4 inch vs 6 inch recessed lighting – How to choose

Recessed lighting is a type of light fixture that is installed into the ceiling, wall, or floor. It is typically used to provide indirect or ambient light in a room.

Before installing recessed lighting, you should learn more about light sizes and various installation variants.

The most common recessed lighting sizes are 4-inch and 6-inch. But which one is better for your needs? Let’s compare and contrast their features and find out.

What are the three types of recessed lights?

There are three major types of recessed lighting which are ceiling lighting, wall lighting, and in-ground lighting.

Ceiling lights are the most common type of recessed lighting. They are used to produce uniform lights and general lighting. Recessed light has a wide beam angle and can evenly light up a large space.

Furthermore, they can be used for so-called “wall wash”. The wall washing effect is created when a large wall surface is lit at a wide angle, which will make your room look bigger.

You need to use appropriate recessed lighting fixtures to cast light on a wall surface in the most effective way.

Recessed wall lighting is installed on the wall, and they provide accent lighting. They are often used to highlight paintings or another wall d├ęcor.

In-ground lights are installed on the floor. They provide accent lighting and can be used to highlight objects or areas in a room. Furthermore, in-ground lighting is commonly used for outdoor lighting.

4-inch recessed lighting

It is the most popular type. It is ideal for small rooms with low ceilings, such as bathrooms and hallways.

Furthermore, you can install them on the room edges to have all the required light for your room. They are also cheaper than other types of recessed lights and are perfect for minimizing power consumption.

6-inch recessed lighting

It is often used in large rooms with higher ceilings. They are mostly installed overhead. Because of their larger diameter, they produce much lighting, which will make your entire room perfectly lit.

They can be installed in the middle of the room to provide focused light and eliminate room more brightly.

In some cases, 6-inch recessed lights can be more cost-effective than their 4-inch counterparts.

4-inch vs. 6-inch How to choose

Focus Lighting

4-inch recessed lighting is smaller and can be used to concentrate light on specific areas, such as a painting or a piece of furniture. 4-inch recessed lights can create a focal point to better grab people’s attention.

They are better for task lighting and don’t require much installation space.

6-inch recessed lighting is larger and provides more light overall, making it better for ambient lighting. Hence, these lights are rarely used for focus lighting purposes.

General Lighting

4-inch recessed lighting is better for general lighting in small rooms with low ceilings.

6-inch recessed lighting is better for general lighting in larger rooms with higher ceilings. Use bigger recessed lights for overhead lighting to achieve brighter light in your room.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is a type of lighting that is used to highlight a specific object or area in a room. It is usually brighter than the general lighting in the room.

4-inch recessed lights are often used for accent lighting because they can be focused on a specific object. There are also more specialty trims available for this light size, which makes them better for accent lighting applications.

6-inch recessed lights can also be used for accent lighting, but they provide more light overall and may not be as focused.

Ceiling Lighting

First of all, you should consider your ceiling angle and ceiling height before choosing recessed lighting.

The angle of your ceiling will affect how the light is distributed in the room.

For sloped ceilings, it is recommended to use 4-inch recessed lighting. 6-inch recessed lighting can also be used, but the light may not be distributed as evenly. Furthermore, 4-inch recessed lighting is more visible on sloped ceilings.

If you have high ceilings, you should install a larger recessed light, such as a 6-inch.

How much light do they provide?

4-inch lights typically range from 500 to 900 lumens.

6-inch lights typically range from 800 to 1400 lumens.

The wattage of the light bulb is not a good indicator of the light output. Instead, look for the lumen value to compare different recessed lights.

Which recessed lighting size should I use?

It depends on your needs. If you want to focus light on a specific area, then 4-inch recessed lighting is a good option. If you need more light overall or have tall ceilings, then 6-inch recessed lighting is a better choice.

For bigger rooms, such as dining rooms, bedrooms, and living rooms, 6-inch recessed lighting is recommended, as it can illuminate the whole room more effectively.

4-inch recessed lights have a compact size and are more cost-effective. You can decrease your monthly electric bill even more by using LED lights as they are more energy efficient.

Can you use two lighting sizes in the same room?

It is possible to use two different sizes of recessed lighting in the same room to create effective lighting. However, it is important to consider the overall look of the room and the amount of light that is needed.

Your main goal is to achieve balanced lighting and to do it, and you need to properly determine lighting layers for your room.

Remember! There is no need to install larger recessed light if 4-inch recessed light is enough for your room size.

Generally, it is recommended to use the same size of recessed lighting throughout the room for a cohesive look. However, you can use different sizes of recessed lighting if it suits your needs and the design of your room.


As you can see, the physical size difference of recessed lights matters when deciding which one to use. Choosing the right size of recessed lighting is important because it can impact the amount of light in the room, the look of the room, and energy-saving capabilities.

Make sure to choose high-quality options, such as LEDs, and the appropriate can size for your needs to create an inviting, well-lit space.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.