I've got a 18" x 12" living room that I want to install recessed lights into but I am stuck as to if I should install 6 or 8 lights (6 inch each). 6 already "looks" like there are a bunch of holes in the ceiling and I Just feel like 8 may be too crowed. but then again, what if 6 doesn't provide enough light? What do you guys think?

  • Think a lot about where the light is going to fall. There's no point lighting up walls. If you're going to do that, then do cove lighting instead. Dec 14, 2017 at 1:01

1 Answer 1


The questions you are asking are two fold.

1: How much light do I need to provide good visibility in this room - Lumens / Coverage.

2: Aesthetically what will this look like - good or awful ? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What is the layout of the six lights ? You did not mention - 3 and 3 along the long length or otherwise.

See the example below I think it will help you to decide. get a lamp of at least 800 lumens - you can get 75 watt equivalent for your recess assemblies which would be about 1000 lumens and that would make the area really bright. LEDs are pretty cheap and I would suggest you use them as well.

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  • I was going to do two rows of three like you displayed above however, I had each can spaced 6 feet apart and 3 feet from the walls. would that be a bad idea? Admittedly I'm not very sure of what the ideal spacing should be. originally I was also thinking 65 watt equiv LED should I do 75 watt equiv then? Am I really pushing it with 6 and should be using 8 cans?
    – John
    Dec 13, 2017 at 16:05
  • I am big on light so that on game night no one is left in the dark. I recommend the extra two cans, LED's are a must. Then install a dimmer. When you want low ambient you can have it to snuggle on the couch.
    – Paul Logan
    Dec 13, 2017 at 16:16
  • IMHO 4.5 feet is a little tight for spacing. I have 4" cans installed with 600 lumen LEDs with 4 lights in a 15'x15' bedroom and it is plenty for ambient light. Using 6" lights you will get even more light and 6 should be plenty for ambient light. If you need more light for task lighting consider a tighter pattern. If the room is a kitchen or a workshop you may want more light but a living room or bedroom needs less.
    – ArchonOSX
    Dec 13, 2017 at 17:18
  • @ArchonOSX you are correct we are expressing opinions on the numbers and spacing - as that is aesthetics. Aesthetically your 4 inch cans are probably more appealing for that space.However 6 inch cans do not give more light - they are just bigger cans. The bulb that is in those cans how many lumens they put out is what makes the difference in brightness. While it is true the bigger the can the more choices for higher lumen bulbs there are. And you are correct task lighting requires more luminosity - I have an area of a kitchen 10 feet long that has 4 six inch recessed lamps with 75W equivs.
    – Ken
    Dec 14, 2017 at 1:54
  • hhmm. good advice guys. so i think I'll go with 75watt equivs but still uncertain about 6 or 8. im not even sure how 8 would fit in that space. there doesnt seem like enough space for say another row. how would more be added?
    – John
    Dec 14, 2017 at 6:10

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