Please Help me with my Recessed Lighting! (Alzak? Halogen? 6 in?)

July 30, 2010

I am going to get recessed lighting in my house. Currently the rooms where I want the cans installed are lit by ugly light kits on ceiling fans that cast a dingy light, create a big glaring bright spot in the middle of the room, and don't reach far enough to light the walls and the corners of the room. My kitchen is lit by an ugly industrial looking fluorescent light box. My main goal is to get a lot of light in a better quality (crisper, whiter light) to combat the dingy feel I have now.

My main questions are as follows:

- Would 6 inch cans look OK in an 8 foot ceiling? There are parts of the rooms with trays that go up to 9 or 10 feet, but I'm worried about the areas where it's only 8 feet. With the number of cans I need, I'm worried about the price of dropping down to 5 inch cans. Also, I understand you can't put as high of wattage in 5 inch can.

- From reading other threads here, I have discovered the specular reflectors, or Alzak. The lighting contractor I will probably use works with Halo, and I see they offer specular reflectors and are more affordable than Juno. I went to Lowes and bought a specular trim to put on the one recessed fixture I already had in my house and saw the huge difference in reduction of glare. I am wondering though how I would feel about having these "silver" spots in my ceiling. Unfortunately, I don't think I could afford the reflectors in the "wheat haze" color many people here have mentioned that aren't as glaring. Do you get used to the silver spots in the ceiling created by these reflectors?

- I went to a lighting store and the salesman was showing me different lights, and I was amazed at the light put out by a can that had just a regular light bulb in a can where the Alzak coating went all the way up to the top of the inside of the can. I see that Halo offers these as well, but of course they are expensive. Will the specular reflectors that only go up about halfway inside the can also intensify the light? If I were to go with these in certain areas, does it look weird to have plain light bulbs hanging inside the cans?

- Should I go with Halogen, spotlight incandescent, or regular incandescent? Like I said before, I want bright light. The main reason I want to do this is to improve the poor, dingy lighting I have now. I really like the quality of light put out by the Halogens, but I understand the beam spread is more concentrated, and I need something that puts out a wide spread of light. The incandescents seem to put out a wider beam, but the light is more yellow and not as crisp. Should I go with at least 75watts? Do I need the cans that take up to 100 watt regular lightbulbs?

- How do I figure out how many cans I need? In my 12 x 16 bedroom, they have recommended I only need 4. Will that be enough?

- I had an electrician come out to my house last night and his price was $30 a can to install (plus $20 for each fixture + trim, but that is for the standard can and white trim, which I want to upgrade). I'm sure he knows how to install the lights, but he didn't seem to know all that much about the different options available and didn't really seem to have much knowledge on where the cans should go. Is this normal, or are there installers that have a little more knowledge on how to properly place the cans?

This is all so confusing! Please help!

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