How Many Downlights Per Room?

downlights per room

Downlights are light fixtures that provide illumination downwards. Downlights provide ambient and task lighting for living and working spaces, as well as accent lighting, to highlight items such as stairways or artwork. Downlights are used extensively in commercial and public applications. In upper-level residential construction, they provide a convenient way to bring natural light into an interior space without having to use up valuable floor area.

To determine the number of downlights needed for a particular room or area, you may first decide on your lighting goals. Each downlight provides illumination over approximately a 5 foot by 5 foot (1.5m x 1.5m) area. To ensure even coverage throughout the entire room, the amount of downlighting could be proportional to its size, that is, more lighting is required for larger rooms. To determine exactly how many downlights may be needed, measure the length x width of the space and divide it by five, to determine the number of five-foot increments required ( or 1.5 for metres ).

How Many Led Downlights Per Room?

Some type of lighting is usually needed in every room. You cannot do without having a lamp or overhead light.

Normally, there are two types of lights that can be used in your home, Natural and Artificial.

Natural Light

The former may give you the feel of nature while the latter may make a particular space look bright and pretty.

Artificial Light

Artificial lights comprise halogen lamps, incandescent bulbs, CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), LED downlights and other related sources of energy-efficient lighting.

For our discussion today, we shall only focus on LED downlights as they have already been gaining huge popularity among homeowners who want to add some warmth to their homes during the winter months without having to sacrifice the costs involved.

LED Downlights

LED downlights are currently among the best selling energy-efficient lights in the market and most homeowners can’t seem to get enough of them. So, what is it that they like so much about these LED bulbs?

The Benefits of Using LED Downlights

Basically, using LED for downlights provide a lot of benefits to consumers and one of which is their ability to save you money.

Energy Efficiency

To begin with, LED lamps consume less energy compared to other types such as CFLs or Halogen Lamps. This simply means that using LEDs may help you reduce monthly electricity costs significantly


Secondly, LED downlight saves natural resources since they do not contain any harmful materials such as mercury found in CFLs. They also do not emit ultraviolet rays which makes them perfect for home interiors where kids often play.


Third, LED light bulbs are much stronger and last longer. They do not have a filament that burns off over time unlike incandescent bulbs or CFLs. Because of this, you can use them for a long without worrying about frequent bulb replacements.

Great Lighting

Finally, LED lights offer great lighting because they are energy-efficient and make use of 90% less electricity compared to other types of lamps (incandescent). If you consider the space required by these downlight bulbs, you may discover that fewer watts mean lesser space requirements during installation too.

A Handy Guide for a Typical House

To give an example let us say your living room measures 14 square metres. Since you need adequate lighting, you probably want to install around 15 downlights. You can achieve this by dividing your living room’s width and length by 5. This may give 7 spaces in the lengthwise direction and 8 spaces in the sideways direction. So that is approximately 14 led downlights for a 14 square metre living room or 1 LED per sq metres.

LEDs are fitted with rectangular lenses, which project light outwards in all directions at 360 degrees, inferring light spread over 1.5m x 1.5m area rather than just downward as suggested above. Area calculations would therefore need to be increased accordingly to factor through-the-wall/ceiling illumination which helps open up space and add the illusion of increased size.

In rooms where ceiling height is lower, you can use a 13W downlight with no loss in lumen value (brightness) and get the same amount of total light at the same time. Downlights need to be diffused and not clear otherwise your room may look like an operating theatre from the direct light that is shining.

This can be achieved by using a simple ‘shade’ which is either made-to-measure or fixed using sticky pads. A shade also helps prevent dust build up inside the downlight. Please remember that LED lighting is directional and creates shadows so you need to balance your choice of number, wattage and placement of lights against your chosen furnishings and décor. Too many lights have the opposite effect of not having enough lights so you need to be careful when choosing your lighting scheme.

downlights per room
How Many Downlights per Room?

How Many Downlights do I Need?

Generally speaking, how many lights you need is up to you. A good rule of thumb is to think about the number of light bulbs you had before and then use that as your guide. You can also use these measurements to help you determine how many downlights you may need.

  • Living areas and living room lighting, 7m x 5m, 15 downlights (around 1 LED per sq m.)
  • Bedroom, 4m x 4m or 12 square metres, 8 downlights
  • Hallway, 3m x 3m or 9 square metres, 5 downlights
  • Kitchen, 5m x 2.5m, 10 downlights
  • Patio/verandah, 4.8 m x 4 m or 19 square metres, 6 downlight
  • Study room, 2.4 m x 2.4m or 6 square metres, three lights could suffice.

These are rough guidelines only and the actual number of downlights required may depend on various factors such as size, age, beam angle, number of windows etc.

LEDs use up to 80% less energy than traditional light bulbs making them great for energy saving solutions which is why they are highly recommended by Greenpeace. Plus their ability to emit bright white light in an efficient manner makes them perfect for home interiors. This is because LED technology does not produce heat like other types of lighting technologies hence you can be sure that your house doesn’t look like a greenhouse when viewed through your camera lens at night.

How Many Downlights in a Bedroom?

In a bedroom, you could have two main ceiling lights and possibly one additional small light as well. In the absence of a wardrobe or other large piece of furniture in your bedroom, you can use wall-mounted LED lamps as supplementary downlight fixtures or some table lamps. However, make sure that the bulbs are not too bright because this could affect your eyes especially when you wake up at night to go to the bathroom.

You could ensure that all your downlights reach a point where they may evenly light up your entire room to provide adequate lighting for getting dressed or applying makeup etc. However, if you feel that there is still insufficient lighting after installing all these lights, then you might need more downlights.

For example, if your bedroom measures about 10square metres, you could install at least 5 downlights to provide sufficient light when reading or applying makeup. You can also use LED lamps attached to the wall as supplementary lighting in your bedroom.

How Many LED Downlight Fittings are Required in a Living Room?

As a general rule of thumb for this given room, you may need at least five main ceiling light fixtures and possibly one additional small light too. This is because people tend to spend more time in living rooms than in other rooms in their house. Apart from watching television in it, they also invite guests over for dinner or catch up with friends through an evening tea-coffee session.

The proper illumination of this room ensures that everyone has enough light while moving around the space freely and properly engage with each other during conversation.

The number of downlights required for a living room may depend on its size, the furniture layout and the positioning of windows. Typically, you could have one downlight per 3sq metres as this is enough to provide adequate lighting in all parts of your home. If you feel that there is still inadequate light after installing these lights, then consider adding more downlights or using LED lamps attached to the wall as supplementary lighting.

How Many Downlights do I Need in My Kitchen?

In your kitchen, it’s important to install enough lights on your ceiling so that everyone has sufficient light when they are working inside it. At least four fitted ceiling lights may be ideal for properly illuminating this space while cooking dinner or washing dishes etc. You can also use LED lamps or pendant lights attached to the wall as supplementary lighting in your kitchen.

Typically, you may need to install one downlight per 3sq metres of floor space for this room. The number of downlights required in a kitchen may depend on its size and the furniture layout inside it. If you feel that there is still inadequate light after installing these lights, then consider adding more downlights or using LED lamps attached to the wall as supplementary lighting.

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