Changing the Beam Spread in Recessed Lights
Choosing a bulb with a narrower spread will keep the light where you want it.
We have installed recessed lighting above the bed for reading. We purchased the bulbs recommended — 20W MR16s — and gimbal trim for the housing. The light beam is quite big and when I inquired about a recessed trim that would give a narrower beam, I was told that there is a recessed trim available but it is not able to be directed at an angle. So it must be installed directly above the person who will be using it, rather than above the person beside you. Have you heard of this before and do you have a solution?

You don't have to change the trim; you just need to change the bulb to one with a tighter beam spread. There is an MR16 with a 10-degree beam spread (narrow spot) and one with a 15-degree beam spread (spot). My guess is that you were supplied with one with a 30-degree beam spread. My recommendation is that you consider an LED version. Then you could have the equivalent of 50W of dimmable illumination for 11.5W of power consumption.

Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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Randall, I have a 45 degree

Randall, I have a 45-degree pitch ceiling over a kitchen table that rises to 17 feet. I want to put dimmable narrow spread LED recessed cans in. I am thinking of 15-degree, 2700K, 50W mr16 with adjustable reflector or gimbal. what are your thoughts? Chris

Sloping Solutions

You have a very drastic pitch in your ceiling, and I don't think recessed fixtures are the way to go. My fear is that they will always be hitting you in the eye, creating uncomfortable glare. My suggestion is to use two or three pendant fixtures along the ridge line in order to provide illumination for the space. These would be hung high enough so that they don't relate specifically to the location of the kitchen table, but instead to the architecture of the ceiling line. If the pitch is not centered in the room, then I would recommend two or three indirect light sources mounted on the wall space located above the doorway and below the high point of the ceiling. You can also create a cantilever above the door line that would hide a run of continuous LED indirect lighting. If you make the cantilever thick enough, you can install recessed adjustable fixtures on the underside for accent lighting. The 2700° Kelvin is the color of incandescent light at full brightness. Most people put their incandescent bulbs on dimmers, which brings the color temperature down to 2400° Kelvin. I use the 2400° Kelvin bulbs in my house and really like the color. Whatever color temperature you select, make sure that the CRI (color rendering index) is 90 or higher. This ensures that the color quality of the light is closest to that of incandescent. I hope that this helps, Randall

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