What Size Recessed Lights for Kitchen do I Need?

what-size-recessed-lights-kitchenRecessed lights have become an indispensable part of interior lighting. Today you will hardly find a house without recessed lights. Most often homeowners install them in kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, hallways. A logical question arises: what size recessed lights for kitchen do I need for example. How, where and why is it best to use?

They can serve as the main source of light or as an ambiance lighting. Very often people use them to accentuate particular parts of the interior and for space zoning. For recessed lights to perform their function to the fullest, they need to be installed properly. That includes not only actual wirework but also the layout and sizing. How many recessed lights do I need? Where should recessed lights be placed in a kitchen? In this article, we are going to discuss these and other important questions to help you make the right choice.

What Type of Lighting is Best for Kitchen?

Kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in a house (for most people). So the lighting really matters, because it affects the way we feel. To set the right mood in a kitchen, the light should be quite bright and crisp, but not overly stimulating. When cooking, you need to see all the ingredients clearly and in their true colors, so the light should be neutral white. Ideally, there should be multiple sources of light, which you could use according to your needs.  For instance, overhead lights for general illumination, combined with task lights over the cooking area and accent lights in the dining area. If you are wondering how to light a room with no overhead lighting, here is an idea. You can use wall lights, accent lights, and chandeliers together with tube lights and recessed task lights in a cooking zone.

There are many options for kitchen lighting available. Let us just name the few.

Possible Examples of a Kitchen Lighting Design

Type of lightWhere to usePurpose
RecessedOver the whole roomAmbient
PendantOver the kitchen island or dinner tableAccent, ambient
TrackKitchen islandAmbient, task
CeilingIn the middle of the roomAmbient
Under-cabinetUnder the cabinetsTask

All these types of lighting are great for their own specific purpose. We are not going to elaborate on each of them, but stick to the main topic of this article – recessed lighting.

what type of lighting is best for kitchen

How to Achieve the Best Recessed Lighting for Kitchen?

When it comes to general illumination in a kitchen there is no better choice than recessed lighting. Due to the installation specifics, recessed lighting design and layout must be planned in advance. Once it is there, it will be very hard to make alterations, so do not ignore the preparation process. It is not easy to find best-recessed lighting, but not too hard at the same time. Always prefer products of reputable companies that specialize in interior lighting. It is also a good idea to book professional installation services. Make sure to connect the lights to a dimmer switch. That way you will have more flexible illumination and an opportunity to save on electricity.

Here you can see more information about best-recessed lighting!

How to measure recessed lighting size?

Recessed lights are available in various sizes. The choice depends on the layout, ceiling height, size of the kitchen and your personal style preferences. However, it is important to understand the size of light correctly. When speaking about recessed lights, we usually think about their visible part. But that is not how we measure them. The size that is indicated in product specification is the diameter of the inside of a housing. You should understand that the rim adds a couple of inches to that number. So keep that in mind when doing the calculations.

What size recessed lights for small kitchen should I choose?

what size recessed lights for small kitchenRecessed lights sizes range from 3 to 6 inches. The smallest size is perfect for under-cabinet lighting, while 4-inch lights can work well on a ceiling of a small kitchen. Preferable size also depends on the purpose. If it is general illumination, then you should choose larger diameters. Task lighting will be more directional if you use multiple small lights.

According to studies, lighting the kitchen work area is very important. That is why correctly selected dimensions of recessed luminaires, as well as placement, play an important role.

How far apart should recessed lights be placed in a kitchen?

When determining how much distance to put between lights, professionals recommend to take half of the ceiling height. For instance, if your kitchen has a 10-foot ceiling, the lights should be 5 feet apart. Of course, these are just the rough numbers. The actual layout will depend on many other factors, such as design of the kitchen, color scheme, wattage of lights and so on. To get more precise numbers, you can use an online recessed lighting spacing calculator. It also can help you find out, for instance, how many recessed lights in bedroom would be the best.

Kitchen lighting design rules of thumb:

  1. It is better to “over-light” than “under-light”. The problem of too much light can be solved by dimmers. On the other hand, if there is not enough light, you will have to install additional fixtures, which might not be in line with your kitchen style.
  2. Do not put recessed lights too close to the walls and top cabinets (ideally at least 3 feet away). That way you will avoid unpleasant shadows.
  3. Do not strive to get all the light you need from overhead lighting. Use under-cabinet lights or other types of task lights to illuminate certain areas.


Recessed lighting is and will be one of the best ways to illuminate a kitchen. It can be used independently or in combination with other types of light. As long as you plan out the layout in advance and choose the right size of lights, the result will please your eye each time you walk into the kitchen.

Harry Brown

Hello, welcome to the blog! My name is Harry. I am concerned about my eyes health. What about you? Do you like reading? By choosing the right light intensity and color, you will avoid many awkward situations. I hope, my articles and reviews help you.

Add comment