The New Recessed Lighting: Dots & Dashes

It’s time to take everything you thought you knew about recessed lighting and throw it away. Traditional recessed lighting will soon be a thing of the past. Developments in minimalist LED recessed lighting offer a brand new array of tools to create dynamic layers of light and stunning architectural accents. This new architectural recessed lighting is now one of your greatest allies in flawless modern lighting design.

PureEdge Lighting’s collection of Recessed Dots & Dashes is a shining example of this LED innovation at work. Dots are ceiling downlights that offer discreet accent, general, and sometimes targeted task lighting. Dashes are seamless linear LED lighting systems recessed into ceilings or walls as thin as 5/8”, offering maximum design flexibility. Dashes provide elegant ambient illumination, unique architectural accents, and occasionally task lighting. Combine these two types of recessed lights together for a powerful, minimalist lighting design toolkit that achieves stunning results. Open up your space with endless possibilities -- it’s time to start thinking differently.

Great lighting acts as a silent tour guide in your home – directing focus to what’s important – while setting the mood for each room. Let’s explore creative ways to use recessed dots and dashes as task, accent, and ambient lighting in each room.

Task Lighting

Task Lighting offers localized light for specific, high-concentration tasks, which vary from room to room. Always start by asking yourself “how will this space be used?” Whether grooming in the bathroom mirror, reading in the living room or behind a computer in the office, task lighting should always be there to assist you, and recessed dots and dashes do just that.

In the Bathroom

The bathroom is where you get ready in the morning and unwind at the end of the day. There are plenty of bathroom activities that require task lighting—applying makeup, shaving, putting in contacts, we all have our routine. High quality illumination that offers enough light while flattering the face is a must.

How to use recessed dots and recessed linear dashes as task lighting in bathrooms:

Recessed linear LEDs around the edges of the mirror offer sleek, minimalist vanity lighting suited for any task. TruLine 1.6A offers soft, warm-colored light that projects toward your face from all sides while avoiding harsh shadows. You can achieve similar results with Light Channel 1.5.

Ceiling downlights work best when installed 1’ from the wall, aimed directly into the sink. The sink acts as a reflector to project softer light upwards towards the face.

For an in-depth look at task lighting in bathrooms, read Beautiful Bathroom Lighting Design.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen features a bustle of movement and activity around countertops, islands, and your kitchen table. Common tasks include food prep, cooking, eating, cleaning, and doing homework. Kitchen task lighting keeps the heart of your home thrumming.

How to use recessed dots and recessed linear dashes as task lighting in kitchens:

Adjustable recessed ceiling lights offer great task lighting for kitchen islands when placed correctly. Reduce reflected glare from countertops by angling the lights 30 degrees toward the island surface. Avoid dark spots and light the workspace evenly by overlapping the beams.

Recess Light Channel Millwork into the underside of cabinets to light perimeter countertops with smooth, linear illumination without dark spots.

For an in-depth look at task lighting in kitchens, read our Kitchen Lighting Tips.

In the Living Room

The living room is a place to unwind and spend time with loved ones. Reading is the main task that needs lighting in here.

How to use recessed dots as task lighting in living rooms:

Install adjustable ceiling downlights 1’ behind your couch or favorite reading chair. The light should come over your shoulder from above and behind.

Accent Lighting

Once you plan the task lighting in a room, the next step is accent lighting. Accent lighting adds dimension to a space by highlighting architectural features, calling attention to artwork, and placing visual emphasis on whatever deserves to be noticed.

How to use recessed dots as accent lighting:

Adjustable accent lighting is a common form of recessed lighting that works well for highlighting paintings. Maximize the lighting effect and reduce reflected glare off the surface of an art piece by angling lights 30 to 35 degrees toward the object you are accenting. Use this handy guide to determine an accent light’s ideal distance from the wall, according to ceiling height.

Adjustable recessed lighting can also highlight three-dimensional objects like sculptures, plants, and other pieces, using three-point lighting or cross-beam lighting. By having the light come from two or three directions, overlapping on the accented object, you’ll enhance the appearance and avoid shadows.


Wall-washing is a form of accent lighting that bathes an entire wall in uniform light. This is useful for highlighting a collection of differently sized paintings, bookshelves, credenzas, and more, while also making your home feel livelier and more spacious.

How to use recessed dots and recessed linear dashes for wall-washing:

A more traditional form of recessed wall-washing involves a collection of individual, specialized recessed dots focused on the wall. This is artfully demonstrated in the Genna LED Wall Wash, among others.

Recessed dashes offer more uniformity and a sleek, modern look. Reveal Wall Wash Plaster-In LED systems are linear channels recessed into the ceilings, running parallel to the wall, or even recessed into the wall itself. Because they are designed to recess into drywall as thin as 5/8”, there are no structural restrictions on where you can install these fixtures. The light distributes smoothly and evenly down the wall. For ceiling installs, place Reveal Wall Wash 24” – 30” from the wall.

Wall Grazing

Wall-grazing is another form of accent lighting. Wall-grazing is similar to wall-washing, except the goal is to make a textured wall pop, rather than bathe a smooth wall in soft, even light.

How to use recessed linear dashes for wall-grazing:

Recessed linear lighting in the ceiling creates an even wall-grazing effect. Rather than installing the fixture away from the wall, place the light right next to the wall. When the light strikes the wall at this narrower angle, shadows reveal and accent the wall’s texture. By moving the lights closer or further away from the wall, the angle of the light makes the shadowing more or less pronounced, creating varying levels of visual interest.

While most grazing is produced by lights mounted at or above the ceiling, the lights can also be recessed within the floor or ground for an interesting uplight grazing effect.

General Lighting

After planning your task and accent lighting, use general lighting to fill in the space with whatever additional light is needed to eliminate unwanted shadows. Traditionally, recessed downlights were a typical source of ambient light for a room. Today, there are far more options.

How to use recessed linear dashes for general, ambient lighting:

For a sleek, modern ambient light source, use TruLine .5A or 1.6A. Install these recessed linear light sources horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in walls or ceilings to create custom designs that act as light art while gently illuminating the space.

For subtler light sources that blend discreetly into the ceiling, use Aurora LED Square or Round Edge recessed dots.

For a bold, contemporary aesthetic, pair TruLine and Aurora to create a signature “Dots and Dashes” design.

How to use recessed linear dashes for ambient lighting that also accents architectural features:

Create sleek, modern cove lighting on flat ceilings with Reveal 5-Watt or 7-Watt. Install Reveal in walls 1’ from the ceiling, shining upwards, to highlight a room’s perimeter and make it feel more spacious.

Design dramatic, 3D cove lighting or accent architectural features like fireplaces, skylights, and more using Verge Ceiling. Install Verge Ceiling where the ceiling meets the wall or feature.

Create subtle pathway lighting in hallways, bathrooms and around a room’s perimeter with Reveal 2-Watt. Install Reveal in walls 6” from the ground, shining down at the ground.

Highlight the transition from two surfaces (such as the corner where two walls or wall and ceiling meet) with Verge. Create stunning “floating wall effects” or highlight the perimeter of a room.

Install Verge Door around the edges of doorframes to create unique “floating doorway” effects.

Color Temperature

Understanding the different lighting types and layout options is the foundation for good lighting design, but it’s not the full story. Color temperature is a fundamental quality of light, and understanding its role is crucial to creating the perfect ambiance.

Color temperature, measured on a scale of degrees Kelvin, indicates how “cool-toned” (blue) or “warm-toned” (orange/red) a given light source appears. Daylight on a sunny day is roughly 5500K – 6500K, while candlelight or sunset is around 2000K. Higher (cooler) color temperatures make us feel more awake and alert, while lower (warmer) color temperatures are calming and relaxing.

Tunable White LEDS

Tunable White LED technology allows you to set the mood of a room at the touch of a button – from a bright, cheerful 4000K (which mimics full daylight) to a warm, cozy 2000K (which resembles the warm tones of sunrise and sunset). With total control over your interior environment, you can match the color temperature of your lighting to the time of day, which keeps your circadian rhythms balanced and on track. Recent studies from the Department of Energy show that Tunable White lighting has measurable effects on health and mood.

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