How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need in My Basement?

How Many Recessed Lights Do I Need in My Basement

Recessed lights are a great choice for basement lighting because they give plenty of light without occupying too much space. But how many recessed lights do I need in my basement? This depends on the size of the room, bulb wattage, and so on. To help you determine how many recessed lights are in a basement, let’s discuss how to calculate square footage per light bulb. With this information, you can decide what is the best number of bulbs to place in your basement.

Basement Recessed Lighting

When people want more light in their basements, they usually choose recessed lighting. Installing recessed lighting in the basement helps create a warm, inviting atmosphere that will make visitors and family members alike feel welcomed and comfortable. 

The placement of these lights is easy and once installed they last for many years. By getting recessed lights for your underground cellar you ensure its appealing effect while taking up negligible space. Additionally, this kind of lighting is cheaper since it consumes less energy compared to traditional bulbs.

Calculating the Number of Recessed Lights Needed

Once you know the size of your basement, one general rule that can be used is one unit per 4-6 sq ft ceiling space that will guide you when estimating how many lamps are needed.

For example, if your basement has an area of 100 square feet then you would require about 16-25 lights but remember this is only a generalization as there could be other factors involved with determining exactly how many fixtures should be installed for optimum results.

Factors to Consider for Install Recessed Lights in Basement

Several factors can affect the number of recessed lights needed for your basement. These include:

The Size of Your Basement

First, take measurements on both lengthwise as well as widthwise dimensions before multiplying them thereby obtaining the total square footage value.

Basement Ceiling Height:

Another factor that determines the amount of lamps needed would also depend on the height of your ceiling since a higher space will require more as compared to the lower ones.

The purpose of the space:

Also, what exactly you want to do with it can determine how many recessed lights you need in a basement. For example, if you are planning to have a home office in your basement area, then you may not need as many lamps as opposed to when using it for the playroom or an entertainment room.

The amount of natural light:

You have entering into your basement may also affect the number of lights needed. In case your basement has windows that let in sunlight, then you might not require so much artificial light unlike when there is no window.

The layout of the room:

For deciding how many recessed lights are needed also depends on how the whole space is distributed. For instance, if there are several compartments within your underground cellar, more bulbs would be necessary to make sure that all areas receive sufficient illumination.

Space Between the Recessed Lights in Basement

The spacing between the can lights in your basement is not fixed because it relies on a few different things like, for instance, your basement’s size and shape, as well as what type of light bulbs you choose to use and how bright they are. However, a good general rule of thumb is to space them about two feet apart.

Alternatively, dividing the ceiling height by 2 to 3 will give us the distance between the lights. In this case, if we take a basement with a 9-foot ceiling height then that can have approximately 3 to 4.5ft as recessed lighting distances. On the other hand, if we consider an 8-foot high ceiling then spaces should be about 2.5 to 4 feet apart.

Common Mistakes When Using Recessed Lights in Basement

Too many recessed lights in Basement:

Firstly, too many recessed lights could make the area glow or dazzle. Besides causing undue glare due to excessive light fixtures this possible increase in cost would amount to higher electricity bills.

Few recessed lights in Basement:

Among the simplest mistakes people make while lighting basements are having too few lights. Therefore very low light makes it very difficult for you to read books and other tasks.

Use LUX Meter

Normally, we need between 100 and 200 lux for our basements. Download the “Lux Meter” app onto your phone so that you can measure lux. Take a photograph with a camera option of each room to determine its lux value. Also, make sure that your phone lies flat on the ground to get the right reading.


Are recessed lights energy-efficient?

Yes, especially LED recessed lights. They use less energy than traditional bulbs and last longer.

Can I install recessed lights myself?

It depends on your electrical skills and comfort level. For safety reasons, it’s recommended to consult a qualified electrician, especially if your basement has complex wiring or limited access to the ceiling.


The number of can lights you’d need for your basement would depend on some factors including the size of the basement itself; the height of the ceiling; the purpose of the space; the amount of natural light available and the layout of the room. Calculating these steps will help you know how many recessed lamps are required such that one’s cellar appears beautiful and is adequately lit.

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