Recessed Ceiling Box Lighting

Add architectural detailing and make a small room seem larger with recessed boxes for can lights in the ceiling.


These faux skylights make the room seem larger and provide great light.

These faux skylights make the room seem larger and provide great light.

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Materials and tools:

six recessed can lights
two 3/4-inch birch plywood sheets, each 4?x8?
paint (we used Ace Sensations Ceiling White)
skim coat
two ladders
tape measure
utility knife
reciprocal saw
blue chalk
chalk line
stud finder
circular saw
table saw
wood glue


1. Choose the location for the recessed boxes on the ceiling. Measure length and width. Strike a line using blue chalk. Our measurement was 118 inches running 36-1/2 inches from the parallel wall. Use the same method to mark the lines for the second box.

2. Create an inspection hole in the ceiling with a hammer to determine where the rafters and any electrical work are located. Score the ceiling and then use a hammer to cut out a small section of the ceiling. Cut the rough opening with a reciprocal saw, using the rafters as a guide as you cut. Have someone go into the attic to make sure there are no wires in the way and that nothing gets caught as you are running the reciprocal saw. Save the rafters you remove for future use, such as for a fireplace mantel.

3. Frame between the two rafters. The load will be taken by the center plate. Remove the drywall to finish rough opening. Repeat this process to second beam.

4. Remove the cross beams for the rough opening with a hammer (if necessary). Place a double header at the end of the drywall to take the load of the beams removed. Have a licensed electrician run cables to the new box areas.

5. Measure out the birch plywood for the two boxes, and cut it to size with the table saw. Measure and mark the locations of the lights inside the new boxes. Cut the holes for the can lights (three in each box). Install the lights in the top of the boxes, which will sit inside the ceiling rafters.

6. Assemble the boxes with nails and glue. Install the new boxes into the rough opening. Sand the inside edges of the boxes in a circular pattern to take any nicks out of the wood. Paint the boxes and the ceiling. Once the paint has dried, install light bulbs into recessed boxes.

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