Recessed Downlights - do you really need them?

Downlights (sometimes called spotlights) are ubiquitous in new builds and extensions. Seen as a more upmarket form of lighting than just a pendant in the room, it’s a common sight to spot neat little rows of them everywhere. But is this right? Is this the best way of lighting a space? The answer is no, and there are a multitude of pitfalls to the use of spotlights in properties. Many of the cheaper fittings have poor colour quality and produce lots of glare. Here are the top tips of when, and how, to use downlights.

It is about the light, not the light fitting

Good lighting is all about putting light in the right places, highlighting features and providing good task lighting. Think about where you need light. Downlights are very good at producing a beam of light, so if you want to highlight a piece of artwork, or a centrepiece on a table, then a downlight is an excellent choice. Make sure every downlight has a purpose.

Ignore Symmetry

Rarely is the architecture and interior of a room symmetrical, so neither should the lighting layout. Ignore neat rows, and put the lighting where it is needed. Unsymmetrical layouts will not be noticed, but having to do the washing up in the dark will be.

Make sure the downlight has anti-glare features

Most downlights have the light source at the front and it produces a lot of glare. Once there are a few in the room it will be uncomfortable and can cause headaches. Make sure the downlight has a baffle (which recesses the light source back) so that it is not visible. This will still produce a beam of light but will feel much softer.