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How Much Does Recessed Lighting Cost To Install?

Typical Range: $100 - $200

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On This Page:

  1. Recessed Lighting Cost
  2. Cost to Install Recessed Lighting
  3. What are Recessed Lights?
  4. Types of Recessed Lights
  5. DIY Recessed Lighting Installation

Recessed lighting, or pot/can lighting, can be used throughout your home in various ways, including:

  • In your living room
  • Above a desk
  • To accentuate art or statues
  • In the kitchen or dining room

Pot lighting generally costs between $100 and $200 per pot. This includes the price of the bulbs themselves, which can cost anywhere between $6 and $20, depending on whether they are intended for interior or exterior lighting. Recessed lighting offers the same brightness as other kinds of lighting but with a much lower profile. Additional benefits of recessed lighting include the absence of cords and lamp shades, a decreased risk of personal injury, and an improved overall design aesthetic.

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How Much Do Recessed Lights Cost?

The price of recessed lighting varies depending on the kind of lighting you wish to install and any additional equipment that may be required. Listed below are the average prices for pot lighting fixtures at local home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot:

  • Basic pot lights for $20 - $60 per light
    • $6 - $40 for the fixture
    • $8 - $20 for the trim and bulbs
  • Low-voltage models for $75 - $150 each
  • Outdoor models for $150 to $200 per light

Also keep in mind that there will be further costs for related accessories like dimmers ($75 - $100) and light bulbs ($30 - $75), as well as installation, which can involve additional factors.

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Installation Costs - What to Expect

In most cases, it is best to hire an electrician to install recessed lighting in your home. While it lighting installation can be a DIY project, there are a number of factors that pose a risk. If you need to remove an old pendant lamp and its wires, for example, you could shock yourself. Other potential risks include climbing on a ladder, cutting holes in drywall (that you’ll have to patch later) and -- depending on the age of your home -- potential asbestos hazards.

Some costs involved with the installation of pot lights are:

  • Installing the lights - $100 to $200 by an electrician
  • Wiring the lights into the ceiling - $70 to $140 per light
  • Moving around any obstacles (heating ducts, joists, other wires) - $200 or more per light

Try to plan your layout before the installation. This will help you secure your budget and determine how many lights you’ll need. Recessed lights point directly downward and do not reflect off of the ceiling. So, you’ll want to add enough lights to achieve your desired brightness. Also keep in mind that you can use a dimmer, which will allow you to control and tailor the brightness of the room.

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What Are Recessed Lights?

Pot lights are light fixtures that reside in the ceiling itself. They create orbs of light that enhance the room without interfering with décor. These lights tend to work best in rooms with minimal design elements and rooms with low ceilings.

There’s no tried-and-true formula for determining the number of pot lights needed for a room. The number of lights depends greatly on the homeowner’s preferences and the lighting requirements for specific spaces. Most pot lights will work with a dimmer, so it’s possible to adjust light levels for different activities.

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Types of Recessed Lights

There are two types of pot lights, insulation contact (IC) and non-insulation contact (non-IC).

  • IC: This type of fixture is designed to come into contact with attic insulation without creating safety concerns or hazards.
  • Non-IC: This type of fixture can’t safely come into contact with insulation, but it’s a good solution when no insulation is present.

Homeowners can also choose from two types of housing, new construction and remodel.

  • New construction: Homeowners can use this type of housing when they have access to the ceiling. Installing new construction cans requires accessing the ceiling joists, so it’s best to use these when drywall and other barriers aren’t obstructing access.
  • Remodel: This type of housing is a good alternative when it’s not possible to access the ceiling. To install these, homeowners simply have to cut holes in the ceiling to position the housing.
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DIY Recessed Lighting

If you have the experience, knowledge and proper safety protocols in place, you can install recessed lighting as a DIY project. You can purchase a lighting kit from a local home improvement store for $20 or more. Most times, you’ll need to check the local building code requirements for any electrical standards you’ll need to meet. Also, some districts consider it illegal to install new wiring unless you’re an electrician.

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Parts of a Recessed Light

One of the most important things to know before installing a potlight as a DIY project is its parts. The main three parts are the housing (can), trim (only visible part) and bulb. You can buy them in separate pieces at a local home improvement store.

  • Housing: Most recessed fixtures are made in two pieces. In such fixtures, the housing is the piece mounted into the ceiling.
  • Trim: This is the other piece put into the housing. You sometimes have to remove it to insert or remove the bulb.
  • Bulb: When choosing a bulb for your pot light, note that most require a 75 to 100 watt bulb, but some can handle up to 150 watts.
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How to Install a Recessed Light

You should follow the instructions in the lighting kit, but the basic overview for installing a pot light are as follows:

  1. Identify a location for your fixture.
  2. Drill a 1/4-inch hole in the ceiling where you want it to go.
  3. Use a hole saw to create an opening for the housing.
  4. Disconnect the existing fixture.
  5. Pull cable to the first recessed light and leave 18 inches of wire hanging from the ceiling. Repeat for all fixtures. The slack allots room to wire new fixture.
  6. Wire the first light to the power source and cable for next housing. Cap connections with wire connectors. Continue until you do the last fixture.
  7. Mount the housing and trim pieces
  8. Screw in bulbs.
  9. Turn the power back on to see if the lights come on.

If your lights aren’t working after following these steps or the ones in the kit, you might need to call an electrician for assistance. Be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear and turn off the main power supply before you start.

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