How Much Does It Cost to Install Recessed Lighting?

Average range: $800 - $2,000
Average Cost
(6 lights with a gimbal trim, installed in an existing ceiling)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install Recessed Lighting?

Average range: $800 - $2,000
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(6 lights with a gimbal trim, installed in an existing ceiling)

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Reviewed by Nieves Martinez. Written by

Recessed lighting is ambient or general lighting in kitchens, living rooms, and family rooms. The lights are installed in cans, which are set or recessed into the ceiling. The lights are linked, so turning one switch lights the entire room. Many homes use recessed lighting because it is easy, practical, and inexpensive. Recessed lights work with different interior design styles and evenly light the room more efficiently than a single fixture.

Most people install 4 to 6 recessed lights to fill the space. The national average cost for this project is between $800 and $2,000, with most people spending around $1,650 to install 6 lights with a gimbal trim in an existing ceiling. At the low end, you can install 4 lights with a baffle trim in new construction for $560. The highest costs for this project would be installing 8 lights on a slope with an eyeball trim and dimmer switch for $3,000.

Recessed Lighting Costs

Recessed lighting installation costs
National average cost$1,650
Average range$800-$2,000
Minimum cost$560
Maximum cost$3,000

Recessed Lighting Installation Cost by Project Range

4 lights with a baffle trim, installed in new construction
Average Cost
6 lights with a gimbal trim, installed in an existing ceiling
8 lights on a slope with an eyeball trim and dimmer switch, installed in an existing ceiling

Recessed Lighting Cost by Type of Housing

Not all recessed lights are the same, and the ones in your home are dictated by your ceiling’s architecture, what is above it, and whether this is new construction or a remodel. The lamp sits inside a housing or can, so recessed lights are often described by “the can.” This housing differs based on many circumstances, such as how much space there is in the ceiling, how much insulation there is, and whether the ceiling has space or not. These factors influence your installation’s cost and the type of light you can use. Some homes need multiple specifications. For example, you might need an airtight IC-Rated can for a remodel or a vaulted ceiling IC-Rated can for new construction. For this reason, there is a wide overlap in total costs per can.

Recessed Lighting Cost by Type of Housing

Recessed Lighting Cost by Type of Housing

Type of HousingAverage Costs per Can (Material Only)
New Construction$7 - $60
Airtight$12 - $60
Remodel$12 - $80
IC-Rated$12 - $80
Non-IC-Rated$14 - $90
Shallow$15 - $50
Vaulted Ceiling$30 - $120

New Construction Recessed Lighting Cost

These housings are installed when the house is built. Because the framing can be changed when choosing the lights and the insulation is not installed yet, you have more flexibility to plan your lights. For that reason, you will not find as many options in new construction cans for shallow or Non-IC-Rated because you can plan for the entire installation. This includes the lights, the frame, how much space it has, whether it is airtight or not, and where the insulation goes. You do not need as many options as in a remodel, where things are harder to change. Lights for new construction cost between $7 and $60 on average, depending on the features and size.

Airtight Recessed Light

An airtight recessed light creates a tight seal around the can and stops airflow from the floor above to the floor below. In some instances, this helps with energy efficiency. You do not necessarily want the air you heat and cool in one room to flow into another. This is particularly true if you have different zones between floors. For example, you may have one zone shut off, or you drop a can from an unfinished attic to the space below. However, if you have a wood or pellet stove, an airtight light is not desirable because you want air to flow between floors. Airtight recessed light cans range from $12 to $60 a can, depending on the size and other features.

Remodel Recessed Lighting

When installing recessed lights in an existing ceiling, you need recessed light cans specifically labeled for remodels. There are many kinds of remodeling cans. They can be shallow or designed for installation in areas that are sloped, against insulation, or where there is no insulation. For a remodel, consult an electrician before you order cans. They can advise you on the best remodel cans to fit your project. Depending on the models you choose, they typically cost between $12 and $80 a can.

IC Recessed Lighting

All recessed lights come in one of two ratings - IC-Rated or Non-IC Rated. An IC-Rated light can be installed in a ceiling where there is insulation touching it. Recessed light cans can get hot, and some insulations are prone to melting, warping, and excising VOCs when they get warm. Other types of insulation may become flammable with enough heat. Choose an IC-Rated can if you have insulation or plan to add insulation in your ceiling. Expect to pay around $12 to $80 a can on average.

Non-IC-Rated Can Lights

Not all ceilings have insulation. Some ceilings have insulation but do not fill the entire cavity. You can install a Non-IC-Rated can if you have no insulation 3 inches away from the can. These lights may impact any insulation they contact. This may cause smoke, melting insulation, high levels of VOCs released into the air, and other harmful effects. Only choose this can if you have no insulation and do not plan to add any in the future. Otherwise, an IC-Rated can is best. Non-IC-Rated cans range from $14 to $90 each on average.

Shallow Recessed Lighting

Ceilings can be framed in many depths. In some homes, particularly older homes where no space was left for insulation, there may only be 2 inches between the joists. These ceilings cannot hold standard recessed lighting cans because they are often 5 or 6-inches deep. A shallow recessed lighting can is the right size to fit into a ceiling as shallow as 2-inches deep. This is good for many older homes that were built before recessed lighting was an option. They cost between $15 and $50 a can on average.

Vaulted Ceiling Recessed Lighting

Not all ceilings are flat. Vaulted ceilings have dramatic slopes up to a final peak, and you may want to install your lights on those slopes rather than opting for a single hanging light from the center. However, a standard recessed lighting can is not designed to install on a sloped ceiling. They cannot install properly because the can needs to conform to the slope. That is why sloped cans or cans designed for vaulted ceilings exist. They are made to install at an angle and can anchor inside the ceiling at any angle so that you can enjoy recessed lighting anywhere in the room. These cans cost between $30 and $120 each, depending on the type.

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Recessed Lighting Price by Type of Trim

The trim is the portion of the light that you see. This is a rim extending outward from the light’s edge to the ceiling. It seals in the light and covers up the hole’s edge in the ceiling. Trim comes in different finishes to match your decor, although the most common is a white finish that blends with most ceilings. You can also find trim with different shapes or textures to give your lights a distinctive look:

Recessed Lighting Price by Type of Trim

Recessed Lighting Price by Type of Trim

Type of TrimAverage Cost (Material Only)
Baffle$7 - $40
Open$9 - $60
Pinhole$11 - $50
Reflector$11 - $80
Eyeball$11 - $100
Slot Aperture$12 - $50
Lensed$15 - $150
Shower$15 - $150
Gimbal$17 - $60
Surface-Adjustable$20 - $60
Wall Wash$20 - $60
Decorative$20 - $200

Baffle Trim Recessed Lighting

This trim is the most common type of light with a ribbed interior, and it casts a wide, full beam of light around the room. Baffle trims come in a full range of finishes, so you can make them blend in or stand out from the rest of your ceiling and decor. This is good for simple, recessed lights that are not positionable or changeable. The ribbed interior adds a subtle texture giving the light dimension. The plain collar creates a subtle and quiet appearance. They cost between $7 and $40 apiece.

Open Trim Recessed Lighting

While the baffle trim has a collar sitting on the ceiling’s top, the open trim sits flush. The trim’s collar extends to the ceiling rather than over it. This means that the light’s hole needs to be larger. It also means that the trim and light need to fit perfectly to avoid any gaps. This light’s benefit is that there is no chance of a shadow cast on the ceiling outside the collar. Expect to pay $9 and $60 each.

Pinhole Recessed Lighting

Recessed lights have many uses. They can illuminate the entire room or create a spotlight on an object or area. If you have a layout that will not change and want to spotlight an area, a pinhole light can do the job. Pinhole trims narrow the light coming from the fixture. This makes a spotlight directly below the light, allowing you to place artwork or items directly in the light. They range from $11 to $50 apiece.

Reflector Trim Recessed Lighting

The reflector trim is very similar to the exterior’s baffle. It has a subtle collar that sits on top of the ceiling rather than flush with the ceiling. However, the interior is highly polished and reflective instead of a ribbed interior. The collar and reflective interior come in many finishes so that you can determine how much you want it to stand out from the ceiling. This trim is non-positionable, so it casts a wide light around the entire room. This is a good choice if you want something more eye-catching than a baffle but not decorative. They cost between $11 and $80 each.

Recessed Eyeball Light

Eyeball trim is another good way to create a spotlight. Unlike the pinhole trim, the eyeball trim moves around. This is a good choice for galleries and areas where the focus of the room may change. The eyeball rotates to move the light, and you can cover portions of it to change the spotlight. This is one of the most versatile recessed lights. They range from $11 to $100 apiece.

Slot Aperture Recessed Lighting

Slot aperture trim allows control of the light. While an eyeball trim has the light rounding outward and down from the trim so that the entire light is visible and the trim over it maneuverable, the slot aperture is flat. Rather than a hole, like a pinhole trim, the slot aperture has a narrow opening that is longer than it is wide. This is positionable and can create a range of effects, including spotlights and wall washes. Slot aperture is versatile but subtle. However, it does not give as big of a concentrated spot as the pinhole or eyeball trims. Expect to pay around $12 to $50 each.

Lensed Trim

Lensed trim has a collar going around the light’s edge and a glass lens covering the light. This lens can be waterproof, which is called a shower trim, or purely decorative. The lens can be textured, frosted, or clear. It can completely seal the light and make it airtight, or it can be open. Using a lens trim helps make the light more diffuse. This makes it a good choice for areas where you want to soften the light rather than brightening the area below. They cost between $15 and $150 each, depending on the finish and lens style.

Shower Trim

Shower trim is a subtype of lensed trims. Shower trim is always water-resistant so that you can install a recessed light in wet areas like showers. Like all lensed trims, the shower trim has a range of lens styles. All are tempered glass for safety. Some are textured or frosted to diffuse the light, while others are clear. Expect to pay $15 to $150 apiece.

Recessed Gimbal Light

Gimbal trims are functional similar to eyeball lights. The bulb is fully positionable, so you can aim it anywhere. The trim’s collar can block some of the light, which creates a wall wash. The difference between the gimbal and the eyeball comes from the appearance. Gimbals have a flat bulb casing, while the eyeball is round. This makes the gimbal more contemporary. They range from $17 to $60 each.

Surface-Adjustable Trim

Surface-adjustable trims, also called elbow or scoop trims, can also change the light’s direction. However, rather than rotating in their casing, the surface adjustable trim pulls down from the collar. It can extend to a 70-degree tilt and rotate 359 degrees. It is mostly used for spotlights or illuminating specific areas. When flat, they can operate as a standard recessed light. When tilted, they cast light onto a wall or across a room. They cost between $20 and $60 apiece.

Recessed Wall Washer

Wall wash trims cover approximately half of the light. This allows the remaining light to be directed specifically at one spot, such as a painting. Many trims can operate as a washer, including slot aperture and gimbal. They can also be fixed wall washers, meaning they are not adjustable and point in one direction. This is good if you do not expect to move things around and want constant illumination in one area. Expect to pay around $20 to $60 each for dedicated wall washer trims.

Decorative Trim

There are many types of decorative trim for recessed lights. Decorative trim can be simple or extremely elaborate, depending on the manufacturer and style. Many are designed to look like elaborate plasterwork or decorative moldings found on tray or coffered ceilings. Or they can be sleeker with geometric designs. If you want to call attention to your recessed lights or want them to work better with a historic home, decorative trim is a good option. With so many options to choose from, there is a wide range of costs associated with this trim. Prices range from $20 to $200 each, depending on the style.

Recessed Lighting Price by Trim Finish

While many recessed lights have white trim that blends with most ceilings, you can find them in a wide range of other finishes. Using a different-colored trim can make the lights stand out. They can also match other finishes and colors in the room. In some instances, the trim’s color impacts the light’s output. While polished chrome may amplify light, very dark matte finishes may absorb it. Trim colors impact your trim’s cost, with white being the least expensive.

Recessed Lighting Price by Trim Finish

Recessed Lighting Price by Trim Finish

FinishAverage Cost (Material Only)
White$7 - $25
Gold$10 - $45
Clear (Chrome)$12 - $90
Satin Nickel$15 - $80
Copper$25 - $60
Black$25 - $80
Bronze$30 - $60

White Recessed Light Trim

White recessed light trim is the most common finish available. The color of white varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so purchase all your trims from one source. Mixing sources, particularly when close together, could result in subtle color differences across the ceiling. White is the best choice if you do not want your light to stand out. White trims can be decorative but are usually flat or plain. Expect to pay $7 to $25 on average.

Gold Recessed Light Trim

Gold-colored trim has a wide range of shades and finishes. Gold can be highly polished and reflective or satin and softer. Gold trim can have a gold collar, which will stand out against the ceiling. If you have a reflective trim, the interior would be gold, changing the light’s color. Because gold can range from a silver tone to a pink tone, purchase your gold trims at one time from one manufacturer so that they match. They cost between $10 and $45 apiece.

Chrome Recessed Light Trim

Chrome is one of the most common metal finishes in the U.S. Chromium is one of the only regulated metal finishes, so it always appears the same, regardless of the manufacturer. Chrome is usually polished and can be highly reflective. It has a slightly cool undertone to it, which works well in contemporary settings. A reflective light with a chrome interior is very bright, reflective, and eye-catching. They range from $12 to $90 each.

Nickel Can Light Trim

Nickel is a much warmer looking metal than chrome. A small amount of copper in the metal’s makeup gives it a warm glow that makes it a very popular metal finish. Nickel can be highly polished and reflective, satin, or brushed. Polished nickel usually matches from brand to brand, but satin and brushed nickels are typically proprietary to each brand. If you choose a satin or brushed nickel, purchase all your trim at once from one manufacturer to ensure they match. Nickel trims cost between $15 and $80 apiece on average.

Copper Recessed Light Trim

Copper is a warm-colored metal that can make a statement anywhere in your home. Copper is a living finish. Polished copper can darken and dull over time unless it is consistently cared for and polished. Copper ranges from very bright to a dull dark brown, depending on the age. Reflective copper finishes warm up and brighten the room’s light. Copper recessed light trims range between $25 and $60 on average.

Black Recessed Light Trim

If you want your light trim to stand out, consider a black trim. Black trims can be reflective or matte, which can change how they look. Reflective black trim is very eye-catching, while a matte black trim is subtle, potentially dimming the amount of light. Black recessed light trims can be very contemporary, particularly on a white ceiling. But they do not necessarily work in every interior design. Expect to spend $25 to $80 each on average.

Bronze Recessed Light Trim

Bronze is a rich, warm metal finish derived in part from copper. Bronze can be “natural” or “oil-rubbed,” which is nearly black. Because every manufacturer may have their own shade of bronze, it can be difficult to match your bronze light trims to other bronze in the room. They do not need to be a perfect match because the lights are not necessarily touching the other bronze fixtures. But make sure they are in the same color family for the best design. Bronze can be traditional or contemporary, depending on the trim’s style. They cost between $30 and $60 apiece on average.

Cost of Recessed Lighting by Type of Bulb

Nearly all recessed lights accommodate a wide range of bulbs. Others are designed to accept a single type of bulb, such as fluorescent or low-voltage. Each has attributes that could influence your decision. LED and CFL bulbs are the most commonly used today, lasting the longest and providing the most options.

Recessed Lighting Bulb Cost Chart

Cost of Recessed Lighting by Type of Bulb

Type of BulbAverage Cost per Pack of 6 Bulbs (Material Only)
Fluorescent$15 - $35
Incandescent$17 - $35
LED$20 - $35
Halogen$20 - $60
CFL$22 - $50
Low-Voltage$25 - $50

Fluorescent Recessed Light

Fluorescent lights use compressed mercury vapor to produce light. The light ranges in brightness and color, depending on your fixture’s needs. Some lights only work with fluorescent light bulbs, but most lights can handle any bulb. These lights are long-lasting and give you a steady light output for several years. They cannot be thrown in the trash because they contain mercury. They cost between $15 and $35 for a pack of 6 bulbs.

Incandescent Can Lights

Incandescent lights are becoming much less common today and are no longer sold or allowed in many areas. They use a filament that glows when electricity passes through it to produce light. They are not very efficient and burn out easily. They come in a range of colors and lumens or brightness. If you have a regular recessed light that used incandescent bulbs in the past, it can usually handle any other type of bulb with the correct wattage. These bulbs range from $17 to $35 for a pack of 6.

LED Recessed Light Bulb

LED lights or light-emitting diodes are semiconductors. When a current passes through them continuously, they glow. LED lights have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years. By coating the light bulb with different colors, they can produce both warm and cool-colored light. They can also produce true daylight-colored light, which is beneficial for dark spaces. LED lights are very energy-efficient. They also last much longer than incandescent. Nearly any recessed light can use LED bulbs. Expect to pay $20 to $35 for a pack of 6.

Halogen Recessed Light

Halogen lights are a subtype of incandescent. They use a filament, but they are also filled with halogen gas. This gas burns brighter and longer than standard incandescent bulbs. This makes them a good choice for areas where you need bright light. Because of the halogen inside, they cannot be disposed of like other lights and must be recycled at an appropriate location. They cost between $20 and $60 for a pack of 6.

CFL Recessed Light Bulbs

CFLs are compact fluorescent lights. They also contain mercury and resemble fluorescent light bulbs. The only difference is that these lights are smaller while still emitting plenty of light. This is good if you have smaller lights but want to maximize their output and brightness. CFL’s are very energy-efficient and long-lasting, which makes them a good choice. They cannot be disposed of in the trash because of their mercury content and must be recycled with the proper sources. CFL bulbs range from $22 to $50 for a pack of 6.

Low-Voltage Recessed Light

Many types of bulbs fall into the low-voltage category. These are bulbs that use less wattage or electricity to produce a high amount of lumens or brightness. The most common type of low-voltage light bulb are LED bulbs. Some types of CFL’s can also be low-voltage. You need to specifically check to see if the bulbs are low-voltage. Some recessed cans can be wired for low voltage, which means they need specific low-voltage bulbs. Others can also use low-voltage bulbs. Expect to pay around $25 to $50 for a pack of 6 on average.

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Colors of Can Lights

Most people are accustomed to the warm color of incandescent lights. But today, most lights are available in many colors and tones, ranging from warm yellow to bright white, usually with no cost difference. Because recessed lights provide ambient or general light, your bulbs’ color dictates the room’s color tone.

  • Lights with a “Warm” label give your home a slightly golden glow or tone. To find lights with this color, look for a Kelvin number between 2,000 and 3,000.
  • Lights with a “White” label shows the true colors as if they were viewed outdoors. To find lights with this color, look for a Kelvin number between 3,500 and 4,100.
  • Lights with a “Blue-White” label provide good reading light. Look for a Kelvin number between 5,000 and 6,500.

Beautiful living room area with recessed lighting installed

Recessed Lighting Size

Even the brightest recessed lights will not illuminate your room if they are spaced improperly. The standard rule for placing the lights is dictated by the lights’ size. Recessed lights come in three basic sizes: 4, 5, and 6-inch. 4-inch lights are installed a minimum of 4 feet apart from each other across the ceiling, 5-inch lights are installed a minimum of 5 feet apart, and 6-inch lights are installed at a minimum of 6 feet. Some brands also make lights at 7-inch and 10-inch diameters, but these are much less common and should be reserved for large spaces. These should all be placed about 12 to 18 inches in from the walls and spread evenly across the ceiling to achieve the best illumination.

Cost to Install Recessed Lighting

The labor and installation of your recessed lights may change slightly, depending on your ceiling’s depth and what is above it. Installing recessed lights in new construction and below an attic may be slightly less expensive, around $100 a light, rather than $200 for installing lights between floors or on sloped ceilings.

Before installing your lights, your electrician inspects the ceiling and wiring and makes recommendations on the can type needed. Next, plans are drawn up with a template showing the new lights’ position in the room and the location of the necessary switches.

Then, the holes are cut into the ceiling to accommodate the lights. The wires are run from the circuit box to the ceiling where the lights will be placed. The lights are hooked together so that the wires run from one source directly to the next across the room. The cans are then dropped or pushed in and expanded on the back to hold them in the floor above. The collar or trim is added on the exterior, and the electrician connects the wires.

Most electricians charge around $40-$100 an hour. It takes roughly ½ to 1 hour per can, depending on how difficult it is to reach the location. They usually charge around $150 per can installation for a remodel and around $75 per can for new construction, along with $75 per can of wiring charges. This makes the labor per can around $225 for a remodel, plus the can and trim. Assuming a mid-range remodel can with a gimbal trim at $50 each, this makes the installation of 6 cans $1,650. New construction has labor around $150 per can, plus the light and trim for a total of $1,200 for 6 cans, assuming mid-range quality and finish.

Cost to Install Recessed Lighting in an Existing Ceiling

Installing recessed lighting in an existing ceiling varies depending on the ceiling type and accessibility. If it is a full crawl space or attic above the ceiling, it will be easier to install than a ceiling between floors with little room to maneuver. The average labor cost for installation in an existing ceiling is $225 per can, with the average cost of light and trim at $50, for a total of $1,650 for 6 cans in an existing ceiling.

Cost to Install Recessed Lighting in a Kitchen

Recessed lighting is a common addition to most kitchen designs. Assuming that the space above the kitchen is not overly difficult to reach, the installation cost is around $275 per can, including materials and labor with wiring. It is very common for kitchens to use several types of lighting at one time, with recessed lights for ambient light. If you have pendants or other lights installed at the same time, your electrician might give you a small discount.

Wiring for Recessed Lights

Most houses are wired with aluminum or copper wire. Aluminum is less expensive than copper, so many newer homes may have this wiring. But the age and the electrician’s preferences factor in which one your home may have. When planning on a recessed light addition, ensure that the lights and wires are compatible with your home. For this reason, you need to match the type of wire and gauge. If your wire is old or fabric-insulated, your electrician may need to replace some of the wiring before installing your new lights. The cost of rewiring a home is around $8,500.

While your electrician may dictate the type of wire used, keep in mind that aluminum is roughly half the cost of copper in most installations.

Recessed Lights Wiring Cost

Wiring MaterialCosts per Linear Foot (Material Only)
Aluminum$0.26 - $0.59
Copper$0.52 - $1.25

Calculating Load

Every home has a total amount of amps or electrical power it can supply. Your appliances, lights, and accessories all use some of that power. Before you begin adding recessed lights to a room, determine how many amps are on the line and how many amps each recessed light uses. The rule of thumb is to keep below 80% of the amps on the line. So if you have 100 amps on the line you are using, then the total amount your recessed lights can use is 80. Have your electrician determine how many amps you have available, then check for the wattage on each can to determine how many you can install.

Cost to Replace Recessed Lights

The cost of replacing recessed lights varies, depending on how easy the space is to access. Assuming that you are using the same-size lights and they are not hard to reach, the average cost to replace is around the same as the cost to install in a remodel - about $225 per can for labor, plus the light and trim. Removing the old lights does not take more than a minute for each and does not impact the cost. However, if the old lights were installed in a way that makes them more difficult to remove, this can increase your costs by another $25 to $50 per can, depending on how much work the electrician needs to do to get the old cans free.

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Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Dimmer Switch

Because recessed lights are ambient, you can install a dimmer switch at the same time. Most recessed lights are dimmer-compatible with the switch costing around $50 for a 3-way light.

Wall Panel

If you do not currently have a wall panel in the room, add one to control the lights more easily. Wall panels come in many sizes and can include dimmer switches and standard switches. You can also upgrade an existing panel to add the recessed lights if needed. Adding a wall panel is around $50 to $100, depending on how many switches are wired.

Wireless Control

Some recessed lights can be controlled wirelessly through a smartphone, voice control, or remote control. These lights cost more than standard ones, around $100 each, but they have the same installation costs. It is recommended to wire them to the wall even if you have a wireless option. This gives you a backup if the other options fail, you lose the remote, or you have a guest who does not have access to the lights.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Do not tackle this as a DIY project, except by those with extensive electrical experience.
  • In most areas, permits are required before installing recessed lights or any other major electrical changes. Check with your town or city hall before starting.
  • It may be less expensive to install recessed lights in new construction or in rooms being fully renovated because the ceiling is easier to access. Costs may be around $150 a can, rather than $225 and up.
  • To use dimmer switches, you must also invest in dimmer bulbs. Most recessed bulbs can be used on a dimmer for no additional cost. Check the box label to be sure.
  • Attics are typically the easiest places to install recessed lights because they can be accessed from above and below. Installing lights between floors may be more complicated, particularly if the space between the floors is shallow.
  • In every case, have your ceiling inspected by a licensed electrician before purchasing lights. Your electrician can measure the available space and decide how to do the project. In an attic or new construction installation, they will likely work from above. Between floors, they will likely work from below, cutting into the ceiling and running wires below the floor, disturbing the area above. They will also let you know which light types are needed so that you can purchase accordingly.
  • Recessed lights require a ceiling function, so they are not very common outdoors. However, they can be installed on a porch ceiling or beneath an overhang on the front steps instead of sconces. Installation is similar, but the project typically involves fewer lights, with 2 to 4 being the most common.


  • Does recessed lighting add value to your home?

This depends on the area and your home. In general, any good lighting helps increase your home’s value by making it more functional. However, recessed lights do not always work in historical architectures.

  • Can a handyman install recessed lighting?

This depends on your handyman’s skill level. Some are experienced with electricity, understand the codes, submit the necessary paperwork for permits, and do the work to code, but others cannot. Speak to your handyman to find out their skill level.

  • How do you install recessed lighting in a ceiling?

Recessed lights are cans held in place above the ceiling with brackets. They are installed through a hole in the ceiling and connected to one another and the electrical circuit that powers them.

  • How much does it cost to put in downlights?

Downlight is a recessed light with an eyeball trim. It costs around $225 per light for labor and an additional $50 for the light and trim to install.

  • How much does it cost to have an electrician install a light fixture?

Electricians charge between $40 and $100 an hour, and light fixtures generally run around $100 to $300 installed.

  • Where should I put my recessed lights?

Recessed lights can be installed anywhere, but they work best in kitchens and living rooms. They should be installed 4 to 6 feet apart and 12 to 18 inches from the walls.

Cost to install recessed lighting varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Recessed lighting installed in the ceiling, and the wall next to a double sink
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Cost to install recessed lighting varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources