Installing downlights, also called recessed lighting, can enhance the decorating scheme in various areas of your home. Once you have decided to include them in a kitchen or living area, you need to figure out how you want to place them. Different placements will create different lighting effects. For example, if you fit a range of lights into an area and then separate them using various switches, you will produce varying lighting effects.

Task Lighting and Mood Lighting

For instance, if you are placing your downlights in the kitchen area, you might place some of them over the worktops and connect them to one switch and link the other downlights to another switch, such as a dimmer. In turn, you will have some lights that can be used for completing tasks and other lights that can be used as mood lighting.

With that being said, you still need to remember some helpful rules with respect to placement. For example, make sure that any downlights you place close to the wall in your kitchen are not more than 600mm into a room. This is a standard measurement for the depth of a cupboard. If you use this measurement, then you won’t experience any shadowing over work areas where the lights are used.

Positioning the Lights

Position the mood lighting, whether it is placed in a kitchen or living area, so it is spaced at intervals of approximately 900mm to 1000mm. From these figures, you should be able to figure out just how many fittings will be included in a row and just how many rows are required.

Many people who use downlights ask about the voltage for these lights. To answer this question, lighting companies like Carlton Lighting in Australia encourage the use of a mix of lower and higher voltage lights.

Typically, low voltage (LV) downlights of 12V are connected to a transformer, which, in turn, is wired to a mains supply. Although the transformer usually wastes about 10% of the supplied power because of the lower voltage, LV lights are still more energy efficient than higher voltage ones such as 230V lights or their equivalent.

That is because 12V bulbs have a thicker filament, making them longer-lasting. The 12V downlights also use halogen gas, which supplies a whiter and brighter light. In addition, the lights display a higher amount of clarity than what is emitted from the traditional mains voltage incandescent light bulb.

The mains voltage type of downlights is connected directly to the mains in a home without the necessity of a transformer. Usually these lights, which are represented by such lighting as 230V downlights, are less expensive and easier to install.

Fire-rated Lights

Electricians generally recommend that customers use downlights of reduced voltages in bathrooms and kitchens and higher voltage downlights in other areas. Fortunately, when it comes to fire or acoustic ratings, lights are made of intumescent materials which supply as much as 90 minutes protection against any spread of fire into a loft space or ceiling. Therefore, fire-rated downlights are typically more expensive than downlights that are not fire-rated. However, it is important to play it safe, which makes it important that you choose lights that are fire-rated too.