Recessed/Can Lighting Sizes

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Gary TP, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Gary TP

    Gary TP Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm trying to plan for a 20 1/2 X 16 room for can lighting...
    The ceilings are 9 ft tall...

    Now from what i've read...a recessed can will put out a diameter of light close to the height of the ceiling...

    The question is, what's the difference between the different sizes of cans?
    There are 6" down to 3" out there and I'm trying to decide which ones to you for my front projection theater...

    This is an old 'plan' of mine:
    Lighting Layout
     
  2. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've got to admit, I've never heard of the diameter of light /ceiling height correlation, but I'm sure there's a rule-of-thumb for number/type of cans per sq. ft.

    As far as the difference between the various sizes, my guess is that the larger the flood fixture, the larger the general light coverage--- and less localized lighting you'll get. Of course, wattage plays a major factor in how this is perceived in the room, in addition to the type of fixture, trim, and bulb combo-- eyeball, flood, spot, etc. In addition, different fixtures will recess the bulb at different distances, so this will effect the overall lighting design.

    I'd suggest that you take a look at some custom HTs or lighting showrooms, so that you can get an idea of how these look. Unfortunately, as you've probably already discovered, the lighting demonstration areas in Home Depot/Lowes are not good for determining how the lights will look in your finished HT.

    BTW, I totally winged it, when I decided on my lighting plan. Being cheap, I opted for 6 x 6" cans and basic floods for a 13' wide x 24' long attic with sloping walls. This was the cheapest combination that would fit my needs. I particularly wanted eyeballs, so I could divert the light down the sloped walls. Three floods point down the left sloped wall, and the other three down the right. I believe they are 60W bulbs. For my personal taste, full brightness is just right for people to gather and take their seats. It is good enough for comfortable reading and is good for a warm ambiance. I sometimes dim them down about 25% (75% full) for a more cozy feel. One note-- IMHO, smaller fixtures look a little classier. If I had it to do over again, I probably would go with 4" cans. I have a 4' wide strip of a ceiling (because of the sloped walls) at 8-1/2' high, so the 6" eyeballs can sort of overpower the look of the ceiling. (Take the virtual tour at my website, if you want to see what they look like.)

    By the looks of your floorplan, I'd think you'd be able to get by with just 6 x 6" fixtures. Eight 4" fixtures would probably be just fine.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,100
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne
    I researched and considered recessed lighting extensively a few ago when I wanted to put them in various rooms in my home. I went with the large R-40 because the bulbs were cheaper, covered more area, and offered the most variety in wattages. In addition, the cans were cheaper than the smaller ones – at least half the price of the cans and trim rings for the R-20’s.

    Your diagram looks great for regular room lighting – which is all I’ve done in my place. I haven’t done a home theater room, which presumably would not have the same amount of activity as a “regular” room and therefore probably doesn’t need as much lighting. So the 8 cans might be overkill there. I’d suggest, if you go with all eight, maybe designating them as zones on separate switches. I think I’d put the lights above the gear on one switch, the four center ones on another, and the rears on the other. The rear lights especially would give the ability to move about the room, and leave the seating area and display mostly dark.

    My only other suggestion would be put an additional 2 feet between the cans – i.e., move them all one foot out towards the left and right walls. Remember, the beaming light from them will overlap in the center of the room, so moving them further apart will insure more light at the room’s fringes.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Darren{Moo}

    Darren{Moo} Extra

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    1
    Your theater room happens to be almost the same dimensions as my own. I also have the vaulted ceilings on each side. I went with a lighting scheme similar to that laid out on your plan. I have two rows of four recessed cans down the long axis of the room, additionally I installed four wall sconces (two on each wall evenly spaced)on a separate switch. I used 4" Halo Low Voltage Recessed cans with an MR16 bulb for the cans and regular 100 watt incandescents for the sconces. This is all the light that is available in the room as it is a dedicated HT with no windows or other natural light sources. I find that I get plenty of light for any circumstance that I have encountered. In fact, I rarely, if ever set the dimmers to maximum. I tend to set the levels so that I get a diffuse wall washing pattern of light from the sconces with a twin spotlight pattern from the cans going down the center.
    As residential electical contractor by trade, my opinion would be that Eight 6" Incandescent cans in a room your size would be plenty (maybe too much depending on your tastes)for general lighting. If you chose to go with the 4" mini-cans or low voltage cans I would suggest that you spend some time at a local lighting shop as those types of cans throw a diffent type and pattern of light. I would characterize it a whiter and more localizable. Some people love them, and some not so much so. Another considerations is that as the cans get smaller, they generally get more expensive. Especially for the low voltage ones. Any good full line lighting shop should have a room setup with a selection of cans and completely controllable natural light for you to make an a to b comparison.
     
  5. Gary TP

    Gary TP Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well now I'm thinking I'll just get one of the 6 6" can kits and use that in this room...

    Its a dedicated HT room, so the only time I'll need some serious lighting is more for cleaning and anything non-projector related which isn't much.

    The only problem is- with the vaults in the ceiling coming out as far as 4 1/2 feet (The flat part of the ceiling is 8' wide in the 16' wide room) I really can't move the cans out any farther towards the fringes on the room and I'm afraid the walls will be too dark. Perhaps I should go with the 6 6' solution and then add like 4 eyeball type spots to shine down towards the walls?

    Thanks for the help so far guys!
     

Share This Page