How Many Recessed Lights in Kitchen Do You Need?

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Remodeling or building a new kitchen? You might have made the decision to dot some recessed lights in specific areas in your kitchen but you’re unsure how many of them you need to install.

The truth is, there’s not a single answer to this question. Too many recessed lights may be unnecessary, especially for small kitchens. However, having only a few fixtures may not provide adequate brightness in your kitchen.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, so consider the dimensions of your kitchen and the wattage of the bulbs you would like to use.

In this article, we’ll explore some key considerations to help you determine the right amount of recessed lights for your kitchen. We’ll also teach you how to calculate it based on the size of your space—it’s easy!

What Is a Recessed Kitchen Light?

Recessed light is a type of lighting fixture typically installed into ceilings, often in circular holes. It’s sometimes referred to as downlights or can lights, and is designed to be level with the ceiling surface.

Unlike other forms of lighting like chandeliers, pendants, and sconces, recessed lights provide illumination without a visible fixture. The bulb in recessed lights glows from within the hole while the casing and electrical wiring are concealed. This helps create a sleek and streamlined look.

In the kitchen, recessed lights offer enough flood lighting to evenly light the space. They can also provide narrow beam angles. That’s why you’ll see them in many museums and galleries. They are great if you want to put the focus on artwork or decorative elements in a space.

What Should Be the Distance Between Each Light in the Kitchen?

According to Home Depot, one simple way to determine how much space to leave between each light is by dividing the height of your ceiling by 2. So, if your ceiling has a standard 8-foot height, then the space between each light would be 4 feet.

For kitchens with a high ceiling, you must install the lights further away from you. This will keep the lights from becoming too concentrated in one spot. However, this also means that you’ll need more recessed lights.

But if your kitchen has a low ceiling, you need to space the recessed lights close together to provide adequate illumination. Keep in mind that the lights should be placed in a way that they evenly illuminate the area of the kitchen that you need for certain tasks.

How Many Recessed Lights in Kitchen Do You Need?

Or is there such a thing as too much lighting, especially in small spaces like kitchens? It might be OK as long as they are dimmable, right?

Since that space in your home is where you do the most food prep and cooking, adequate lighting is important. With enough illumination, these fixtures can also make your kitchen feel more airy and open.

That said, there are several factors that come into play when it comes to determining how many recessed lights you need in your kitchen. For one, you should consider your ceiling’s height as well as your needs. The higher the ceiling, the more recessed lights your kitchen may require.

If you need a higher level of brightness in your kitchen, you can add more lights. You can benefit from many lights if your kitchen isn’t getting enough natural light. We recommend getting LED bulbs if you plan on installing more lights as they generate less heat, making your space still comfortable.

Keep in mind that a good lighting plan incorporates multiple types of lighting such as overhead lighting, accent lighting, task lighting, and ambient lighting. In a kitchen, the recessed lights typically just make up part of that overall lighting plan along with a number of other lights.

But when it comes to installing recessed lights, it’s important that you first determine the size of your kitchen. You can do this by multiplying the length by the width, then, you need to multiply it by 1.5. Whatever answer you get from that equation you should divide by 60 or the wattage of the bulb you prefer.

For example, if you have a 360-square-foot kitchen and want to use 60-watt bulbs, you’ll need 9 recessed lights. The formula is as follows:

360 square foot x 1.5 = 540

540 / 60 watts (bulb wattage) = 9 recessed lights

Keep in mind that some LED bulbs have a significantly lower wattage than traditional ones. An LED recessed light with lower wattage can provide brighter illumination than a traditional bulb with higher wattage.

Where Should Recessed Lights Be Placed in a Kitchen?

To maximize their functions, you must place the lights where you need them the most. If you have a kitchen island, for example, it may be a good idea to put them over it to give adequate light when preparing food.

But you can also install them directly over your kitchen sink, above the stove, and under cabinets. Many homes also have recessed lights installed along the kitchen’s perimeter. This helps add soft illumination to the space and makes it feel more airy and open.

Benefits of Recessed Kitchen Lights

If you’re still on the fence about installing recessed lights in your kitchen, just think about the convenience they bring to your home. 

Recessed kitchen lights make it easier for you to navigate and work in your cooking space. They remove shadows and light up dark areas in your kitchen, which can improve safety. You can use them over your kitchen island, bar counter, and stove. But they are the best for open floor plans.

Apart from that, since they are discrete, they can elevate your room. These light fixtures are completely tucked into the cut holes while still illuminating your space. They offer a clean and “lowkey” way of providing enough light without interfering with your kitchen décor.

Recessed lights are a great lighting solution for tiny kitchens or other areas where you need to make the most of space since they don’t take up any wall or floor space. Plus, they are energy efficient.

Recessed kitchen lights often use LED bulbs because they are more energy-efficient than incandescent lights. This can help lower the cost of your monthly utility bill.

Things To Consider

While there are several advantages to installing recessed kitchen lights, if you don’t plan it properly, you may end up spending more on altering the installation. Before you start your project, consider the following:

Make a Lighting Plan

Planning is crucial when it comes to installing recessed lights in your kitchen. It’s a good idea to sketch up an overall plan for your kitchen area.

If you’re upgrading an existing kitchen and want to incorporate recessed lighting, double-check to see where the current fixtures are. This ensures that the recessed lighting you install is compatible with your current lights.

And as we’ve mentioned earlier, you should measure the dimensions of your kitchen to determine how many lights you’ll need to install. A good rule of thumb to follow is that you need to install 1 recessed kitchen light for every 4 to 6 square feet of ceiling area.

This is a very crucial step. And it’s particularly important if you’re going to use recessed lights as your main source of brightness in the kitchen. Make sure that the lights provide adequate illumination on your bar counters, islands, and sinks. Having a plan in place saves you stress and headache.

Use a Dimmer

A kitchen that’s too bright all day and night can create glaring and it just doesn’t feel homey sometimes. Using a dimmer switch can make a lot of difference. It helps set the mood in the kitchen, especially for casual chitchats with guests on the bar counters.

For more flexibility, you can use multiple dimmer switches dedicated to various areas in your kitchen. This not only allows you to create ambiance and mood lighting, but it also extends the lifespan of your bulbs and helps save energy.

Reduce Recessed Lighting

Too much of anything isn’t good. And this holds true with kitchen lighting. While we all love a bright, open kitchen that you can freely move around in, installing too many recessed lights can make your ceiling look cluttered. It can also make the space uncomfortably warm.

If you want to put focus lighting in specific spots in your kitchen, think about combining recessed lights with under-cabinet lighting or pendant lights. You’ll appreciate a more even and aesthetically pleasing lighting system in your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Have Too Many Recessed Lights in a Kitchen?

No, it’s not ideal to have too many recessed kitchen lights. Placing too many recessed lights in your kitchen can make the space too bright and uncomfortably warm. This can also create excessive glare or shadows. It’s important to consider the size of your kitchen before deciding where to place your lights.

How Do You Calculate the Number of Recessed Lights Needed?

In the kitchen, it’s generally recommended to install 1 light for every 4 to 6 square feet of area. But you can also calculate the total wattage of light you need by multiplying the total square footage of your kitchen by 1.5. Then, divide it by the bulb watts you want to use.

The answer you get from that equation will be the number of recessed lights you need. You may refer to our calculation guide above.

What Is the Disadvantage of Recessed Lights?

Recessed lights come in handy in many kitchen spaces. However, one of the key downsides of these lights is probably the installation process. Because they are “recessed,” you need to cut holes on your ceiling. It’s even harder if you have already finished. This means that you’ll need to redo the ceiling altogether to add the lights.

If there is already a way to get to the space above the ceiling, installation should be much easier. It is a lot easier to swap out an existing circuit than to do full wiring back to your breaker box. Hiring a professional will be practical in such a case.

Are LED Lights Good for Kitchens?

LED bulbs are ideal when it comes to placing multiple recessed lights in your kitchen. These lights are energy-efficient and are safer to use compared with traditional bulbs. Plus, they run at a lower voltage and generate a lot less heat than incandescent bulbs.

Wrap Up

The right number of recessed lights you need for your kitchen will depend on a few factors like the size of the space and the wattage of the bulbs you want to use. Just to be on the safer side, you can follow the 1 recessed light for every 4 to 6 square feet of ceiling space.

If you have a large kitchen, make sure to install the fixture at a reasonably far distance from you. But if you have a small kitchen, install the lights closer together for better illumination. And remember to plan it out and invest in dimmers.

A well-designed lighting plan can really improve the functionality and visual appeal of your kitchen. And we hope you’ve found this guide helpful for your next project. We recommend hiring a professional to do the job, but if you choose to handle it yourself, then we have no choice but to root for you.

If you have more quotations about this topic, feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Good luck!