How to change Downlights in your home

Author: | Last Updated: 12 Mar 2022

Downlights are a popular lighting choice for Australian homes. They bring a modern, fresh, and elegant aesthetic to a home with their unique lighting style. However, while they look beautiful, they can sometimes be a little intimidating to replace if you have not tried to before. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to change downlights in your home easily. We’ll also provide some tips on choosing the right downlights for your space.

Downlights for the home

Downlights are a kind of lighting fixture mounted “inside” the ceiling; they don’t jut out like a typical lightbulb or other kinds of lighting fixtures would. Instead, they typically come “encased” in a cylinder, which then has a decorative frame attached to the wall. Downlights bring a soft glow to a space, and can be used either as a general lighting fixture (multiple downlights strategically placed around the room) or as a way to draw attention to a focal point in the room. They are different from spotlights, which tend to shine a very intense, bright, and focused beam of light on an object or space. Downlights are much gentler on the eyes, whereas spotlights are more concentrated in their illumination.

Types of downlights on the market

There are different kinds of downlights available in the market today. Each of them differs slightly in their design, but the concept is the same: bring soft lighting to a space while tying in with the room’s overall aesthetic. If you’ve just begun looking into getting downlights for your home, this is a helpful guide to find out what options might be suitable for you. On the other hand, if you already have downlights installed, it’s important to know what specific kind of downlight you have so that you know the best way to replace them.

Recessed downlights:

This is the most popular kind of downlight available and used today—from residential spaces, to offices, commercial areas, and the like. Recessed downlights are what people think of when they hear “downlights.” Recessed downlights are fitted straight into the ceiling, with the body of the lighting fixture hidden above/inside the ceiling. Only the bezel or the frame of the lighting is visible from inside the room.

Surface downlights:

If a space’s ceiling does not permit a “hidden” installation for recessed downlights, like places with a concrete ceiling, this is the next best option. Surface downlights have the entire body of the fixture visible as it hangs from the ceiling. They can be used as a statement piece, adding to the visual playfulness of a space, or can be subtle and simple, just providing soft lighting in the room.

Adjustable downlights:

Adjustable downlights come in many forms, but their main difference from recessed and surface downlights is that they can be moved and swivelled around from their installation point in the ceiling. An adjustable downlight hangs from the ceiling with a fully-visible body, and can be adjusted in terms of height or direction, according to its design. Adjustable downlights are great for creating visual impact while giving you flexibility in your lighting needs.

How to change downlights in your home

Now that you’re more familiar with the types of downlights, you can identify what kind you currently have installed in your home and go about replacing the bulbs in them. Read on for our easy step-by-step guide!

1. Set up the space and gather any tools needed

Ensure that you’ve picked up a compatible light bulb to be used as a replacement in the downlight fixtures of your home. Depending on your lighting fixture, you may need a flat head or Phillips screwdriver, so it’s good to have that handy. You may also need a clean, soft rag to handle the hot downlight fixture. If the ceiling or light fixture is quite high, make sure you have a sturdy stepladder to use to reach the light.

2. Turn off the power supply

This is a very important step: turn off the power supply! Make sure that the room you are working in will not have any power running in while changing the lightbulb. It is very uncomfortable—and can even be dangerous—if you electrocute yourself while you are changing bulbs. Advise the people in your home that there won’t be any power for a while so that they can prepare and won’t inadvertently turn it back on while you’re working. After the power has been turned off, let the downlights cool for a while. Do not handle them immediately as they will be very hot!

3. Remove the old bulbs

Once the downlights have cooled down, you’re ready to remove the old bulbs from the fixtures. Most recessed downlights will need to be turned counterclockwise to loosen the frame from the body hidden in the ceiling. Double-check if there are any screws, springs, or locks that you need to open if you find that simply turning the fixture isn’t doing anything. For some surface or adjustable downlights, it might be slightly easier to remove the old bulbs as they have a more “open” kind of construction. Go slowly and be patient if you find that opening up the fixture is a little tedious; you wouldn’t want to damage the fixture itself, or any wiring that may be running within it.

4. Install your new downlight bulbs

Set aside the old bubs in a place where they don’t run the risk of falling and breaking. Take your new downlight bulbs and install them into the fixture. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s direction on installing the light; some can be as simple as just screwing it into place, but others—particularly for those with “smart home” attachments—may need a little bit of wiring in order to work fully. Each light is different, so be sure that you follow what is recommended for your bulbs.

5. Test out the bulbs

After installation, turn the power back on and test out your new bulbs. If they are hooked up to any remotes or smart apps, test them to ensure that everything has been installed correctly. Once you’re happy, clean up the space and dispose of the old lightbulbs in the correct bins or recycling centres.

There you go! You can now enjoy your newly-replaced downlights in your home. We hope this article gave you the confidence to try out this DIY repair on your own. Let us know how it went for you!

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