One of the most practical and economical ways to light an outdoor area is with down lights. The light is made to fit into an opening in the ceiling (also known as recessed), rather than using a wall-mounted light. They are extremely useful in providing illumination in outdoor areas such as outdoors kitchens, covered porches or patios, to light up the table and the area where you want to eat, relax or have a fun barbecue party.
Whether you need a few decorative spots or a lot of lighting for a big project, there's a good chance that a quality outdoor down light will fit the bill.
If you are thinking to brighten up your outdoor area at night but you don’t want these lights to get in the way, your best option is downlights. You will have the lights from above pointing down rather than up or out which is perfect to be the main source of light or task lighting.
Zest Lighting outdoor downlights help most homeowners illuminate their outdoor areas with this type of lighting. It is perfect for replacing exterior house lights. These outdoor downlights provide security and can even be used for holiday decor.
5 Considerations before buying LED Down Lights
Many interior designers are now shifting from halogen lamps to LED downlights. LED downlights are a great way to save energy and reduce your lighting costs. They're easy to install in existing sockets in your outdoor balconies or covered porches.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you replace your old downlights with LED ones. In fact, small room downlights have the fastest payback time. For those new to LED technology, here’s all you need to know about installing an LED downlight in your home.
When choosing downlights, consider the location and what you will be lighting. This will determine the size of the downlight or recessed light fixtures. The location will also help you know the power of your lighting fixture (Watts) and how much space is available in the ceiling void. Zest Lighting has a set of questions you can ask yourself related to the location.
How will you use the space or room?
How big is it?
Is it one room or an open-plan space?
How high is the ceiling?
Are there things in the area that needs special focus?
Now that you have thought about these things and probably have the answers to them, let's continue learning the things you should know before buying LED downlights.
LEDs come in a vast range of brightness levels. The guide questions above also serve as reminders why you should have the answers. So when choosing a LED down light for your outdoor area, decide how bright you need it to be.
It's best to choose a light bulb based on what you plan to use it for. Do you need bright light in the area because you have a kitchen workspace outdoors or it’s a covered deck that is better with softer tones?
Note that the brightness of a light bulb is measured in lumens (lm). This is indicated on Zest Lighting LED Downlights product pages and you are always welcome to contact us in case you need more details related to the light output of the product.
If you are interested to know, lumen counts for home general lighting can range from 300-800lm, but they can also be 150-20,000lm.
The next thing to consider before buying outdoor down lights is the colour temperature. You can put yourself at ease as this is also included in our product specifications.
For the colour temperature, you have 2 options to choose from. It is the Warm White, also known as yellow white ranges from 2700K-3200K. The light from warm whites appears to have a yellow tinge, which creates a cozy atmosphere and gives you a feeling of contentment. And with the effect that it creates, it will be best suited for your outdoor dining area and patios.
There are also Cool White temperatures that are above 4000K. Typically, this colour temperature works better in kitchens and bathrooms with clearer lights. So if you have an extended kitchen outside, you will go for this option.
Your outdoor area probably has a high chance of accumulating airborne moisture. This is an important consideration for you to know the IP Rating of the LED downlight. IP stands for Ingress Protection and followed by numbers that tell the degree of protection this light fixture against water or foreign objects like dust. IP44 or with a higher rating would be the best option as your outdoor downlight.
Zest Lighting specifically includes the cut-out size on the product description since it is helpful for our customers who already have cut into their ceilings and want to fit in the downlight to the holes they have.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are still a lot of people who haven’t installed LED downlights in their homes. And these are some of their common questions:
Where should I place downlights?
It is important to consider how light will fall over a space so it’s best to plan the layout of your downlights. When you have LED downlights, you want to put them in the best places. One can be used by itself as the dominant light source and make a place really shiny. You can also use LED downlights in groups with or without another type of light to help illuminate a part of your space.
If you are unsure of where to place your downlights, here are some factors you should consider.
Pick a focal point
If you're designing a lighting arrangement for a kitchen, start above the workspaces, like the benches, stove, and sink. You can distribute the remaining downlights around the area once you have your starting point or the center of attention. If in case there is no specific object or area in your outdoor space that you want to highlight, you can then have your first LED downlight directly in the middle.
Avoid ceiling edges and corners
Downlights placed too close to a wall will cast unappealing shadows around the ceiling's edge where it meets the wall. This is a waste of light, and if your outdoor living space is small, it will appear even smaller rather than larger.
To avoid this, make sure to start your downlights 2-3 ft away from a wall and spread the down lights evenly from there.
A lot of your outdoor decks have fans. Make sure to keep the downlights away from the spinning diameter of the fan blades if you have one installed. Otherwise, this will cause a flickering effect throughout the area.
A recessed LED downlight emits light downwards in the shape of a cone. These light cones should intersect about 75cm above the floor. This means that a higher ceiling does not require additional downlights to produce a suitable pool of light.
This method is often used to space downlights. You divide the height of the ceiling by two, and that's how far apart they go. You should also think about other things like how your outdoor area looks, what it will be used for, and some features that need a highlight.
How many downlights should I use?
The number of downlights you should have for your space depends on the size of your space, the amount of ambient light it gets and the features you want your lighting to have. Plan your lighting plan before buying a number of downlights and not waste any of the fixtures. You can always refer to the key factor we have listed above.
What are the best downlights suitable for outdoors?
Interior and exterior lighting should be different from each other, thus IP44 rated outdoor downlights are the ideal choice for external use in soffit and facias as they are designed to be weatherproof.
Can I change my halogen downlights to LED downlights?
When you're thinking about retrofitting a halogen downlight, your options are either to replace the existing bulb or upgrade the entire lighting system (the fitting, the bulb, and its drive and dimming system).
It's important to check with a professional before you change out your halogens because the electricity and light in your house might not be good for some LED bulbs. It's best to use a bulb made for that kind of light. If you go for full LED lights, it will give you better quality light than you would get with other types of bulbs like halogens and CFLs.
You can use our dimmable downlights to have bright lights when you need them and less bright lights when you don't. They let you choose your own brightness. This is better than having lights that are always bright because you will use less energy, and it teaches your family how to use energy more efficiently. Use dimmer switches to control different zones of an open-plan space for a variety of lighting effects.
Task Lighting with Outdoor Downlights
Task lighting, as the name suggests, is a method of lighting areas where you do most of the work. For example, nooks for reading or in the kitchen for cooking.
Recessed downlights instantly become the best choice in kitchen design as general and task lighting because of their practicality and style.
And kitchens are now the beating heart of modern homes, which are not just located indoors but are also included in the outdoor living area. You know this fact, that our kitchen is now a place to gather and socialize, besides how we use it traditionally for cooking and preparing meals. It added a sense of enjoyment when placed on our decks or patios.
We compiled some practical tips that you can use for a recessed downlights plan below:
Kitchen Counters: If you want to use an outdoor downlight above your kitchen work surface, choose one with a narrower beam angle. But you can always combine narrow and wide beam angles for ambient and task lighting.
Dining Tables: On dining tables, we always want to avoid casting unwanted shadows. So the best practice is to position the downlight slightly in front of the person seated not directly on the seating area or behind it.
It is also common to have downlights concentrated in areas where people read and gather. You spend a lot of time in these spaces, so you are looking at flat surfaces like books, magazines, and phones.
In case you’re planning to have a cozy reading nook on your extended balcony, consider how bright the outdoor downlights will reflect on these surfaces. So you want to make your viewing experience as comfortable as possible and with less glare or eye strain. Here’s another practical tip we find for your best outdoor experience.
Reading Corner: Instead of focusing a single downlight directly on the seating area, place two adjustable downlights on either side of the seating position. Having two or more lights reduces shadows. There will be less glare as there will be no light beam reflected back into the person’s eye. If you are interested in adjustable recessed downlights, we have Deep 10W Recessed Adjustable LED Downlight Kit - Black best downlight for your outdoor reading area.
Down lights are an excellent choice for homeowners who want a flexible lighting solution. Combined with energy-saving LED bulbs, down lights can be another way to use modern and efficient lighting throughout an entire home.
For more information and to check our best downlighting products, contact Zest Lighting today.