Recessed Downlight Trim Options

Recessed Downlight Trim Options

Recessed downlights provide ambient light, illuminating an entire room. They can also be used for accent lighting to highlight artwork or other decorative features.

Installing recessed light fixtures is quick and easy. Slip the luminaire’s box into the cut-out hole and secure it to the ceiling with retention clips.


There are two main components of a recessed downlight, the trim and the housing. The trim is the most visible portion and can come in a variety of Recessed Downlight colors and styles. The housing is what’s recessed into the ceiling/wall/ground and houses the light source and other electrical parts. The size of the housing determines what type of bulbs you can use (and if they will fit at all).

What size you need depends on whether your home is new construction or a remodel project. The housing needs to be small enough that it can fit safely in the space between your finished ceiling and the top of your ceiling joists, called a plenum.

The recessed housings we offer are 4 inches in diameter and a good fit for new construction and most remodel applications. They are IC rated for installation in ceilings that have insulation and can also be used in wet locations.

The housings themselves are also available in a wide range of depths, which affect the amount of light they emit. A deeper recessed downlight produces less light than a shallower one. It is important to select a housing that correlates with the style of trim you intend to use. For example, a baffle trim will reduce glare and provide a softer glow than a smooth trim.


The trim of a recessed light covers the fixture opening, defining the fixture’s look and enhancing its performance. Choose from a wide variety of styles, including baffle trims that have ridges to reduce glare and are good for living rooms, entryways and foyers; reflector trims that amplify the light beam and are recommended for kitchens; and gimbal trims that pivot and rotate to direct downlight where it’s needed most.

Once you’ve found the right size recessed light housing and lamp, it’s time to add the trim that fits over the top of the can body. Use a template provided with the kit to mark the intended locations on your ceiling, then use a stud finder to locate and mark each hole for cutting. Before you cut, use a voltage tester to make sure there’s no electricity running through the wires you’ll be working with.

Once you’ve drilled the holes, remove the insulation from the cable using a wire ripper and strip about 4 inches of sheathing. Connect like-colored wires with UL-approved wire connectors (black to black, white to white and ground to ground). Push the recessed light’s junction box into its ceiling hole and secure it to the drywall with clips.


Downlights, also known as recessed lights, sit flush with the ceiling and point in a downward direction. They are versatile and work well in most spaces. They can be used for both new construction and remodel applications since they don’t require a ceiling box. Downlights are available with various trim designs that help them perform a wide range of lighting functions. The type of bulb selected will have a significant impact on the light output. The shape of the bulb will also affect how a fixture looks.

Most recessed downlights come in standard diameter sizes ranging from 3 inches through 7 inches. Choosing the right size will depend on how much space you need to illuminate and the height of your ceiling. For example, a 4 inch fixture is perfect for kitchen countertop lighting in an 8-foot ceiling and will provide a nice wash of light over the area. While a 6 inch fixture is great for general area lighting in a 10-foot ceiling.

You will also need to consider the amount of ambient light you want to provide. For areas that are mostly used for seating or conversation you might want to install a Recessed Downlight larger 6 inch fixture with more lumens to ensure that everyone can see clearly. There are also options for specialty bulbs such as lensed trim that protects the lamp while providing a diffused appearance and gimbal trim which allows for aiming the light.


Recessed downlights are a staple of residential and commercial lighting. They provide general illumination that bathes a room with a soft glow, accent an artwork or other focal point, and can even be used as task lighting for kitchen work spaces. With multiple trim options to choose from, recessed lighting can be used to create a variety of visual effects and fit any budget.

While recessed lights are most commonly installed in homes and offices, they can be incorporated into any space to add beauty and function. They are a great choice for new construction projects because they install flush against the ceiling, avoiding the appearance of an unsightly fixture hanging down from the roof. They can also be easily retrofitted to existing rooms in a home or business, providing a modern and clean look to any space.

In the home, 4-inch and 6-inch recessed downlights can be arranged in a grid pattern for general lighting in family rooms or basements. These fixtures typically have baffle trim that can shape the light output to reduce glare, making them a good option for family gathering areas. They can also be incorporated into a kitchen layout to highlight the food prep area and provide enough output for task lighting.

Depending on the application, some recessed fixtures may be IC rated or AT (airtight). IC rated fixtures have a barrier to stop unconditioned air from leaking into the insulated ceiling cavity above. Typically, this is done to lower heating and cooling costs. ATS rated downlights, however, do not need to have this barrier and can reduce the cost of the installation by using less insulation.

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