These are very specific analyses that are likely to lead to erroneous conclusions if they are greatly simplified, for example, by resorting to preset formulas that do not take into account the specifics of the room, but only its size and the wattage of the fixtures.

Therefore, to calculate how many spotlights it is appropriate to put into a room, it is advisable to develop a meticulous lighting calculation, possibly relying on a home lighting professional.

How many spotlights do you need to light a room?

Obviously, not all rooms need the same quality of lighting. When calculating how many spotlights you need for a room, you need to take into account the objective you want to achieve with the lighting (e.g., highlighting the contents of a shelf, displaying objects for a trade show exhibit...) the type of rooms to be illuminated (the room of a home, a working office, a store...).

If you want to create a more intimate atmosphere, you can use spotlights with a softer, more diffuse beam of light. On the other hand, if you want to create a more dynamic atmosphere, you can resort to spotlights with a more direct light beam.

Depending on the desired breadth of lighting you want to achieve (for example, illuminating only the kitchen table or the entire countertop), you may need more or less lighting power.

For example, kitchens, being rooms that need adequate lighting, may require up to 350 lux.

Studios, being environments in which attention-intensive work activities take place, may require 300/500 lux.

Bathrooms need 150 lux, with makeup areas requiring up to 400 lux.

For bedrooms, 50 to 150 lux is recommended. For closets and garages, as little as 100 lux is sufficient for minimal lighting, while corridors can be thought of as 100/150 lux.

Commercial spaces have very different lighting needs than private homes, so for the same square meters, the desired effect must be taken into account, not only in terms of lux but also in terms of room specifications.

Positioning of recessed spotlights: the right distance

The position of spotlights depends on the brightness they are capable of producing.

However, you must take into account that the distance of the devices may vary depending on the characteristics of the room in question. You can adjust the angle of the spotlights to directly illuminate certain areas or objects, such as artwork or decorations, or to create diffuse lighting throughout the room.

In the kitchen or a busy room-taking a standard 2.7-meter ceiling as a reference and using spotlights with a 60-degree angled aperture-you can place the devices 90 to 100 cm apart. In a wide corridor, to generate more diffuse light, they can be spaced even 130/150 cm apart.

In the case of narrow spotlights (30 degrees or less) we can keep shorter distances to make sure that no shadow areas are generated between them.

In order to determine the appropriate way to place the spotlights, we need to define a laying pattern. It is necessary to follow a hypothetical line in which they are spaced about one meter apart, to avoid producing cones of light on the walls (unless this is the desired effect). Depending on the light beam of the devices in question (usually narrow - 30 degrees - or wide - 45/60 degrees) they will be placed at an appropriate distance from all the spotlights so as not to leave any areas of shadow.

In a long, narrow space such as a hallway, we can arrange a series of small circular spotlights placed about 90 cm apart to achieve satisfactory illumination.

However, these are considerations that expose one to a certain risk of error when performed by laymen.

A professional can perform a tailor-made lighting calculation so as to identify the optimal number of spotlights and the position in which to place them, in order to achieve effective lighting in relation to the specifics of the room in question.

Layout diagram of the recessed spotlights

Spotlights are placed evenly on the ceiling to cover the entire area evenly. This is ideal for general lighting in spaces such as hallways, entryways, or bedrooms, where even, diffuse light is needed.

Devices can be placed in a regular grid on the ceiling or walls. This scheme is often used in offices, kitchens, or bathrooms to give rise to uniform lighting but a more regular arrangement.

Arranging light sources in a sunburst pattern allows for an accent effect, and is ideal for illuminating a specific object or area of the room.

To create a cozy atmosphere or emphasize architectural features, you can install spotlights along walls or in niches. This scheme is ideal for illuminating pictures, shelves or decorative walls. To highlight objects or decorative elements, such as artwork, sculptures or plants, you can use spotlights placed above the object to be highlighted and angled toward it. In narrow spaces such as hallways or stairways, you can install spotlights along the walls or on the ceiling to evenly illuminate the entire area to ensure safe passage.

The cascade arrangement allows you to create a depth effect, highly recommended especially for lighting a high ceiling or a large area.

Spotlights in the hallway suspended ceiling

The arrangement of spotlights in the suspended ceiling can be used to enhance the hallway decor. For example, we can use spotlights to illuminate a wall and enhance the details of a painting or photograph, or to create a contrasting effect between different areas of the hallway.

In a small hallway, it is best to use spotlights of small or medium power, arranged evenly. In a large corridor, on the other hand, you can use more powerful spotlights, arranged more widely apart.

If the corridor is a simple passageway, it is sufficient to provide general lighting. If, on the other hand, the hallway is also a place to stand, you can opt for spotlights with a more direct beam to create a more welcoming atmosphere.

How to place spotlights in the kitchen? The position of spotlights will depend on the size and layout of your kitchen, as well as the desired lighting style. Position them so as to avoid unwanted shadows and ensure even brightness. If you have an island or counter in your kitchen, consider installing spotlights above them to provide additional light during food preparation. Similarly, you can place them above the breakfast area to ensure you get the right light when you have your first meal of the day.

9010 offers a wide range of LED recessed lights to match any style, from modern to minimalist. Wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted and as marker lights, all of our recessed products are made entirely by hand in Italy from CRISTALY®, a high-performance material that allows for easy recessed mounting thanks to a patented multi-cut slat system.

Square, round, rectangular, our lighting points are a true furnishing accessory, capable of creating an evocative atmosphere, especially when installed concealed in the false ceiling.

For over 50 years we have been carrying on the tradition of our area with passion and dedication, using non-toxic and environmentally friendly materials. We also provide our customers with the ability to customize products with the goal of meeting any lighting needs and requirements.