Signature Lighting and Fans | Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Signature Lighting and Fans, Calgary, Alberta
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Designing with Light

Recessed Fixtures
MIX AND MATCH

Recessed downlights offer effective light without the intrusion of a visible fixture. Basically domes with light bulbs set into their tops, most fixtures can be fitted with any number of bulb types and sizes, trims, and accessories that shape the light to the desired function. When installed, only the trim is visible, not the fixture itself.

Low-voltage downlights – particularly those with MR-16 bulbs – are especially popular for tight accent lighting. For a longer throw or more impact, choose low – or standard-voltage PAR bulbs in aimable fixtures housings rather than MR-16’s. Like their track counterparts, many low-voltage downlights include an integral transformer; or you can use a single remote transformer to serve a number of fixtures.

Downlights make good ambient sources, too, and some can now be fitted with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs. However, designers have learned not to trust downlights for task lighting – one’s head tends to block the light from the task at hand!

 

There's a soft look overall here-appropriate for a master bedroom-but it's built up from several flexible sources. Recessed downlights with aimable slot apertures direct ambient wall-wash to the headboard area.
Recessed Lighting and Downlights Tips from Lighting Tips from Signature Lighting & Fans

START WITH THE HOUSING. Downlights are usually prewired and grounded to their own junction boxes. These fixtures need several inches of clearance above the ceiling, so they’re most easily installed below an unfinished attic or crawl space. If space is tight, you can purchase low-clearance fixtures.

So-called “new work” units, used in new construction, are easy to secure between exposed ceiling members. Cut-in or remodeling models are also available - they slip into, then clip onto, a hole cut in the existing ceiling.

Many downlights produce a lot of heat, so you must either remove insulation within 3 inches of the fixture or buy an “IC” fixture rated for direct contact with surrounding materials.

 

 

Recessed Lighting and Downlights Tips from Lighting Tips from Signature Lighting & Fans

Recessed Lighting and Downlights Tips from Lighting Tips from Signature Lighting & Fans

Recessed Lighting and Downlights Tips from Lighting Tips from Signature Lighting & FansCHOOSE THE TRIM. Trim rings, baffles, lenses, and louvers are modular accessories in most downlight lines: Pick the one you want and snap it in place. Besides shaping the light, the trim ring covers the rough edges of the fixture housing and ceiling hole, providing an attractive integral look.

Recessed Lighting and Downlights Tips from Lighting Tips from Signature Lighting & FansA sampling of trim rings and other accessories is shown on this page. Brass and chrome reflector rings bounce extra light; black baffles cut it off. Slot apertures shape tight accent patterns; aimable eyeballs allow wider patterns. Acrylic lenses soften light and cut glare, as do honeycomb louvers.

LOW-VOLTAGE LOGISTICS

Smaller, safer, and more energy-efficient than standard 120-volt systems, low-voltage light fixtures have become popular indoors as well as out. Low-voltage lights use a transformer to step down household current to 12 or 24 volts; you can buy prepackaged systems or create your own with individual fixtures.

Recessed Lighting and Downlights Tips from Lighting Tips from Signature Lighting & FansLow-voltage tracks or downlights may include an integral transformer, or you can use a remote external transformer to serve a number of fixtures. Which arrangement is best? Both have pluses and minuses. Integral transformers are convenient, especially when only one or two fixtures are involved. But the built in unit makes the fixture bulkier and more expensive; some integral units may also hum, especially when coupled with dimmers. A remote transformer housed in a nearby closet, basement, or ceiling can serve a number of fixtures; but you will have to hassle with more routing and calculate what wire size you’ll need. The size of the transformer limits the total wattage of lamps that can be hooked up to it.

 

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