How Much Does It Cost To Install Recessed Lighting In 2023? (2023)

The clean, modern look of recessed lighting has made this type of lighting a popular option for today’s homes. The absence of bulky, low-hanging fixtures makes recessed lighting a great choice for low ceilings. But it’s also perfect for very spacious rooms, allowing homeowners to combine recessed lights with other lighting options like flush-mount fixtures, chandeliers and track lighting.

If you’re considering adding recessed lighting to your home, you may be wondering about the cost to install recessed lighting. In this article, we’ll outline how much you can expect to pay for each light, the average cost of recessed lighting, and whether you should hire a professional or do it yourself.

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Cost to Install Recessed Lighting

When it comes to installing recessed lighting, you’ll find it’s less expensive to install the lights in a new construction home. The reason is simple: It’s less work! According to HomeGuide, the average cost to install recessed lighting is between $125 to $300 per light in an existing home, but the price drops to between $65 to $175 in a new home where the lights can simply be built right into the ceiling as it’s installed.

Of those amounts, HomeGuide states that recessed lighting installation costs breakdown as follows: as much as $75 to $200 for labor if you hire an electrician or qualified contractor and $50 to $100 for the fixture. But of course, prices will vary based on different factors, including the cost of living in your area. Below, we’ve included a table that includes a typical low, average and high price for recessed lighting.

Average Cost to Install Recessed Lighting
Average Cost$300
Highest Cost$500
Lowest Cost$100

Factors That Determine the Cost to Install Recessed Lighting

When it comes to the cost to install recessed lighting, you’ll need to consider things like the type and quality of the lights you choose, the contractor you select and how many lights you’ll need. Other factors that can factor into the recessed lighting installation cost are as follows:

Permits

When planning a home improvement project like installing recessed lighting, don’t forget to check to see if there are any permits you need. You’ll likely need a permit for this type of work, since it involves wiring. Check with your local town hall before starting this type of project. If you’ll be working with a contractor, they should be able to tell you whether and which type of permit you need. Permits for this type of work often range between $50 and $500, depending largely on location.

Type of Light

More and more trim options have become available as recessed lighting has increased in popularity. Now, you can opt for traditional can lights, but you can also upgrade your space with recessed lighting that swivels, rotates or casts a single beam of light. These options are typically more expensive ($15 to $150 per light for options like lensed or decorative types) than standard can lights ($10 to $50 for slot or reflector types).

Labor Costs

Most electricians charge labor rates between $85 and $105 per hour, and it’s estimated that each fixture could take about 2½ hours to install. Plan for double this amount of time if your electrician will be Installing recessed lighting in multiple parts of your home, because they’ll have to run wiring as well.

Existing Fixtures

If you have existing fixtures to work with, you’ll pay less for your upgrade to recessed lighting since you won’t need to pay for wiring. Instead, you’ll only need to buy the fixtures.

Wiring

Wiring can be a bit challenging for recessed lighting. Because the lighting exists in the ceiling rather than hanging down, your electrician may need to have access to your attic or a second floor in order to complete the setup. The cost to install the wiring for your recessed lighting will average between $0.20 to $2 per linear foot.

Also, keep in mind the electrician may have to cut holes in the drywall to run wires that will have to be patched and painted when done. A good tip is to ask them to use a 4’ hole saw and keep the circle they removed so you can use it for the patch of each hole.

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(Video) Recessed Lighting Install with No Attic or Prior Wiring

How to Hire an Electrician to Install Recessed Lighting

Once you decide to move forward with recessed lighting, you’ll need to hire an electrician to guide you on your project. Since lighting installation requires wiring that can get complicated, most people opt to hire a professional rather than attempting to complete the job themselves. Here are some tips for how to hire an electrician to install recessed lighting and find the right one for you:

  • Check reviews: Sites like Facebook, Yelp and Google make checking reviews easy. Companies with a long history of customer satisfaction are a good choice, as are those with high ratings with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask for samples: Once you have a short list of electricians you’re interested in, ask to see samples of their work, or check their websites for pictures from previous projects. Like what you see? You’re more likely to be satisfied with your final product as well.
  • Check licenses: Any electrician you hire should have proper licensure, so don’t be shy about asking for this before bringing someone on.
  • Shop around: Each electrician will have a slightly different price, so be sure to get quotes from a few different people before making your final selection.

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THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it worth it to install recessed lighting?

If you’re looking for new lighting options for your home, there’s a good chance you may be considering recessed lighting. It’s a great option, since it offers clean lines without taking up any visual (or physical) space in your rooms. Recessed fixtures are a particularly good lighting option for kitchens or very large rooms where you may want to combine fixtures. Think recessed lighting in the center of the room and a nice hanging light over the sink or stove.

Recessed lighting is low maintenance once installed and tends to hold its value over time, making it a worthy investment.

How much does a recessed light cost?

A single recessed lighting fixture consists of the fixture itself, the trim and the bulb. Most LED fixtures today cost between $20 and $50 per light. That price does not include the labor you’ll be charged for installation or the wiring.

(Video) BEST METHOD for Installing Recessed Lights!

Is recessed lighting energy efficient?

Almost all recessed lighting options today have LED lights, which use only a fraction of the wattage that incandescent bulbs require. The average LED light uses only about seven to 10 watts of electricity, and each recessed light fixture uses only one bulb. Recessed lighting is typically installed in rows, which provides plenty of light that’s evenly distributed throughout a room.

Unless you opt for a newer option, like a spotlight or a swivel light. These focus a beam of light in a particular direction, similar to what you’d see in an art gallery).

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FAQs

How much does it cost to install 4 recessed lights? ›

According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, homeowners can expect to pay between $100 and $500 per light for recessed lighting, with the average cost to install recessed lighting in a typical-size room coming in around $330 per light.

How much recessed lighting per square foot? ›

A common rule of thumb is that you use one recessed light for every 4 to 6 square feet of ceiling space. Doing so provides even, overall illumination.

Does recessed lighting add value to a house? ›

LED recessed lighting is particularly appealing to prospective buyers and, according to research by Vonn, could add anything between 1% and 3% to your home's value – enough to pay some estate agent fees!

Will recessed lighting go out of style? ›

One of the significant advantages of installing recessed lighting fixtures is that they'll never go out of style. Recessed lights have been around for decades because they're sleek, unobtrusive, and can be placed virtually anywhere to enhance the ambiance of a room. Plus, they're not a one-size-fits-all type of light.

How much does it cost to install 12 recessed lights? ›

According to HomeGuide, the average cost to install recessed lighting is between $125 to $300 per light in an existing home, but the price drops to between $65 to $175 in a new home where the lights can simply be built right into the ceiling as it's installed.

How much should I charge to install recessed lighting? ›

The cost for an electrician to install recessed can or can less LED lights will generally be between $200 and $250 per fixture. Professionals charge at a rate of $85 to $105 per hour and each installation takes approximately two to three hours.

How many recessed lights in a 12x12 room? ›

In general, a 12x12 kitchen will use a minimum of three to a maximum of nine recessed lights to illuminate the needed area.

Why does recessed lighting cost so much? ›

Because you're not just hanging a single light fixture from the ceiling, recessed lighting requires a fairly extensive amount of electrical wiring, which may or may not be a project that homeowners are comfortable doing on their own.

What size recessed lighting is best? ›

Choose one that will accommodate the height of your ceiling or the size of your wall.
  • 4-inch and 5-inch fixtures are great in kitchens for providing overhead countertop lighting.
  • 6-inch fixtures are most common for general lighting purposes.
  • 7- to 9-inch fixtures will create a wider wash of light.

Do I need an electrician to install recessed lighting? ›

Installing recessed lighting can be challenging—you might want to hire an electrician to do the job. Even if you're experienced in wiring light fixtures, installing recessed lighting comes with some challenges that may be best left to a professional.

Does recessed lighting increase electric bill? ›

Recessed lights use just as much electricity as other bulbs, but they're more efficient. This is because they don't have to heat as much air as other types of bulbs do. As a result, you'll use less energy and save money on your electric bill.

Can you have too much recessed lighting? ›

The culprit: Too many recessed lights. It's easy to get a little overzealous when it comes to how many recessed lights go into a space. Too many can leave a living room feeling like a lobby or a hallway feeling like a runway. The fix: Create a lighting plan.

What is better than recessed lighting? ›

Disc Lights: They fall into the category of LED flush ceiling lights, making for an excellent alternative to recessed light. They also save time, effort, and space. You can also be sure you won't have any overheating issues. These can also come under surface mounted downlights.

Where should you not put recessed lights? ›

Avoid recessed lighting fixtures placed too close together or in rows down the center of the room. This type of installation can have the look of an airport runway. Match the size of your recessed lighting fixtures to their spacing.

What are the cons of recessed lighting? ›

Disadvantages of Recessed Lighting

While recessed lights are great for their functional purpose, they can also be really difficult to install. Recessed lighting requires you to cut out holes in your ceiling and, depending on the light fixture you get, remove insulation surrounding them to avoid sparking a fire.

How long does it take to install 4 recessed lights? ›

Installing recessed lighting is fairly simple and should only take between 2-4 hours, depending on how many lighting fixtures you need.

How much does it cost for an electrician to install a ceiling light? ›

How much does it cost to install a light fixture? Installing most fixtures ranges from $75-$125. The cost will be affected by the type of fixture selected and the condition of your wiring. Your electrician will assess the location of your fixture and give you an accurate estimate of the cost involved.

How many LED recessed lights per room? ›

A common rule of thumb is one recessed light for every 4 to 6 feet of ceiling space. Typically, fixtures should be placed 24 inches from a wall or cabinet with 2 to 5 feet of space between them.

How long does it take an electrician to install recessed lighting? ›

Recessed lighting installation typically takes between two to four hours, but the actual time may differ depending on the number of fixtures and other factors. Installing lights that are on the same circuit is significantly faster, as is working with new construction.

How do you calculate recessed lighting? ›

By dividing the total height of your ceiling in half, you get the amount of space you should leave between each light. For example, recessed lighting spacing for a 16-foot-high ceiling would be 8 feet between each light. This will provide good spacing for the overall illumination of the room.

Does Lowe's install recessed lighting? ›

Get Your Lighting and Ceiling Fans Installed Professionally

At Lowe's, we can help with lighting and ceiling fan installation so all you need to do is pick your product. We have plenty of options for lights, including chandeliers, pendant lighting, recessed lighting and more.

Should you put recessed lights over TV? ›

Recessed lighting above or ambient lighting behind the screen will increase the level of light in the room, and of course there will be no glare on the screen. There are specific bias light fixtures for home entertainment areas, but you can also use your current home lighting to create the same effect.

How much area does 6 recessed lights cover? ›

How much area does the 6-inch recessed light cover? The general rule is to space the recessed lights according to their diameter. So, a 6-inch recessed light should be placed at a distance of 6 feet. In other words, a 6-inch light would cover 6 feet of ceiling space.

How many recessed lights can you run on one switch? ›

The main limitation to the number of recessed fixtures you can run at the same time is the rating of the circuit breaker that controls the circuit. Each fixture with a 60-watt incandescent or halogen bulb draws about 1/2 amp, so a 15-amp breaker for a standard lighting circuit would be able to handle 30 of them.

When should you not use recessed lighting? ›

If your room is large and you need to light up a lot of it, recessed lighting may not be the best choice. You will need a lot of recessed lights to properly light a big room. As you don't really see recessed light, if you are looking for a decorative element, they won't provide it.

How many years do LED recessed lights Last? ›

Many LED lights are rated to last 50,000 hours or more. That translates into roughly 5 and a half years, if you had the lights running 24 hours a day. That's 22 years if the lights are used an average of 6 hours per day or 45 years at 3 hours per day.

Do LED recessed lights save money? ›

Lower Your Energy Bills

One of the most notable features of LED lighting is energy efficiency. Traditional incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent bulbs are inefficient and burn most of the energy they consume as heat. LED bulbs, however, are much more efficient and use up to 50% less electricity than traditional bulbs.

What color is best for recessed lighting? ›

Choose a white finish for a clean modern look. It is the most common and popular choice when it comes to recessed lighting.

Are 4 recessed lights more modern? ›

Style – 4-inch lights lights are generally considered more modern than 6-inch lights because of their compact size. Function – 4-inch lights often have more options for gimbal and specialty trims used for task and accent lighting applications.

How many recessed lights should I put in my kitchen? ›

In smaller kitchens, install recessed lights two to three feet apart to keep lighting uniform. Have a larger kitchen? Install one recessed light for every four to six square feet of ceiling space. Though recessed lights may look small, together they provide strong, consistent light coverage across a whole room.

Can a handyman install a light fixture? ›

A licensed handyman is not allowed to do any electrical work if it connects to your home's electrical system directly unless the handyman also holds an electrician's license, which some of these providers do have issued.

Can I install recessed lighting myself? ›

If you have a nearby power source, you can easily install led recessed lighting in the ceiling by yourself. However, bringing in a power source adds time to the project and can be accomplished by wiring your own circuit or by hiring an electrician.

Do you have to get in the attic to install recessed lighting? ›

Cutting a hole in your wall will help you install the housing and wiring if you don't have access to an attic. If you can't get to the joist spaces, then you will need to remove about 12 to 16 inches of drywall from your ceiling with a hand-held drywall saw. Your joists should be in your lighting design plan.

How much heat is lost through recessed lighting? ›

Just one drafty recessed fixture can result in air loss of up to 2.5 million cubic feet per year, wasting up to 1 million BTUs during that same period (BTUs, or British Thermal Units, is the standard by which power is measured).

Is recessed lighting cheaper than fixtures? ›

Recess lights may be cheaper than a normal light fixture. But keep in mind most of the time, you will need several in a given location. Installation is kind of expensive but isn't most electrical work. Expect to pay anywhere between $125-$200 per for light and installation.

Do recessed lights lose heat? ›

Recessed lights often leak warm, moist air against cold roof sheathing, which eventually causes roof rot. You also lose a lot of heat. If you're concerned about heat loss through your recessed lights in a cathedral ceiling, turn off the light, unscrew the bulb and remove the trim to check the label inside.

Why do recessed lights burn out so fast? ›

Usually, there are ventilation ports on recessed light fixtures that prevent the bulb from overheating inside the casing. But there are two reasons why your bulb may still overheat and burn out quickly: The ventilation ports are clogged. Your bulb is not designed for recessed lighting.

Can recessed lights cause fire? ›

IC rated fixtures are designed to be installed in areas where they will be in direct contact with insulation. This is important as non-IC rated recessed lighting in contact with insulation creates a fire hazard.

Can I use regular bulbs in recessed lighting? ›

What Kind of Light Bulb Do You Want to Use? A recessed fixture with a medium screw base lamp holder can take an incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, or LED light bulb.

How far off cabinets should recessed lights be? ›

How far should recessed lights be from the kitchen cabinets? If you have upper cabinets, another good rule of thumb is to center the lights with the edge of your countertops. In most homes, that means that lights will be roughly 25 inches from the wall.

Should bedrooms have recessed lighting? ›

Recessed ceiling lights have become a popular way to add lighting to bedrooms. Recessed lights are perfect for providing ambient or general lighting, giving your bedroom the feel of being bathed in sunlight. They can also be strategically placed to accent specific areas or features of your bedroom.

How many recessed lights do I need for a 12x12 room? ›

In general, a 12x12 kitchen will use a minimum of three to a maximum of nine recessed lights to illuminate the needed area.

How far should 4-inch recessed lights be? ›

Generally, the 4-inch recessed light fixtures are placed 4 feet apart. Meanwhile, the 6-inch lighting is placed at a distance of 6 feet. Other than the distance, you should also consider the decor goals. If you want to go for simple yet uniform lighting, choose either 4 inches or 6 inches for the whole room.

What is an alternative to recessed lighting? ›

However, there are alternatives to recessed lights that can make your home look as beautiful as you want. These alternatives include modern semi-flush ceiling lights, and styles such as disc lights, pendant lights, tube lights, and track lights.

What do most electricians charge per hour? ›

Average Electrician Cost Per Hour

The range can really vary, but on average you can expect to be charged anywhere between $50 and $150 an hour.

Can lighting installation estimate? ›

For the fixture itself, budget roughly $20 to $30 per light for traditional can lights. The cost to install traditional can lights is around $100 to $250 per fixture, depending on materials and finishes.

Do you need an electrician to install recessed lighting? ›

If you have a nearby power source, you can easily install led recessed lighting in the ceiling by yourself. However, bringing in a power source adds time to the project and can be accomplished by wiring your own circuit or by hiring an electrician.

How many recessed lights in a 10x10 room? ›

Generally, it is recommended to have 1 light for every 4-5 square feet of space in the room. Therefore, for a 10×10 room, a good starting point would be 10-12 recessed lights.

Is 6-inch recessed light too big? ›

Fact: Style should be consistent, but consider size and type on a functional basis. It is perfectly acceptable to mix 4-inch and 6-inch recessed lights in the same room. In the example shown here, 6-inch lights are being used for general lighting, and 4-inch lights for accent lighting.

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