Choosing a Recessed Downlight

Downlights are great for general illumination or drawing attention to a focal point in a room. They save energy compared to hanging light fixtures and are a popular option in low ceiling rooms.

Choosing the right recessed lighting trim comes down to aesthetic taste and desired effect. There are a few different things to keep in mind: flangeless vs flanged, square aperture vs circular and shower lens vs wall wash trim.


Choosing the right size recessed downlight is crucial to ensure that you get adequate lighting and don’t create an overly crowded look. There are two standard sizes for recessed downlights: 4-inch and 6-inch. Generally, the 6-inch light has a larger diameter and will be able to provide a wider wash of light. It also has more trim design options to choose from.

The 4-inch light has a smaller diameter and will provide more focused lighting. This can be useful in certain applications, such as highlighting a specific feature in the room or eliminating shadows on a ceiling. It also has more limited light output, which can be helpful in lowering energy consumption and keeping costs down.

Both styles of downlights are great choices for general lighting in most rooms. Depending on the decor goals of your space, you can mix and match the different sized lights to create a premium look.

Another factor to consider is whether you want a line voltage or low voltage fixture. A low voltage fixture will be connected directly to the house’s existing electrical system and does not require a transformer or special modern dimmers. This type is typically installed in new construction and works well with insulation. A line voltage fixture has a built-in circuit that is operated off of the household 120-volt current and requires no transformer or special modern dimmers.

Beam Spread

When choosing a recessed downlight it is important to consider the beam spread. A wider angle will provide a softer diffuse light and is perfect for living rooms, bedrooms or even hallways. A narrower angle will give a more intense light and is ideal for kitchens or areas with high ceilings.

The type of trim you select can also impact the size of the beam spread. For example, a gimbal trim allows you to manipulate the focus of the spotlight which can be useful in Recessed Downlight situations where precise positioning is required. There is also an eyeball downlight which has a protruding eyeball that can be moved around to direct the beam. These are often used for feature lighting, such as on artwork or photos.

Other trims include the shower lens trim, which is designed for bathrooms and can be adjusted to direct the light where it is needed, such as over a bath or shower. There is also the wall wash trim which masks off a portion of the aperture to direct the light down walls and create a soft ambience in bathrooms, en suites and other areas where water might be present.

Another important consideration when deciding on the type of downlight you need is the colour rendering index (CRI). This is a measure of how faithfully the light illuminates colours compared with natural sunlight. A higher CRI is better for achieving accurate colour reproduction.

Light Output

Recessed downlights, also known as can lights, are a type of lighting that mounts to the ceiling in a housing that looks like a can (hence the name). They’re ideal for rooms with low ceilings where you need brighter light, such as kitchens, bathrooms, closets, and hallways. The cans are smaller than more traditional ceiling lights, which makes the light look more compact and reduces shadows on the ceiling.

While most recessed downlights are easy to use and install, there are some features that you should consider when selecting your fixture. There are several trim options available, each of which manipulates the light in different ways and provides a desirable aesthetic. A led lights reflector trim focuses more of the light on the ceiling to increase its brightness and impact, while baffle trims provide a matte surface that diffuses the light and reduces glare. An adjustable trim, such as a gimbal, allows you to swivel the downlight to direct the spotlight at a specific area.

Many of our recessed downlights come in an energy-saving LED form. You can choose between a wide range of lumens for maximum light output, as well as white temperatures to match your mood or style. Our ultra thin LED recessed cans install fast, are IC rated so they can be installed directly into insulation, and have a narrow minimum clearance for soffits and double drywall ceilings.


A recessed downlight, also known as a can light or pot light, is an unobtrusive lighting fixture that’s installed flush with your ceiling. They’re available in a variety of sizes, and they beam downward to illuminate a room without blocking sight lines or snagging usable square footage. The most common recessed downlight is between 4 and 6 inches wide, which provides plenty of output for kitchens or hallways.

To install a recessed downlight, first locate the switch you’ll use to control them and rewire it for constant power. Then, find a point in the wiring where you’ll connect your new lights and cut through the sheathing with a wire ripper to expose the wires. Strip the coating from about four inches of the cable sheathing and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make your connections, which should be labeled by color for convenience.

You can install a recessed downlight in new construction, or you can use a remodel-style fixture to add them to an existing home. If you choose to remodel, be sure to use a template to mark where the hole will go in your ceiling and a stud finder to make sure you don’t accidentally cut into a joist or other support structure. After you’ve cut the hole, you’ll need to attach the trim and mount the housing.