Lighting Styles
01780 767 617

Recessed Lighting - Downlights

Lighting design is an important part of any new build and a home will benefit enormously from well placed lighting.  Recessed downlights can also be used when redecorating a room, if you choose a decent electrician they should be able to install them for you provided they closely follow the instruction. It is something of an art to get lighting right and it is important to first understand your requirements, the space and what you would like to achieve.  Good lighting, just like stage lighting, can create atmosphere and intrigue not just illumination!

A home will be transformed when the right mix of lighting is chosen and recessed lighting is a big part of that success. Well position recessed lighting (also known as downlights) can highlight a rooms best or most prominent features or tasks such as those carried out in a kitchen or bathroom. Having recessed downlights is a way of providing good illumination that is somewhat hidden and perfect if adjustable as you can wall wash or pick out architectural features on a wall.

See our guide at the bottom or read our blog to understand more about recessed lighting and how to work out how many lights you will require for a room.

Filter results by colour, IP rating etc...

Low voltage or mains? What's best?

Low voltage or mains? What's best?

When you have no knowledge of lighting it is difficult to know whether you should install low voltage or mains downlights. We are often asked the question and give the following advice.

So, why would you choose low voltage (12 volt) or mains voltage (220-240 volt) downlights? The simple answer is they are both great ways to illuminate an area however there are some important differences to consider when deciding which option to choose. 

Remember low voltage does not mean low energy – it is simply converting mains voltage down to a lower volt.  If you require low energy then you could choose a mains LED or CFL.

Major Differences
Apart from the voltage, there are some important differences between the two types of light which may help you decide on which is the best for you. You may have noticed from our website we offer our downlights in both mains and LV versions. The fittings look identical as the same castings are used for both. It is the type and quality of light they give which is the most noticeable difference. Low voltage dichroic halogen lamps will make the colours in decoration more prominent and give a better definition to paintings, pictures and objects. Mains voltage halogen provides a good overall spread of quality functional light for general purpose lighting.

You will also find with LV lamps that there is less heat, this is because the heat is directed backwards whilst GU10 (mains) lamps give out heat forwards.  Low voltage is great for commercial environments when the lights will be on for long periods of time.

Replacement mains halogen lamps can cost nearly twice the price of LV lamps yet can have half the expected lamp life.  LV downlights however require a transformer so whilst you win on some aspects you lose on others!

Mains lamps last on average 2,000 to 2,500 hours whilst low voltage last on average 3,000 to 5,000 hours.  Both consume approximately the same amount of electricity however the 50w LV halogen lamp gives out approximately 20% more light than the 50w Mains lamp.

Mains lamps are available in 35 and 50 watt versions and LV 20, 35 and 50 watt.

Mains lamps are available in 25 and 36 degree beam angles, LV beam angles are 12, 24, 38 and 60 degree – depending on availability and the manufacturer.

A transformer like all electronic products, can occasionally fail, our transformers are sold with a guarantee for peace of mind. Mains lamps do not require a transformer which reduces the initial purchase price.

Both LV and mains downlights are dimmable however with the mains option you need to allow an extra 25% capacity in your dimmer unit. A 400w dimmer can run only 6 x 50w Mains lamps. Although you also need to leave some extra capacity in your dimmer with LV say 10%.  Please note you must check your dimmer unit is capable of running low voltage transformers.

In summary:

Mains voltage - cheaper initially as no transformer is required.  Lamps last potentially less hours but are cheaper than the LV option but will give more heat and when the blow (fail) they may trip the MCB board.  Lamps are less awkward to change than LV.

Low voltage – more expensive as a transformer is required (which may fail in the future) but LV have a long lamp life and give out less heat.  More than 20% more light is output with LV.

Our Advice
Ultimately the decision is yours but hopefully this information has been helpful.  If pushed we would always, if possible, suggest using mains voltage downlights only when it is not possible to use low voltage. Either way, please always employ a qualified electrician to do the work.

 If you still require advice please call our sales team who will happily assist you.

4 Need to Know Basics When Changing Your Downlights

4 Need to Know Basics When Changing Your Downlights
Looking to renew your ceiling lighting or even fit out a new room? Downlights offer a brilliant way to easily light your room offering even lighting and adjustability. But being one of the most popular light fittings there's a huge range that can quickly get confusing. Below are our 4 best tips to help you find the perfect downlights for your space.

Cut-out Size

The most important specification, the size of that hole in your ceiling. You only really need to worry about this if your fitting new lights in an old ceiling, if it’s a new build no need to worry.

So, certain lights are made certain sizes, doesn’t matter if two products use the same bulb, they can still be bigger or smaller than another. The simple way is to find lights that fit your current recess size exactly, but that might limit you in terms of product range. So you can easily go bigger, just drill a bigger hole, however you can’t go smaller without re-plastering your ceiling. And if you’ve got big old R80 fittings but want something new and more efficient? Well, check out our Downlight Convertors, a neat solution with easy installation that allows you to use modern energy saving bulbs without modifying your room.

Colour Temperature

Yellow, blue or bright white? Colour temperature is simply the colour of your light, there’s many available from 2500K (very yellow) to 6000k (very blue) with bright white somewhere in the middle. To choose it all depends on your space, a cosy more traditional lounge is best with 2500k to 3000k also known as warm white, a modern kitchen really stands out in 4000k (bright white), and for a workshop or industrial space 5000k (very bright white) is popular.

Mains or Low voltage

There’s a whole lot of differences between the two that we’ve covered in our ‘Low voltage or mains? What's best?’ blog. But short and sweet, mains bulbs are slightly more expensive but don’t require a transformer, meaning easier installation. Low voltage lamps have a wider variety of beam angles and slightly better colour definition. Want to keep it simple? Stick with mains. Want a higher quality light? Go low voltage.


Quickly becoming the standard for new lighting, LED lights offer huge energy savings, last around 10 times longer and reach maximum brightness straight away, no waiting to warm up. We recommend using LED lights in 99% of applications, they’re so worth it we all use them exclusively here. There’s two options here, use a normal fitting with an LED bulb, or use an integrated LED fitting with such a long lifetime that the lamp lasts the life of the entire fitting.

Looking for some more advice? The Lighting Styles Design Team are always available to answer any questions, just give us a call.
Eyeball Downlight for R50 Reflector Lamp

Eyeball Downlight for R50 Reflector Lamp

3 Products
Three Finishes Brass, Chrome or White
Dimmable Mains LED Fire-Rated IP65 Downlight
  • Sale

Dimmable Mains LED Fire-Rated IP65 Downlight

11 Products
Flat White Bezel Included - Optional Bezels Available
Trimless Plaster-in Downlight - Twin Lamp

Trimless Plaster-in Downlight - Twin Lamp

Easy to Install Design - Suitable for DIY
6w LED Downlight Converter - Three Finishes

6w LED Downlight Converter - Three Finishes

9 Products
White, Brushed Nickel or Chrome
Adjustable Square Trimless Fire Rated GU10 Downlight

Adjustable Square Trimless Fire Rated GU10 Downlight

For Any Ceiling Depth - Ceiling Must Be Skimmed
LED Adjustable Pull Out Downlight

LED Adjustable Pull Out Downlight

4 Products
Available in Black or White
Fixed Square Trimless Fire-Rated GU10 Downlight

Fixed Square Trimless Fire-Rated GU10 Downlight

For Any Ceiling Depth - Ceiling Must Be Skimmed
Dimmable Mains LED Fire-Rated IP65 Downlight
  • Sale

Dimmable Mains LED Fire-Rated IP65 Downlight

11 Products
Flat White Bezel Included - Optional Bezels Available
Elite HD 7w LED Fixed Fire Rated IP65 Downlight
  • Sale

Elite HD 7w LED Fixed Fire Rated IP65 Downlight

12 Products
Includes Dimmable LED Power Supply

There are so many fantastic ways to light your home that you often cannot see the way (excuse the pun) the best way to achieve a good result.  If you like a modern look which is fuss-free then consider downlights which give clean lines and provide simple yet effective lighting. Well positioned downlights can provide lighting to walls, artwork, architectural features or directional downward light for an intimate yet focused light.

If you are considering downlights and would like an idea on how to work out how many you require, then first consider these few points:

  • The size of the room/area
  • The ceiling height
  • Is it one room or an open plan space?
  • What is the room used for?
  • Are there areas in the room which require special focus? 

Once you have this considered this there are some simple steps to follow in helping you decide how many downlights you may require.

Step 1
Measure the square footage of the room by multiplying its width by its depth.

Step 2
Multiply this square footage by 1.5. This will give you a guideline for the total wattage required to light the space. By way of an example, if your kitchen is 15 foot x 15 foot, the total square footage is 225. Multiply this figure by 1.5 and the total wattage to light your room will be 337.

Step 3
Select the lamp (bulb) and wattage you want to use. Divide the total wattage figure previously calculated, 337 in the above example, by the lamp wattage you intend to use and this will give you the number of fixtures required.  For example 337 divided by 50 watt equals 6 downlights.  If you wanted a lower wattage such as 30 (337 divided by 30) you would require 11 downlights.  If you choose LED downlights check the listing description for their equivalent wattage or call the sales team for advice.

If your area is open plan then simply divide each area into separate spaces to make your calculations.

This is a rough guide you may find useful. Lighting Styles sales team, or your experienced electrician, will be able to give you further advice. The layout of your lighting may also vary in relation to your personal preference and the tone you want to create in the room. You should also consider where the ceiling joists are located which may hinder the installation design.

Ceiling Height
Light from your recessed fitting is thrown in a downward direction in the shape of a cone. The cones of light normally cross at least 30 inches from the floor. With a higher ceiling the light will intersect at a higher level so you will not require more downlights just a brighter or higher wattage.

Position your recessed downlights approximately 2 feet away from the edge of your walls onto your ceilings as a starting point. Try to avoid creating any shadows. Then space your downlights evenly across the room for a balanced look. As a rule of thumb, we suggest you divide your ceiling height by 2 to give you the space required between each downlight. For example if your ceiling is 8 foot high, then position your lights 4 feet apart. Again, this is only a guideline and you will get a feel for what works best in your individual space.

Dimmable downlights will help you control the light and set the mood – great for many spaces where you require good illumination at particular times but ambient lighting at others, for example in a living room.

Task Lighting
For focused lighting for example in a kitchen above a work surface (where food preparation takes place) use a downlight with a narrower beam angle. You can mix and match your beam angles for ambient and task lighting.  Adjustable downlights will also help you achieve this.

If you are using downlights in an area in which they could come in contact with water (a shower or bathroom) remember to choose an ingress protected option.