There are many types of home spotlights. From track lights to adjustable recessed lights to a single wall or ceiling-mounted fixtures, the number of spotlights you’ll need will vary depending on the style and size of your home.
You may only need a few spotlights for a small home to provide adequate lighting in key areas. You might need several more for a larger home to brighten up the space. And for a very large home, you might need an entire system of spotlights to create the perfect lighting scheme.
There is a crossover with downlights, as these are essentially non-adjustable spotlights,
But how do you know how many spotlights per square metre you need? The answer isn’t always simple, but there are a few things you can keep in mind to help you make the best decision for your home.
How Many Spotlights should you use?
If you’ve read our guide to downlights, you’ll be pleased to know that the process is essentially the same – however, be aware that too many spotlights can become an eyesore if running them in as track lights or adjustable light fixtures. If you go with canned fixtures, you can get away with a little more. Here’s how to calculate the required number of lights you’ll need to achieve a suitable illumination.
1. Calculate the area
Measure the room, and multiply the length by the width, using feet for this calculation. For example, 13ft x 10ft = 130 square feet.
2. Estimate the required wattage.
If you are using LED downlights, multiple the above number by 0.3.
For example: 130 x 0.3 = 39 Watts
If you are using halogen downlights, multiple the above number by 1.5
For example: 130 x 1.5 = 195 Watts.
3. Look up the wattage on the bulb you will use.
For example, a 10 Watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 42 Watt halogen bulb.
4. Calculate how many downlights you will need.
Divide the answer from step 2 by the wattage value in step 3.
So, for example, if you’ve opted to go with LEDs at 10 Watts each, your calculation would be 39 / 10 = 3.9 bulbs. We’d round up to 4.
If you stick with halogen, your calculation would be 195 / 42 = 4.6 bulbs. We’d round that up to 5.
https://www.thelightbulb.co.uk/resources/lumens_watts/ (Wattage comparison table)
For kitchens, if you mix lighting styles in the room, for example, with track-mounted spotlights combined with recessed lighting – you can use the above calculation to determine how many of each type you need. Better yet, if you put the different lights onto separate circuits, you can enjoy changing the ambience in the room when cooking is finished.
In bathrooms, it’s worth considering the usage of the room. You’ll often want flattering light as you pass the bathroom mirror rather than the stronger light that would be appropriate in kitchens. Therefore, once you’ve calculated the number of lights using our process above, consider rounding down rather than up or even deducting a couple.
As a general rule, try not to have too many light sources in a single room. It can create an unpleasant ‘cave’ effect where the eye constantly darts from one light to another. If you have a lot of natural light coming into the room, you may be able to get away with fewer spotlights.
It’s easy to calculate the appropriate number of downlights for any room:
1) Calculate the area of the room (length x width in feet)
2) Estimate the required wattage (area x 0.3 for LED, 1.5 for halogen)
3) Find out the wattage of the bulb you’re using (10W LED = 42W halogen)
4) Calculate how many downlights you need (the area from step 2 divided by wattage from step 3.
There is no definitive answer, but as a general rule, spotlights should be around 1 metre (3 feet) apart. This allows for an even distribution of light without creating too much glare. Keep them at least 60cm away from the wall.
Want to know how many spotlights in kitchen zones are appropriate? Kitchens are areas that need a lot of task lighting to cook safely. Here’s our quick breakdown of how many spotlights you’ll need in each kitchen zone, though you may need less depending on the layout of your kitchen and how much natural light it gets.
Cooking area: 4-6 spotlights
Sink area: 2-4 spotlights
Food preparation area: 2-4 spotlights
As a rule of thumb, try to have at least one light source per work surface.
Use our spotlight calculator process above to figure out the appropriate number of downlights for any room in your home. Remember to consider the different types of light you might want to use and the effect you’re hoping to create. For example, how many downlights in a bedroom area will differ from downlights in a living room? Can the illumination you want be achieved through brighter bulbs, or do you need to include additional lights?