Recessed lights, or “pot lights” can bring a nice clean, modern look to a home and provide excellent lighting in hard-to-light places.   Most people don’t realize that it’s available in a variety of types and styles for different uses.  Here’s the basics:

What are Recessed Lights?

Recessed lights are the fixtures you see in homes that are installed in a hollow opening in the ceiling, so the light sits flush with the ceiling.   These usually come in two parts – the housing and the trim. The housing is the actual light fixture in which the bulb is held, and the trim is the visible portion around its frame.

When choosing a type of recessed lighting, you’ll need to choose what type of housing, trim and style will work for your project.

Recessed Lighting Housing

The first step will be choosing the appropriate housing.  This is the functional part of your decision, and probably the easiest choice to make as they each have specific applications.

· New construction housing.  This is installed in newly constructed homes before completing the ceiling or in an added room to an old house.

· Renovation housing.  This is installed in a previously built ceiling. You can install this type of recessed lighting in just about any type of ceiling.

· Insulation contact housing. Over time, the insulation in your recessed lighting system is bound to come into contact with the housing. This is a fire hazard risk. With insulation contact housing, there will be no possibility for the transfer of heat from the housing to the insulation. Even where there is direct contact between the housing and insulation, there will be no risk of fire.

· Non-insulation contact housing. This type of housing isn’t designed to prevent the transfer of heat between the housing and the insulation. Every precaution should therefore be taken to prevent the risk of fire when installing this type.

· Airtight housing. These are designed to ensure that no air escapes from the lighting system.  This is the best insulation one can have.  In addition, it increases your home’s overall energy efficiency.

· Shallow ceiling housing. These are built specially for a shallow ceiling.  Some come with even extra low-profile housing for ceilings with extremely little space.

· Slope ceiling housing. These are meant for installation on sloped ceilings or walls. You have to check the slope angle before ordering.

Recessed lighting trim

Once you have established the right housing for your home, consider the trim. This is important as the trim will be the visible part of your lights.  Here are some of the common types:

· Baffle trim. Being the most common type of lighting trim, this has a ribbed interior to reduce glare from the light bulb. It provides gentle light and is, therefore, great in home offices where concentration at work is very key.

· Open trim. This is different from baffle trim as it has no ribbed interior. It, therefore, does not prevent glare but rather creates brighter lighting. The area covered by the light is also wider.

· Eyeball trim. This particular trim has an adjustable interior light fixture allowing you to adjust it to aim where you want the light to shine. If you need accent lighting, this is the trim to use.

· Wall wash trim.  The exterior design of this particular trim closely mimics the baffle and open trim.  It also has an adjustable light fixture similar to that of the eyeball trim, except  it has a half shield partially covering the opening to make the focus of light to certain areas of your home more even.

· Shower trim. This trim is best used for bathrooms, showers, and other high-humidity areas. It has a tempered glass cover to keep the light bulb safe and the moisture out.

Recessed lighting style

The style is important when it comes to choosing recessed lights for your home. It’s all about the materials, colors, and other design elements. Essentially, the design you select should complement the rest of your home décor and furnishings. The end result should be cohesive look. Some of the basic designs are:

· Modern recessed lighting which makes use of neutral colors and stylish trim design.

· Contemporary recessed lighting which is slightly smoother and more relaxed as well as utilizing square trim.

· Traditional recessed lighting which is designed to be calming, relaxing, and welcoming. It features warm colors and wood-look trim.

· Rustic recessed lighting which is perfect in a log cabin home. The lighting is inspired by nature and uses earthy colors.

· Victorian recessed lighting which includes ornate design elements and engraved trim with soft ambient lighting.

There are many options to choose from for your recessed lights. As a starting point, ask your electrician regarding what types would be recommended for your project.