Recessed Lighting vs Ceiling Fixtures

Ceiling fixtures and recessed lighting can always cause some confusion while in the process of building or remodeling a home. The fact of the matter is, many only are thinking about the beauty of a light fixture and not really the function. I get it, I am the same way. Around here, beauty almost always comes before functionality.

But, if you want to know the basics of recessed lighting vs using light fixtures, here are a few things that might help.

We always use a combination of both. I like using light fixtures for aesthetic purposes and adding recesses in to give more illumination within the room.

What is Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a light fixture that is installed into an opening in the ceiling. It is almost flush with the ceiling and has light directly shining from the hole in the ceiling downward like a broad floodlight.

Pros of Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is very sleek and hidden. They can make a room appear somewhat larger than it really is. The right kind of recessed light is ideal for areas that will have a lot of moisture like above a shower.

They are great for lower ceilings where there is not enough room for a hanging light. We went with more recessed lights in our basement, where the ceilings are only 9″.

We also chose to use them in our hallways and most of our bathrooms. The great thing about recessed lights is they can be paired with any light fixture.

In most rooms, we utilized both. For example, in our kitchen, we wanted a lot of light. We used several recessed lights and two large fixtures with a lot of bulbs, plus two wall sconces.

Cons of Recessed Lighting

Recess lights may be cheaper than a normal light fixture. But keep in mind most of the time, you will need several in a given location. Installation is kind of expensive but isn’t most electrical work. Expect to pay anywhere between $125-$200 per for light and installation. And for some reason, if you go smaller with a 4″ light vs the standard 6″, you’re going to pay even more.

Recess lighting is not going to light up the entire room, especially a room with taller ceilings. Most of the time, you will need to mix them with a larger ceiling light or install many of them to give you the illumination you need.

Pros of Ceiling Fixtures

Ceiling fixtures are a must to me, well, in some rooms. They allow you to give your room some personality and make a statement. Ceiling fixtures can also be reasonable if you shop around. They can vary anywhere from $100-$600 or even more. We have a lot of experience in buying light fixtures. I can tell you that it is possible to find some that look really good and do not cost an arm and a leg.

They cast light over a bigger area of the room. Most fixtures have two or more bulbs which put off a lot of light. Depending on ceiling height and the size of your room, most of the time, one to two fixtures will be all you need.

Con of Ceiling Fixtures

A ceiling fixture will most likely be the focal point of the room, so if you want a more sleek design, this may not be the way to go. Fixtures hanging super low may also cause problems with a tall guest. Not that this is a common problem, but could be according to what room and area you are looking at.

As I mentioned before, for a larger room with higher ceilings, you will probably have to add recess lighting paired with a ceiling fixture. One ceiling fixture should work for a smaller room with windows and lower ceilings.

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  • Reply Joel

    Great style. Very elegant and timeless.
    What are your thoughts on black interior doors?

    April 7, 2020 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply J. Gibbs

    Don’t forget lighting at lower levels like lamps, etc. Can be functional (like at a desk) or for general/ambience (like on a sofa table). Kind of like how layers are common in decorating, I believe the same can be true of lighting.

    February 11, 2022 at 2:05 pm
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