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Ideas & Advice > 4 Inch vs 6 Inch Recessed Lighting

4 Inch vs 6 Inch Recessed Lighting - Which to Choose?

Recessed lighting is a common lighting solution for living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and other essential rooms. When searching for the best recessed lighting for your home, you will likely find arguments for both 4 inch and 6 inch recessed lights. Both sizes have their own benefits, which we have described in depth to help you make the best decision for your room’s lighting plan.

How to Choose Between 4-Inch and 6-Inch Recessed Lighting

Both 4 inch and 6 inch recessed lighting are beneficial for illuminating key rooms like living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. However, each size has its own pros and cons depending on your goals for the light. The lighting size impacts if it is better for task lighting or general lighting.

Since 4 inch lights have a smaller area of light, the beams are more directed to create task lighting. 6” lighting covers a wider area because of its higher light output/illuminated surface area. Aside from these practical aspects, a 4” or a 6” light may be better suited for your room because of how it works with the ceiling height, placement, layout, and overall room size. With that in mind, it’s best to be informed of both types of lighting and what situations they work best in.

4-Inch Recessed Lighting

4” recessed lighting offers more direct light for task lighting, but these are not the only benefits. The lights can create optimal focus for tasks, highlight special spots, and brighten corners. If your goal is to highlight nearby artwork, architecture, a specific area, a light with a gimbal trim will allow you to control the direction of the light. In terms of spacing, a standard rule is to divide the height of the ceiling in two. That result is a good amount of space to leave between each recessed light. So, if you have an 8 foot tall ceiling, you should have 4 feet between each light.

These fixtures work well in rooms with low ceilings and small footprints because they give the appearance of the ceiling being further away than it actually is and thus makes the room feel bigger. Their smaller size allows them to blend into the room more and not detract from any other lighting fixtures you have nearby. Price is also a factor to consider, since these lights are more affordable thanks to their smaller size and lower use of energy.

6-Inch Recessed Lighting

6” recessed lights are typically used in larger rooms with taller ceilings. Unlike 4” lights, these fixtures provide light over a larger area to create general light over more of the room. Because they’re larger, they are an obvious part of the room’s lighting scheme. That can be both advantageous and detrimental depending on your perspective. Fortunately, these lights have many options with different materials, colors, and designs for the light’s trim. That enables these lights to become a stylistic statement along with an important source of light.

The cost of 6” lights may be higher for the light itself and for electricity, but if this means properly illuminating your room and not relying on other lamps and fixtures, then it is well worth it. Since the lights are larger, this also means you need less of them throughout the room in comparison to 4” recessed lights.

The Differences Between 4-inch and 6-inch Recessed Lights

Size is the primary difference between 4 inch and 6 inch recessed lighting, since the size specifically impacts the light distribution and direction. Although both lights have advanced lighting technology, 6” lights have a higher lumen output than 4” lights because of their size. 4” light lights typically range from 500 to 900 lumens, but 6” recessed lights range from 800 to 1400 lumens.

This facet and the wider beam of 6” lights makes them better for general lighting, while 4” recessed lights are better for task lighting thanks to their narrowed focus. Your ideal light size depends on the lighting direction, area of dispersal, and number of lumens along with the size of the room itself. In smaller rooms, 4” lights are better to make the room feel larger. Medium and large rooms often benefit from 6” lights because they create light over a wider area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use two different sized recessed lights in the same room?

Yes, you can use two different sized recessed lights in the same room. The most important facet of including a 4” or 6” light is to intentionally place them where their specific type of lighting is needed and balance the placement of the lights.

Are 4 inch recessed lights considered more modern than 6 inch?

4 inch recessed lights are typically considered more modern than 6 inch lights because they are more compact and slide into the background more easily. However, 6 inch recessed lights have many different trim options that can help you create your ideal style and provide enough light to your room.

How Much Area Does a 6-Inch Recessed Light Cover?

6 inch recessed lights typically cover about 6 feet of space. Depending on the size of your room, you may space your lights according to the formula recommended above (the ceiling height divided by 2 is the distance between the lights). In larger rooms, you can also follow the rule of keeping 6” lights 6 feet apart from one another and keeping 4” lights 4 feet from one another.

Are Recessed Lights Still in Style?

Recessed lights are popular because they are so unobtrusive in their placement and straightforward in their designs. Because of that, these lights are in style and will remain that way for a long time.

Are 4" or 6" Recessed Lights Better for a Sloped ceiling?

4” recessed lights are recommended for sloped ceilings. In these situations, the light is able to provide better task lighting and better general lighting for the room. Not only that, but a 4” light is smaller and casts less light over the sloped ceiling, which hides the presence of the light better than a 6” light would.

Adding recessed lighting to your home is a great way to provide essential lighting without overwhelming the room with table lamps, floor lamps, and other fixtures. Both 4 inch recessed lights and 6 inch recessed lights have their own set of benefits, which is why both are used so commonly. Choose the size and placement best suited for your room to create your ideal style and ambiance.


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