Recessed Lighting: Pros and Cons [The Complete Guide]

recessed lighting in living room

It's not surprising that according to experts, lighting is one of the seven top elements to bring an appealing interior design look to your home.  

Carefully added lighting combines both style and functionality, providing a sense of warmth and atmosphere to what can otherwise be a dull room of your house. 

But what about recessed lighting?

Join our lighting experts here at cavelightstore as we discover the pros and cons of adding recessed lighting to your interior.

Before we head into detail, let’s take a look at the mini-takeaway first, so you can quickly make a decision on whether recessed lighting is right for you.

Recessed lighting can save money on energy bills, they’re versatile, and they’re great for low ceilings. They can also add up to 3% to your home value. However, they can be initially expensive, they sometimes lack the charm of other lighting, and they will usually require an electrician to install.

Pros of recessed lighting

Let’s begin by delving straight into some of the main advantages of a stylish recessed light show in your home.

Recessed lighting can save you money

One of the biggest pros of recessed lighting is that it can save you money on your energy bill.

Lighting usually makes up around 10% of the average home’s energy bill, but recessed lighting (especially recessed LED lights) use less energy than traditional light bulbs.

This means that you could potentially save money by switching to recessed lighting.

As well as this, because recessed lights are more focused and directed than other types of lighting, they use less energy overall as they’re not casting light all around the room and therefore do not need to be as powerful.

So the great news is you’ll see a lower electric bill each month, which can add up to significant savings over time.

As mentioned briefly before, the best type of light bulbs to use in recessed lighting to save energy are LED bulbs, which are also more durable and long-lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs.

“One of the biggest pros of recessed lighting is that it can save you money on your energy bill”

recessed lights can save on energy bills

It's great for low ceilings

Anyone considering the pros and cons of recessed lighting might be pleased to know it’s a great option for lower ceilings.

Recessed lighting is not only space-saving, as it doesn't take up precious floor space (especially important in a smaller home) but it's also a good option if you’re home isn’t lucky enough to have tall, open ceilings like you find with Victorian ceilings, for instance.

Adding recessed lights to a lower ceiling can also make the room feel brighter and more open, which is a great way to make your space feel more welcoming.

They're extremely versatile

Recessed lighting can also be very versatile. You can use them to highlight certain areas of your home, or they can be used as general ambient lighting.

This flexibility makes recessed lights a great option for many different types of rooms, and indeed many different types of homes too.

As well, recessed lights can be used in conjunction with other types of lighting to create a unique look, which can be a big statement. Recessed lighting can be easily paired with:

recessed lights pair well with our Glass Ball Wall Lights

Recessed lighting adds value to your home

When discussing the pros and cons of recessed lighting, the good news for all is that it can increase the value of your home.

A recent study by Vonn found that LED recessed lighting is especially attractive to prospective home buyers. And because of this, it’s been found to add up to 1 to 3% to the value of your home.

It may sound strange - how can simple recessed lights increase a home’s value on the market? But the lighting in a home speaks more to the qualitative side of things when potential buyers are looking around.

If they feel a nice, warm atmosphere, they’re more likely to place an offer above the list price to ensure they get the house - they may not even know it was the recessed lights helping to create that warm atmosphere in the first place!

Recessed lighting is a contemporary option

Another pro of recessed lighting is that it can create a more sleek and modern look in your home. If you’re looking for a more contemporary aesthetic, recessed lighting can work well in a range of settings.

This type of lighting is often used in minimalist design schemes but can also be combined with many other styles for a gorgeous lighting solution.

If you’re looking for a way to update the look of your home or you are planning a complete remodel, then recessed lighting could be a great option to bring a fresh clean look to your spaces.

The minimal look of recessed lighting works well with many different design styles such as:

  • Contemporary
  • Transitional
  • Minimalist
  • Industrial
  • Modern Farmhouse

As well, recessed lighting can bring its modern clean lines to a huge number of areas around your home, including:

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen (as you can see in the image below)
  • Bathroom
  • Home office
  • Children's bedroom and playrooms
  • Nursery

    recessed lighting in kitchen

    Cons of installing recessed lighting

    Ok so with a few great reasons to install the best-recessed lighting, let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind.

    The initial outlay can be more expensive than other types of lighting

    One of the main downsides of installing recessed lighting is the initial outlay.

    Although the lights themselves can be as little as £6 each, recessed lighting is generally more expensive to install than other types of lighting, such as track lighting or pendant lighting.

    This is because the work involved in installing recessed lighting is generally more complex and time-consuming than other types of lighting fixtures.

    Tip: We cover the costs of installing recessed lighting more in our article here.

    When we compare (for instance) track lighting with recessed lighting cost-wise to install, track lighting is about half the price of recessed lighting.

    This is because installing track lighting requires only a single hole to be drilled in the ceiling, while recessed lighting requires multiple holes to be cut out.

    For a medium-sized room fitted with recessed lighting in the UK, you can expect to pay on average between £500 to £1000 for installation and the cost of the lights.

    The final cost will depend on the size of the room, the number of recessed lights required, and the type of recessed light chosen.

    In general, the cheapest type of recessed lights are downlights, while the more expensive type is usually spotlights.

    You may require consultation with an electrician

    Another thing to consider when thinking about recessed lighting is that it generally requires the services of an electrician for installation. It’s not as simple as replacing a lamp shade as you would with a pendant light, for example.

    So, it is important to consult with an electrician before starting on a recessed lighting project to ensure that the work can be completed both safely and correctly.  

    Having said that, if you are skilled and/or have previous experience in electrical work, you may be able to complete a DIY recessed lighting project yourself.

    Still, one of the reasons it’s probably best to get an electrician to install your lights is that, because the work involves cutting numerous holes in your ceiling, a professional will be able to do this quickly and easily (not to mention tidily!) while having the right tools for the job.

    They can lack charm

    Lastly, recessed lighting, although a perfect choice for utility areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and even the more minimalist design lounging areas, can lack the charm of other types of lighting.

    As they are commonly installed in a structured, ordered row, they do have a very formal and linear look. They bring more of a simplistic and ordered look to ceilings and other recessed areas.

    However, if it's the charm you are looking for, then there is a wealth of ways you can layer up your recessed lighting by adding floor lamps for a warm cosy glow

    Floor lamps make a great pairing with recessed lights because they can be a fixture in a room in their own right, but when paired with the overhead lighting recessed lights provide, the atmosphere of the whole room gets elevated.

    Final thoughts

    We hope this article has helped you decide whether recessed lighting is for you.

    Before you go, don’t forget to browse our store to find a range of lighting styles to compliment and illuminate your interiors.

    And if you’re after more help and still considering whether or not to add recessed lighting to your home, check out our other helpful blog articles: 

    How to Place Recessed Lights in Your Living Room for Optimal Lighting

    How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need? A Quick Guide

    How to Change a Recessed Light Bulb: The Step-by-Step Guide