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Family Room Recessed Lighting Layout Living Room

Recessed lighting has become a favorite of many homeowners for its many merits particularly the simplistic contemporary look and the seeming largesse of the rooms with this kind of lighting.

Recessed lighting also has a longevity that most traditional lighting did not have particularly the pendant or hanging lights that may also be restrictive in terms of placement since they are bulky and too many hanging apparatus would be an eyesore. While even the hanging lights have their advantages, it is clear that an overwhelming majority have elected to install recessed lighting. 

With recessed lighting, one of the major challenges is how best to set up multiple light fixtures in a single room, to provide optimal utility.

For a living room to come alive under this kind of light, it is absolutely crucial that lights are placed evenly and at the most prime location to avoid the mess a poorly lit room will become.

Factors to consider when installing recessed lighting in your living room

In most situations, the installation of recessed lights is done during construction so you may not need to weigh in. You will likely need to consider the factors below if you are remodeling your home or if you are building the home yourself.

Size of the Family Room 

Unlike pendant lighting where a single fixture can provide light to a whole room, recessed lights are sunk into the ceiling limiting the amount of light that shines into the room. This means that multiple recessed lights must be installed to provide sufficient lighting. 

Naturally, the size of the room will be the most significant factor to consider when planning the layout of recessed lighting for your living room. You want to ensure that there are no dark spots in the room, but you must also ensure no spots receive too much light. 

There are calculators and formulae that are available online for just this purpose but a number of variables have to be considered other than the mere dimensions of the room and with that in mind, the best route here would be to involve an expert contractor. 

Determining these measurements and installing your recessed lighting yourself should only be attempted if you have expert-level knowledge of electricals, design, and construction.

Ceiling Shapes

Traditionally, the ceiling would be a flat surface making it much easier to calculate optimal placement points for your light fixture but more creative designs means that some ceilings can be sunken while others can be high ceilings. 

In some instances, the family room is sectioned out and the boundary is a feature built into the ceiling decoratively to signal that the area is separate but still a part of the family room. It can be a dining area or a reading area with a different ceiling height which calls for a different arrangement of recessed lights.

Type of Bulbs

This is a crucial factor considering how many different types of bulbs are out there. In most instances, the bulbs should be of the same type which means the beam and brightness will be even across the room.

However, in a particularly large room, you may want more light in some areas such as the designated reading area, and less light in a separate area such as where the fireplace is located.

Additionally, you may want the option to pick different lighting patterns for different times or seasons which could mean you may need to change the bulbs or install parallel lighting systems.

The beam sizes will be a key factor in deciding how many lights you will need and where they should be placed. An online calculator may not give you the most accurate results since bulbs come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. 

Decor and Furniture

At any point in determining how and where to place any kind of lighting, you must consider all the items that will end up in that room eventually. It is advisable that when installing recessed

lights, you are certain that the style of decor and furniture you have can gel naturally with the recessed lighting.

Recessed lights do not fit seamlessly into every style of decor and a good example is Caribbean-style homes or old western facades. This kind of decor seems to be at odds with recessed lighting which is rather contemporary and has a post-modern appeal to it. 

Old handcrafted oak and walnut rocking chairs adjacent to brick red built-in fireplaces should not be found under a ceiling full of recessed lights. And while it can be sensible to mix certain features from different style catalogs, some just don’t work and may cost you a lot of time and money to fix at a later time.

Replacement and Repair

The family room is arguably the most utilized space in the home save for the kitchen and with time, you may find you need to spruce up the old fixtures in favor of new ones or even install newer more stylish lighting.

If what you have is new construction recessed lights, you must keep in mind that replacing them is an arduous task because while you can remove them, you can not always reinstall the same type and you will have to do with replacement fixtures. 

In many cases, the replacement fixtures do not match the new construction recessed lights in terms of quality and longevity. New construction recessed lights also come with more trim options compared to the replacement fixtures which means future adjustments to your lighting will be limiting. 

Recessed lighting is fairly permanent and any attempt to change to another lighting type such as pendant lighting will come at tremendous cost. The more extravagant your recessed lighting is, the greater the task of replacing it entirely so be certain that you want to install this kind of lighting since recessed lighting layout tends to require intensive workmanship.


Due to the multiple sunken fixtures, a recessed lighting layout for your living room may cost a lot to install. The price goes up if you want more aesthetic work done on the ceiling to fit in a particular design feature. You will, however, save money on your energy bill if you go for energy-efficient bulbs.