Steps To Determine How Many Recessed Lights You Need: A Practical Guide

Kenneth Wilson

Recessed lights are a popular lighting choice due to their unintrusive nature. (Related: How Much Does It Cost To Install Recessed Lighting?) However, many homeowners have a hard time when it comes down to determining exactly how many recessed lights they need in a particular area of the house. We’re here to help you figure it out!

There are two ways to calculate how many recessed lights you need. The first involves using a blueprint and plotting where fixtures need to go, then calculating how many fixtures were marked. The other method involves inputting values into an online tool to calculate how many fixtures are needed.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of determining how many recessed lights you need. To do this, there are a few steps that need to be followed. When this is done, you’ll be able to craft the perfect lighting in your home using recessed lights.

How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need?

Planning is key to determining the suitable layout for recessed lights in a particular space. An integral part of this process is figuring out how many recessed lights you’ll need within that space to achieve the desired lighting. However, to determine this, there are a few steps to follow considerations to keep in mind.

These steps include aspects such as measuring your room and using a blueprint of the room to mark where your recessed lights will be placed. There are also certain considerations, such as the height of your ceiling, that will need to be kept in mind when going through these steps when planning the layout of your lights.

When figuring out how many recessed lights are needed, a blueprint of the space comes in very handy. This will help you craft a layout using specific rules and considerations. When you’ve correctly planned this layout, you’ll have a well-lit, comfortable, ambiance-rich space. By counting the number of fixtures in your design, you’ll know how many recessed lights you need.

In the following section, we’re going to guide you through the process of crafting a layout for your recessed lights and determining how many you need. Whether you’re using these lights to highlight areas like countertops or to provide general lighting in an open-plan living space, these steps will help you achieve your desired lighting!

Steps to Determine How Many Recessed Lights You Need

The following steps can be used when determining exactly how many recessed lights you’ll need in a certain area of your house.

Step 1: Use a Blueprint of the Space

When creating a plan for an area’s recessed lighting and figuring out how many lights you’ll need, you’ll want to use a blueprint of the room. If you have an existing blueprint of your home or apartment, this can be used. This will come in very handy when creating a layout. However, if you don’t have access to a blueprint, hope is not lost!

You’ll be able to sketch your own by simply measuring the space and drawing a scaled image. There are even great online tools that can be used. These will allow you to input measurement values to create a scaled blueprint of your space. This will come in very handy for the following steps!

Step 2: Consider Shadows and Focal Points

Once you have your blueprint ready, there are two important aspects to consider. Firstly, you don’t want to have any shadows in the corners. When there are shadows in the corners, it will make the ceiling feel lower than it actually is. To avoid this, it is recommended that recessed lights are spaced 3-feet away from walls.

Furthermore, you’ll want to consider any focal points that need to be lit. If you’re going for general lighting, this isn’t the most crucial consideration. However, if you need to light a counter, you’ll want to start with that point when mapping your recessed lights on your blueprint.

You can then work your way outwards from focal points when plotting lights on your blueprint. When doing this, you’ll want to keep the following ceiling rule in mind!

Step 3: Use the Ceiling Rule

There is a general rule of thumb regarding the spacing of recessed lights. Generally, this can be taken by calculating the height from the floor to the ceiling. This value should then be halved, revealing the ideal spacing for your lights. If your ceiling is 8-feet high, your lights should be spaced 4-feet apart.

Along with the rule discussed above regarding spacing from the walls, the ceiling rule will help you craft the perfect blueprint. You’ll want to get out your measuring tape and measure the distance from your floor to ceiling. Once you’ve calculated this value, you need to halve it. This is approximately how far apart your lights should be spaced.

By adjusting this value to the scale of your blueprint, you can plot where your recessed lights should be placed throughout a given space. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to move on to the final step of this process!

Step 4: Calculate How Many Lights You’ll Need

Once you’ve plotted out your recessed lights on your blueprint, you will have determined exactly how many lights you need to craft your ideal lighting. Not only that, but you have an advantage when it comes down to installing them: you already know where all of them need to be placed.

Online Tools for Calculating How Many Recessed Lights are Needed

In an increasingly technological age, there are now simpler ways to do things – even when it comes down to calculating how many recessed lights you’ll need in a particular space. The Recessed Lighting Company has a handy online tool that can be used to calculate just how many fixtures you’ll need.

To calculate this value, you’ll need to input the room’s width and length. Once you’ve done this, you’ll specify the ceiling type and height. With these values entered correctly, you’ll be able to quickly calculate how many recessed lights you need. The process discussed earlier, however, takes more factors into consideration and often yields better final results.


Whether you use an online tool or a blueprint, you’ll be able to efficiently determine how many recessed lights you’ll need. By following the process discussed in this article, you’ll be able to create the perfect lighting in any room with recessed light fixtures.

Kenneth Wilson
November 12, 2021
Contractor Tips, Interior

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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