I am currently finishing my unfinished basement. I would like to create a look similar to this basement.

gu10 lighting

From the looks of it they are using 3 or 4" recessed lights with GU10 bulbs. I am planning to do the same. I found these (and many like them) 4" cans with GU10 bulbs.

gu10 recessed bulb

I plan to use replace the halogen GU10 bulbs with 50W equivalent LEDs (probably the ones linked). I have just under 8' ceilings. I am thinking the bulbs should be 3' apart from what I've read so far, but I'm open to suggestions/corrections.

I know this bulb is typically used for accent lighting, but I want to use it for ambient lighting (in a basement recreation room/laundry). The picture looks like it provides enough lighting, but I can only tell so much from the picture. I realize its a subjective question in some respects, but I'm hoping somebody can weigh in with knowledge on how much light I can expect to get with said setup (vs say a typical setup with 6" cans 6' apart), and suggestions on how I can improve on the design (i.e. should I go with 2.5' spacing? a wider aperture then 38 degrees? etc.)

  • Thanks for the input. I mentioned halogen because the reccessed light kits ive seen come with 50w halogen bulbs, but i certainly dont want to use all that energy so LEDs it is. I plan to go with 3,000 kelvin 50w equivalent bulbs. From what your saying id need more cans if i choose a warm color temperature like this?
    – n00b
    Dec 11, 2016 at 13:24
  • Also fwiw i say renovation but the basement is currently unfinished.
    – n00b
    Dec 11, 2016 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


The light fixture you are showing are for retrofit installed through a hole. If the basement is unfinished you can just use 4" can lights for new construction. Then you don't have to throw away the halogens and can choose the color of your LED light kits from 3000K to 5000K whatever pleases you.

As far as the spacing, the picture you show looks like way overkill to me. You could use half that many lights for ambient lighting in a basement, especially with the newer 12 watt LED's at 650 lumens. A Google of halogens shows 50 watt lamps produce 430 lumens at 2750K so they are yellower and dimmer and use much more electricity.

The spacing doesn't look right by the rule of thumb. It looks symmetrical but the rule is to space the fixtures in the middle of the room double the distance the first fixture is from the wall. More to the point, if the first fixture is 2 feet from the wall the next fixture is 4 feet away from the first. Since there is no light at the wall the first one needs to be closer to the wall. From there you are always between two lights so they can be further apart since they light the room from both directions.

Good luck with your project!

  • ive been reading you should do the lights 3' from the wall because less creates harsh shadows. however my lights will be just about 4' apart. should i go with 2' or at least 3'?
    – n00b
    Dec 16, 2016 at 13:51
  • Lighting design is some art some science. Depending on the effect you want the lights can be closer of further from the wall. If you want to wash the wall then closer is better but if you want to light the room then further away would be your choice. Sometimes washing the wall and creating shadows is the desired effect.
    – ArchonOSX
    Dec 18, 2016 at 15:02
  • Here is a pretty good basic layout guide. recessedlightinglayout.com/2014/06/…
    – ArchonOSX
    Dec 18, 2016 at 16:59
  • They have a pretty good picture here of the effect of wall washing: recessedlightinglayout.com/2014/08/…
    – ArchonOSX
    Dec 18, 2016 at 17:03

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