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23 of the best Ideas for Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a popular choice in modern homes for many good reasons. It works well in spaces with lower ceilings, and gives a clean look across the ceiling plane. Recessed lighting can be used in conjunction with other fixture types to provide general overhead lighting around the space.

Supporting Role

This modern design by Becc Burgmann of Becc Burgmann Interior Design incorporates lots of wood and glass. The double-height living space benefits from ample natural light, but modern wall sconces and recessed lights are there to handle other lighting needs. The architecture is the main focus and the lighting plays a supporting role.

Bathroom Lighting Idea

Recessed lights are a great choice in a bathroom where you need a lot of control over the lighting. For example, when you take a bath you want ambience, and the bathroom chandelier delivers that. But when you are getting ready, you need more light. That’s where the wall sconces and recessed lights come in.

Additional Bathroom Ceiling Lighting Ideas!


Designer Mindy Laven created a kitchen fit for a chef with sparkling stainless steel appliances. Brass wall sconces and pendants coordinate with the cabinet hardware, while square-profile recessed lights provide task lighting. Open shelving rounds out the functional-yet-beautiful space.

Support a Chandelier

This retail setting combines a dramatic chandelier with recessed lights in the entryway. The modern chandelier makes a statement and is eye-catching, but the recessed lights provide the bulk of the interior light needed within the space. You can apply this concept to most rooms throughout your home.

Blurring Indoors and Outdoors

Recessed lights aren’t just for the indoors! They also work well lighting outdoor patios or beneath overhangs. Here they help to blur the indoors and outdoors by providing a sense of continuity in lighting. Be sure you use recessed fixtures that are rated for outdoor use.

Explore Patio Lighting Ideas!

Focus on Entertaining

Patricia Davis Brown Designs created double islands in this bright and cheery kitchen. One is for food prep and the other is for entertaining. Recessed lighting and wall sconces round out the straightforward lighting scheme. The focus instead is on the eclectic art and the guest experience.

Creative Display

Green accents—in the form of plants and chairs—give a lush natural feel to this living room by Bark and Chase. Artwork is displayed on an open shelf, which is a great alternative to a gallery wall. A brass floor lamp and recessed fixtures comprise the lighting scheme.

Get inspired with Living Room Recessed Lighting Ideas!

Simple Yet Sophisticated

This bright white kitchen by Kelly Designs features warm wood flooring and vertical tile backslash in contrasting blue and orange tones. Stainless steel appliances and simple island cone pendants add a touch of luxury. Recessed lights round out the simple yet sophisticated design.

Use Your Soffit

Soffits can be functional, concealing duct work as well as lighting. Take advantage of your kitchen soffit to install recessed lighting along the perimeter. It helps to illuminate the work surface of your counters while keeping a clean ceiling plane.

Learn How Many Pendant Lights Over a 7 Foot Island.

Cool Colors

Nadia Watts of Nadia Watts Interior Design created an oversize island that has plenty of space for cooking while seating five guests. Three matching pendants hang above, and recessed lighting rounds out the lighting scheme for this cheerful kitchen. Cool-colored cabinets appear to recess, making the space feel larger.

Don't Steal the Show

Spectrum Design Group created a kitchen with double islands in contrasting materials. One features three glass pendants that nearly disappear, while the other is lit by recessed lights. This kitchen is cooking-class worthy and the the lighting doesn’t try to steal the show.

Enhancing an Expansive Space

Patricia Davis of Patricia Davis Brown Designs created a mostly white open kitchen and living area. Exposed wood beams add warmth to the expansive space. Slim-profile pendants hang above the island, while recessed lights are integrated into the soffits to provide focused task lighting.

More Exposed Wood Beam Kitchen Lighting Ideas!

Sophisticated Yet Warm

Bark and Chase mixed wood and gray tones to create a sophisticated yet warm living area. Multiple sets of floor and table lamps lend a cozy vibe. Overhead recessed fixtures round out the lighting scheme, though not much is needed during the day due to ample natural light.

Discover more Floor Lamp Ideas!

At the Ready

Kelly Designs opted for white and bright in this open living area. The focus is on the outdoors through the ample windows. As such, not much additional light is needed in the space. But when it is, recessed fixtures are at the ready.

Cooking Show

Designer Patricia Davis Brown created a kitchen ready for entertaining. Lit by ample recessed lights, the kitchen island is ready for the host to put on a show. Guests can sit at the bar and watch as their meal is prepared before their eyes.

Learn more about 4 Inch vs 6 Inch Recessed Lighting!

Coastal Vibes

This design by Kelly Taylor of Kelly Taylor Interior Designs Kees the focus on the water view and the cozy fireplace. The coastal vibe comprises light materials and blue and gray accents. Square-profile recessed lights seemingly disappear so as not to distract.

Put On a Show

For many of us, having a grand piano in our living area has long been a dream. Bark and Chase brought it to life in this classy living area. Sumptuous materials, such as a marble coffee table and brass accents, continue the theme. Overhead recessed lights act like spotlights for the next performance.

Oversize island

Recessed lights seemingly disappear in this kitchen by Spectrum Design Group. The focus instead is on the oversize blue island that provides plenty of seating for family meals. Blue accents round out the crisp white space.

Explore Kitchen Recessed Lighting Ideas!

Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray Design Studio created an open living room and game area. Recessed lights and a ceiling fan are all that’s needed, especially given the lower ceiling height. A blue-gray feature wall behind the TV lends depth, making the space feel larger.

More Low Ceiling Living Room Lighting Ideas Options!

Simple Approach

Spectrum Design Group opted for recessed lighting as well as an over-the-sink light in this open kitchen. The material palette is simple and straight forward. A reveal above the cabinets makes the ceiling appear to float and gives the illusion of height.

Get inspired with Over the Sink Kitchen Light Ideas!


Recessed lights are very functional within a kitchen and layer well with other lighting types. Here the lights provide general illumination, while under cabinet light delivers focused task lighting on the counters. Two pendants above the island add design flair to the space.

Cool Tones

This kitchen with open dining area successfully combines recessed lights with coordinated island pendants and dining chandelier. The result is a consistently illuminated and well-thought out space. The light temperature is on the cool, bright side to work well with the gray color scheme.

Everything In Its Place

Kelly Designs created a welcoming and functional living area with a fireplace and integrated millwork as the focal point. Artfully styled shelves and a tucked away TV feel intentional, yet everything has its place. Overhead recessed ceiling lights provide general illumination.

We hope these ideas for incorporating recessed lighting into your home help you determine the best lighting scheme. Consult an electrician for advice on evenly spacing the fixtures, and be sure to consider them in the context of how you use the space and what other fixtures you plan to incorporate.


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