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While a single downlight can be used to create a focal point within a room, several or more downlights are needed to provide enough illumination to light an entire room. The question is, how many are needed? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question as different rooms have different requirements depending on their size and use.
For example, a room such as the kitchen, where food preparation takes place, may need more light than a sitting room, which has a more relaxed atmosphere. On top of this, you need to cater for personal preference. For ambient lighting, LED Downlights should be spaced uniformly and arranged in a grid-like pattern following the overall shape of the room.
The aim here is to create an even distribution of light and reduce the presence of shadows. Before you can do anything, you will have to ascertain where the joists in your ceiling are. Once this has been determined, you can begin marking out the position of your fittings.
Starting from the wall, measure a distance of 80 cm. This margin should be maintained in order to prevent too much light from hitting your walls and creating an unwanted "washing" effect. This distance may have to be increased depending on the furniture in your room.
The wall hanging cupboards in a kitchen for example can block the light and create excessive shadowing. The distance between each downlight depends on the size of the fittings. For instance, fittings with a 4 inch diameter should be spaced about 4 feet apart in every direction; fittings with a 5 inch diameter should be spaced 5 feet apart, and so on.
Reducing the space between your fittings will increase the amount of light in the room, while increasing the distance will soften the effect. The addition of extra fittings will usually offset the reduced luminosity of smaller LED Downlights. Alternatively, you can install a dimmer switch.
This will allow you to vary the brightness of your downlights as the need requires. Remember, if you are planning to use dimmable LED, you will need to upgrade to a Low Load Trailing Edge Dimmer Switch. As well as general ambience, LED Downlights can also be used to draw focus to particular areas of a room.
This is best achieved by using gimbal or eye-ball downlights which can be pivoted. Determine what areas of your room you would like to draw attention to and arrange your fittings accordingly. For example, if you have a lot of wall art, you may want to move your downlights slightly closer to the wall on which they are being exhibited , or group fittings together over a workspace to create stronger illumination in that area.