Downlights, also known as recessed lights, are a key component for many residential lighting designs.
Downlights can add a touch of sophistication and style to any living area. With today’s LED technology, downlights can also reduce electricity use and maintenance costs.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the finer points of LED downlights.
What are downlights?
Downlights are light fixtures that are installed above the ceiling and shine down into a space. Typically, the trim of the downlight is flat against the ceiling. However, some trims such as gimbals or eyeballs stick down below the ceiling to allow for aiming the light.
Homeowners can install this type of lighting throughout an entire room. This is known as general illumination. You can also draw attention to a focal point or add visual interest to a space with downlights.
You can easily install downlights in a new home during construction, but you can also retrofit existing recessed fixtures to LED downlights.
What makes downlights special?
Downlights stand out from other fixture types because there are so many different options for trims, lenses and reflectors.
Although fixed recessed lighting is the standard style, you also purchase downlights that swivel and serve multiple functions based on build, trim and angle. Eyeballs and gimbals are two recessed lighting styles that are becoming more popular because you can aim them in specific directions.
Benefits of LED recessed lights
LED downlights produce less heat, use less energy and are more effective at guiding light to its intended destination than other traditional lighting technologies such as incandescent. Since LEDs have a longer lifespan, you’ll save on maintenance costs over time.
LEDs are also available in a wider variety of colors and shades, whereas incandescent bulbs only come in a yellow, warm hue. Popular LED bulbs for downlights in homes usually come in bright, soft or warm whites, but if you want to get creative, you can install smart bulbs that change colors.
Recessed lights are also perfect for outdoor settings. Outdoor downlights can enhance the visual appearance of your home while also boosting security. If you want to add light around the perimeter of a home, you may want to consider installing LED downlights in eaves or overhangs.
What about harsh winter weather? LEDs actually work best in cold temperatures. And as long as you don’t leave them burning all day in the summer, your LED downlights will work just fine outside.
The long-life benefits of LEDs can be especially helpful if you have second-story eaves that are hard to reach. Bulb replacements will be few and far between.
Install recessed lights in your home
Homeowners who want lighting flexibility and in-ceiling fixtures can benefit from installing downlighting.
Combined with energy-saving LED bulbs, downlights can be another way to use modern and efficient lighting throughout an entire home.
This article was originally published on February 13, 2017. It was updated and republished on July 13, 2021.