How to Install Spotlights?


Spotlights are incredibly useful for lighting both the inside and the outside of your home. Your bathroom, living room and even your kitchen lighting are massively improved with spotlights. 

Spotlights are not incredibly difficult to install on your own. With a little bit of reading and some preparation, anyone can do it. However, that doesn’t mean you should just give it a try without learning exactly what you should do first. 

Before you attempt anything dangerous, make sure you read through our entire guide. That way, you’ll have the knowledge and serious warnings to ensure that your DIY attempts are safe and successful.

interrior spotlights

Safety Warning

The first thing that you must know is that you should never work on an active circuit. Before you do anything, make sure you disconnect any electrical circuits going through the area where you are working. 

If you have a voltage meter, test the current at the fuse box. If there is any current at all, find the source and disconnect it. You wouldn’t want to reach the wiring stage of installing your spotlights and receive a shock, would you? 

You should also ensure that you don’t cross any currents. When you wire the spotlights, your complete circuit should go around them one by one, but never back to one that has already been wired up. 

The Simplicity of Installing a Basic Spotlight

When you want to install the light outdoors on a wall or anything else, it isn’t difficult to do. You just need to follow the wiring stage of the guide to ensure that you connect them together and hook them up to the power correctly. 

If you’re using basic spotlights, skip step 2. You still need to plan the locations in step 1, but then you can go straight to step 3. 

However, for recessed spotlights, you will need to plan in even more detail and follow step 2 very closely. Take a look!

Fitting Recessed Spotlights

bathroom spotlights

1 – Plan and Determine the Locations Where You intend to Install the Spotlights

Before you do anything else, you need to have completed a plan of where each of your spotlights will be placed. You shouldn’t put them too close together, especially with recessed spotlights. If there are too many in one place, it will make the room far too bright and create a potential fire hazard. 

We recommend keeping your recessed spotlights a minimum of 1.2 meters (4 feet) apart. However, you should be fine with them 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart if you plan to use LED bulbs, which we recommend you do.

All that is left for you to do is measure the area of the room in which you plan to install recessed spotlights. Simply multiply the length by the width if you don’t already know the area. 

Let’s assume the room is 48 square meters (516 square feet). Let’s also assume its length is 8 meters (26.67 square feet) and the width is 6 meters (20 square feet). You won’t need lights in the corners of the room, so you will place one 1.5 meters (5 feet) in from the wall. Lengthwise you will need four or five lights. As for the width, you’ll need only three. 

Now you know that you will need around 12 spotlights to light up the room evenly. You don’t necessarily need to have a spotlight every 1.5 meters (5 feet) – you could choose to make it every 2 meters if you feel that would give your room better balance or your budget only allows that much. However, the average bulb lights up an area of 1.5 metres, so it would be best to stick to our original approximation. 

2 – Carefully Cut Out the Holes in Your Ceiling

Now that you know where each of your spotlights need to be installed, you can proceed to cut out the areas of ceiling where you mean to install them. Before you do so, consider the three factors that will affect what size holes you cut:

  • The size of the recessed spotlight
  • The height of the lighting unit
  • The complete diameter of the bulb which will need to be visible from the ceiling

Once you’ve measured out all these factors, you will know the diameter and the depth of which you need to cut. You need to cut the hole with the exact measurements that you gained. If the hole is too big, then the spotlight won’t be stable. 

While most recessed spotlights have similar dimensions, there are too many different sizes to give you a specific measurement that will work for them all. You must measure the lighting units yourself in order to cut the perfect holes. 

3 – Wire the Spotlights While They are Still Loose

Spotlights are wired with radial circuits. A radial circuit is a single circuit that includes all of the spotlights. This means that you will wire the first spotlight to the fuse box, then connect the wire to the second spotlight and so on until you reach the last spotlight which gets wired to the other connection in the fuse box. 

Again, make sure to connect each spotlight only once. Crossing wires will easily cause a short circuit, potentially destroying all of your spotlight bulbs or at worst starting a fire. Test the circuit with your voltage meter before moving on to the next step. 

4 – Insert the Wired Spotlights into the Ceiling Holes

Now that you’ve wired all of your recessed spotlights and tested them to make sure the circuit is stable you can finish installing them. All you need to do is squeeze the spotlight into the hole you’ve made until it clicks into place. There should be a couple of springs that will lock in place after you’ve got the spotlight in the correct location.

hallway spotlights

Remember that if you run into any trouble that you aren’t confident in dealing with on your own, there are plenty of professionals out there who can help you. Don’t risk your safety if you think you can’t complete the project on your own.

That’s all you need to know to install your own spotlights. While we one discussed specifically about recessed spotlights, you can apply the same method to other spotlights and simply ignore the cutting process. 

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