Sizes and numbers of downlighters

I'm planning to install a new planked ceiling in the kitchen and include an array of recessed downlighters to replace the existing ugly fluorescent fitting. Does anyone know if there is a website that gives guidance on the numbers and sizes of halogen lamps needed? What I'm looking for is an effect that gives an even spread rather than patchy light and dark, so I guess a larger number of 20w LV lamps would be better than fewer 50w.
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We`ve got 11*50W 240v halogens in our kitchen, and its not that big a kitchen (approx 14 foot * 7 foot) - 2*4 lamp fittings at either end, and a 3 lamp fitting central.
You might have guessed that these are not recessed by the way :-}
Having moved from 9*R80 60W lamps to the halogen, i`ve been a little surprised about just how directional the light really is, so although the overall lighting level is similar to what it was it can still seem a little patchy.
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We found the same. But the latest 75W GU10s seem to have a slightly wider beam (bigger bulb ?) so we've changed to them. But check your fittings are OK to do this.
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The problem with using light fittings (as mentioned by previous respondents, is that because there is allways some space above them this highlights the shadowing effect of the halogens, so the eye perceives the patchiness much more than with recessed downlighters.
In my last kitchen which was ~13' x 8' I installed two rows of 5 20W LV halogens (from B&Q - almost free - I think total cost was ~£30) and had no problems with patchiness. The downlighters were eyeball units (all they had in silver) and I did use the tilt facility on a couple to reduce the effect of shadowing due to standing between the light and an appliance. The other thing I did do was to put in additional 10W halogens underneath the wall cupboards which provides additional light to the worksurface areas which would be shadowed by the cupboards. These have a dramatic effect on the feeling of light and warmth in the room.
Two things to be wary of - you will need MUCH more light if you plan to use dark wall colours (not splashback but background colour) and make sure you get flood bulbs rather than directional spots (halogens come in 3 different illumination angles). You might have a problem if your planked ceiling is a dark colour as clearly this will not get as much illumination as from the existing fitting, but you will get a similar problem with any recessed lighting.
Other than that, go for it it looks good.
Fash
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In that case, you have chosen the wrong type of lighting. Halogen downlighters always seem to give pools of light. Have you consdiered low energy downlighters? They need a much larger hole (typically 125-150mm), but do give a much more even spread of light. The alternative might be semi-recessed halogen units, which have a ring-shaped diffuser spaced off the ceiling. That spreads some of the light across the ceiling and not only makes the ceiling appear less dark (another problem of halogen downlighters), but also relieves the pooling effect. However, they do work best if the ceiling is white.
Colin Bignell
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That's what halogen downlighters do, I'm afraid. You might want to consider another solution. In my kitchen I used 2 semi flush etched glass covered fittings each with 2 15W bulbs, with loads of task lighting, mainly of 18W tubes. This gives 60W of CFL main lighting, which isn't overbright, with 102W of fluorescent tubes behind the pelmets. These gives loads of light where it is needed without requiring the addition of another belching power station. Some people's halogen solutions end up taking as much as 2kW of lighting, meaning your kitchen would probably need air conditioning to be able to be habitable outside winter.
Christian.
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snipped-for-privacy@blueyonder.co.uk (Dave) wrote:

I don't think you're ever going to eliminate the patchy effect with LV halogen downlighters. As the name says, they are downlighters and unlike your fluorescent, very little of their light goes up to hit the ceiling; it is this light diffused from the ceiling which gives such a nice even coverage.
By contrast a typical beam-width for a halogen seems to be 40 degrees. Imagine a 45 degree cone of light from the ceiling and you will realise that what you get is parabolas (hyperbolas?) of light hitting the walls. This can look quite effective, but it does mean that you have to be very careful about placement or you will end up casting your own shadow on the worktop whenever you are trying to, say, roll out the pastry.
With a new ceiling this is going to be easier. For example, if you place the lights just over the edge of the worktop (i.e. for a 60cm depth from wall, place the lights at 50cm) then the worktop should be well illuminated, as should any drawers you pull out. Obviously floor cupboards will still be dark, but that goes for other lighting schemes too. It also gets a little complicated if you have a lot of wall cupboards :-)
Solutions to these problems often suggested here include separate under-cabinet lights and pelmet lights shining up to the ceiling.
Two more things you may like to consider:
1: recessed uplighters can, especially if they are of the dichroic (or "cool beam") variety, chuck a *lot* of heat into the ceiling void. Take the manufacturer's instructions for minimum clearances very seriously indeed. Planning exact positions can take a lot of time if you have to avoid joists and in-ceiling wiring.
2: replacing a single fluorescent with a bunch of downlighters is likely to lead to higher electricity bills - you are increasing the installed wattage by quite a bit.
Hwyl!
M.
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There are free lighting design CD from most of the big companies ... I had a new one last month from ILLUMA.
Rick

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