Recessed or flushed basement ceiling lighting

Hey Everyone. I hope you’re all well. Wondering if anyone has an opinion/recommendations on downlighting for a basement that I’m refinishing. Unfortunately, the basement has a low ceiling height. There’s also very few windows. It doesn’t matter if the lights are ‘smart’ as I could always use a Caseta switch to control them (I also have a Hue Hub), but it would be nice to have either a full-spectrum or different color-rendering capabilities. I just don’t want that feeling of being in a dungeon again like my previous basement. Thanks!

I am a big fan of Commercial Electric SMART LED lights. They are zigbee and don't seem to route even though they are mains powered which is a big plus to keep your network kosher. They are CT bulbs, no RGB and come in 4-5in and 6in varieties

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For a low ceiling (I’m guessing seven foolish) lighting application I would use recessed cans. Most any brand will work. A couple of things to look for in the ones you choose. The lamp holder must be adjustable (they usually are).

If you have insulation in the ceiling the fixture must be rated for contact with insulation. The fixture model usually includes the “IC” identifier for in contact.

The important part of installing a recessed fixture is the setup. If you want a more intimate feel in the room adjust the lamp position deep into the fixture. If you want a generally bright look to the room, let the lamp protrude slightly.

Welcome to the world of Hubitat, and the fantastic, supportive community of owners.


Thanks guys. I’m familiar with the IC-ratings and various options since I’ve been remodeling homes for several years and work with architects. I also had Commercial Electric Downlights in my old basement remodel and liked them very much however it still didn’t feel “natural” per se. the ceiling is 6’2 unfortunately with old rough 2x4s (actual dimensions) joists in some spots so I need something low profile. just didn’t know if anyone had any recent experience with newer options for better color rendering.

I bought a bunch of cheap inexpensive led tracklighting from Home Depot and mounted them to the joists - my basement is mostly unfinished though. Seems to work well. Control everything with a lutron switch. Strictly on/off. My ceiling might be a tad higher but not by much and were I to ever finish it I would leave the joists/beams exposed otherwise it would be too cramped I think.

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Ah, more details. Thanks that helps. I would recommend led strip lighting.

Be sure to put it in an aluminum channel made for LED strips. They even made one that is made to be recessed in a ceiling, if you are willing to put in the extra effort. There are also options for the lens that covers it. To see the individual LEDs less, use a deeper channel and a thicker lens. However, deeper channels will focus the light more, and thicker lenses will reduce the brightness slightly.

I use LED strips a lot. My favorite controllers are made by [Dresden Elektronik](Wireless Ballast Phoscon FLS-CT lp - Light Design for Powerful Color Temperature Control The link is to the one that controls WW/CW color temperature adjustable strips. There are other models for other types of strips. (RGBW strips can be fun.). Use 24v strips. You can power more length with one controller. I will lookup the driver link and post it later.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you want more information on my choices. I’d like to see what you end up doing.

BTW, if you have a Hue hub as a part of your system, the DE controllers can be connected to it, since they implement Zigbee LightLink. It works great with Hue.

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Here is the driver code for the Dresden Elektronik controller. GitHub - odwp/dresden-elektronik-FLS-CT: Smartthings driver for Dresden Elektronik FLS-CT white LED color temperature adjustable ballast

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Unfortunately, it may be a couple of months as I’m working with limited space and juggling a toddler now. I’d probably reserve LED strips for storage areas and not so much ceiling. It would be nice to illuminate shelving with motion detection.

In my old place, I wired inexpensive rolls of warm white and some colored LEDs to a few ballasts I found on amazon then connected them to Lutron plug-in wall modules (5-6 years ago on Wink.) I found I didn’t use the color changing (via the provided remote) options much]. I loved my under-cabinet lighting which I’m missing in our new house. The one thing I’d do differently now is to get ones with the covers as you suggested to help diffuse the LEDs, but just the cover seem a bit pricey.