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The Ultimate Guide to Downlights: Cost, Position, Installation & More

Let's Talk About Downlights

The key to any modern house is downlights. But before getting them installed, there are a couple of important things to consider. This article will guide you through everything you need to know, including the cost, positioning, installation process and more.  

What are downlights?

Downlights are the ultimate home upgrade product. Downlights offer sufficient light within a room and are often placed throughout the home in groups. This style of light is perfect for ambient lighting as well as task lighting if positioned directly above a workspace.

Types of Downlights

Most downlights will look the same at first glance. They are often round and often sit flush upon your roof. The main difference between the different types of downlights stems from the type of bulb used. As we move into a more energy-conscious climate, LED bulbs are a popular choice to pair with your new downlights. Furthermore, it is important to consider the colour you want your lighting to exude. Cool lighting is often more white in nature, while warm lighting will offer an amber tinge.

Recessed Downlights vs. Flush Downlights

What downlights do I need? A fair question. Your choice of downlight ultimately comes down to personal preference. Here at The Blue Space, we offer a range of downlights - including both recessed or flat trim options. The look of your downlight is dependent on your style & needs. A recessed trim will help reduce glare and create a comfortable light environment. If you opt for a flush trim, you will achieve a wider beam angle and dispersion of light. We recommend flat trims in areas that require a stronger beam of light such as in the laundry or bathroom. Now you might be asking, are downlights still fashionable? Of course! Lucky for you, downlight trims are now very customisable to suit your entire home. We love the Eglo Roystar downlight as you can mix and match your trims to match your tapware, fittings & fixtures. Choose from a simple white, satin nickel, aluminium, black or brushed brass for that luxe look.

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Smart & Dimmable Downlights

Smart downlights are becoming a popular household fixture in the modern home. Unfortunately, not all downlights are smart, nor are they all dimmable! This is an important consideration to take into account as this will impact the functionality of the lights within your home. Dimmable downlights are controlled by a dimmer switch which can either be controlled at the wall light switch or via a smartphone app if connected correctly. If you are looking for downlights that offer that extra touch of luxury and excitement, opt for the range of smart downlights by Brilliant. These lights can be controlled via a smartphone app and allow you to change the colours of your downlights - either one by one or in unison - to create the ultimate ambience in your home - perfect for a media room or bedroom.

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Downlight Layout Consideration

Before ordering your new selection of downlights, it is important to know where you will be placing them throughout your home. Continue reading to better understand the importance of spacing throughout your home, and where we recommend placing your new downlights.

How Many Downlights Do I Need?

Starting simple, let’s figure out how many downlights you will need. Generally, it is recommended to have 1 downlight per 1.4m2 of coverage to ensure your room is adequately lit. This general rule of thumb should ensure that your room is properly lit, and will take into account any natural lighting from windows & doors. We also recommend keeping this rule in place even when pairing with pendant lighting, as this style of light is usually best for task lighting.

How Far Apart Should Downlights Be?

Now that you have figured out the number of lights needed for your space, it's time to work out where they should be positioned. This is ultimately determined by the downlight’s beam angle, as this will determine how far apart they are spaced. For general ambience, a room with standard ceiling heights (2.4-2.7m) should use downlights with a beam angle of at least 60 degrees or more, and ceilings higher than the standard should use downlights with less than a 50-degree angle.

In general, we would recommend placing your downlights at least 1m away from your walls to ensure no retrofitted shelving or furniture will interfere with the light source and create shadows. Downlights should be placed evenly throughout your room, with an interval of 1-1.5m apart. The goal of this is to allow an overlap of beams - ensuring full coverage. This calculation can be adjusted for personal preference, such as when trying to create drama within a living room or including any accent or statement lights.

Downlights & Electricity Use

If you are concerned with electricity use throughout your home, downlights are a perfect solution - if they are LED bulbs. LED bulbs are a fantastic option, as they are extremely energy efficient & work similar to that of other bulb types. Comparing to halogen bulbs, LED lights will use a lot less energy while still proving ample lighting throughout your home. LED lights are our preference of light.

What Colour Temperature Do I Choose?

The choice of colour temperature for your new downlights ultimately comes down to personal preference. For example, if you are sometimes bothered by harsh lights aree glare, it is is recommended you opt for a warm or amber light. This will offer a softer, more orange tone which is often comfortable on the eye. If task lighting is important to you, we recommend cool or natural light colour options, as this will offer the most accurate light depiction. If you are wanting something a bit more customisable, we recommend smart downlights as you can move between cool, warm and natural light depending on your preference.

Cost of Downlights

Downlights are quite an affordable upgrade to your home that can truely make all the difference. However, it will depend on the style of downlight you choose, the trim, and bulb pairing. And yes, unfortunately, you will need a Licensed Electrician to install, remove or change your new downlights. While there might be guides our there on how to install downlights and how to remove downlights, we would highly advise against this for a few reasons. Number 1, installing anything electrical comes with a few risks in terms of safety. Number 2, in most cases, self-installation will lead to voiding your warranty. While there may be a cost involved with hiring a professional, this is one case we would not try to avoid.

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