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Choose the Right LED Downlight for your Home

LED downlights use a different technology than the standard bulb, so we have put together a quick guide of the key points that make up LED technology to help you choose the right LED for your home.

What colour should you choose?

Lighting is a great for setting the mood, but you need to make sure you are choosing the right colour for the spaces they are intended for. And, by this, we don’t mean do you choose red or blue, we are referring to colour temperature.

Light colour temperature refers to the “colour” tint of the white light emitted from your downlight. This colour is measured in kelvins (k) which most commonly range from 1500k up to 6500k. This measure of colour temperature is not to be confused with the brightness (measured in lumens) or power consumption (measured in watts) of the light.

Warm white is a comfortable light colour which is ideal for all areas of the house, in particular living areas and bedrooms. It generally falls on the lower end of the kelvin scale, between 2700-3300k.

Cool White is a lot brighter and is generally used in laundries, garages and, often, kitchens. Cool white generally falls between 3300-5300k.

Natural White, or daylight, sits between 5300-6000k on the kelvin scale, and is thought, as it’s name suggests, to most closely resemble natural light. It tends to be used more in retail and commercial spaces.

LED Downlight and the Kelvin Measure of Colour Temperature

Brightness level

To understand the “brightness” an LED downlight will provide, we need to look at the luminous flux, which is measured in lumens. The lumen output is the measure of visible light emitted from a light source. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. This differs to traditional forms of lighting, where wattage was generally a good measure of brightness.


Another important term you may come across in your downlight journey is “lux”. Lux is simply a measure of illuminance, or the level of light intensity. This measure is used in combination with lumens to describe the illumination of a one metre square surface that is one metre away from the light source. In simple terms, lux is the term used to describe lumens per square metre.

Beam angle

The beam angle is the amount of light that spreads from the downlight, and is measured in degrees. We talk about beam angle with downlights because they are a recessed fitting. A regular light globe for instance, being exposed, would have a beam angle of 360°. The beam angle of downlights varies anywhere from a narrow beam of 15°, creating a very concentrated light, to a wide beam angle of 120°.

Selecting the most appropriate beam angle for your downlights, it is important to consider the space they are being installed.Remember, bigger is not always better.Too wide a beam angle, and you can create “hot spots” of overlapping light. Too narrow an angle, and you may be left with dark patches in your space.

For general lighting from downlights, the Lighting Council Australia recommends a beam angle of

Your LED Downlight and Beam Angle

IC Rating

IC stands for Insulation Contact, and this a rating created to determine if a recessed downlight is suitable to come into contact with the building insulation or not. Most Australian homes are protected with insulation in the walls and ceilings, which acts as a barrier and is crucial for keeping the home cool in summer and warm in winter.  When an LED downlight is given an IC rating, it means that it is suitable to come into contact with insulation without becoming a fire hazard.

Where to install and how many

If this is your first-time installing downlights one of the common questions asked is how far apart downlights should be, and how many in a room is too many.

To accurately calculate how many downlights your space will need, it is important to consider the colour temperature, lumens, and beam angle that will be appropriate to where they are being installed. To read more about this, as well as look at a real life example, you can download our eGuide, Your Ultimate LED Downlight Buying Guide.

Your electrician will also be able to guide you in the installation process, but as a quick guide there are a few things you can consider as a starting point at home.

  • Start from the corners of your space and work your way in to the centre to ensure adequate light is provided to all corners of the room.
  • Ensure your downlights are placed at least 60cm from the wall. Why 60cm? It is a standard depth measurement for most cupboards, shelving, bookcases, etc. This will ensure your downlights are not casting shadows.
  • Space your downlights between 90cm and 120cm apart.
LED Downlight - How many is too many?


We recommend choosing a quality brand product with the longest warranty. This could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in the future if the light was ever to fail.  Many of our products offer a 3 year in home warranty as standard, giving you peace of mind.

Some final points to consider

  • Buying a tri-colour downlight will allow you to select between warm white, cool white and daylight colour temperatures. This can save you some heartache if you aren’t happy with the colour temperature after installation.
  • Select the same colour temperature throughout open spaces within your home. There is nothing worse than cool white in the kitchen that flows onto warm white in the living room. In more open areas of your home, select a colour that may not be ideal, but will work across the different spaces to maintain continuity.
  • Select your downlights in a commonly used size. A 90mm downlight, for instance, is commonly used, and therefore you are likely to get them a little cheaper than a more custom size.
  • Only buy your downlights from a trusted Australian company whose downlights will meet Australian standards and Australian manufacturing warranties. There are a lot of cheaper imports available online that may not comply with Australian standards.

If you would like more information about installing LED Downlights, contact one of the lighting experts at Rovert Lighting & Electrical. We can help you sort through the LED downlight jargon to find the ideal downlights for your home.

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