Trimless Recessed Lighting Fully Explained: How, What and Tips.

Trimless Lighting Explained

Trimless is in some ways the perfectionist’s choice and in this era of minimalist design, it is becoming extremely popular. The seamless look has a clean elegance that has caught the imagination of designers, architects, and clients alike. Stylistically could we be heading out of the predominant post industrial aesthetic back to a more minimal clean lined aesthetic?

Essentially trimless is a way of hiding the fixture or fitting and to allow the light itself to play the dominant role. Although trimless downlights has been on the radar for a while, niches, uplighters and floor washers, are now increasingly in vogue. Quite simply, LED has again played a major factor. Longevity of solid state light sources enables us to integrate lights anywhere in a space – with added peace of mind on future maintenance. Lower operating temperature also allows fittings to be enclosed in all areas too.

How to Use Trimless Lighting

So here is a quick guide to trimless and some advice on first and second fix strategies when planning an interior.

This video demonstrates an example of a trimless recessed downlighter and explains how a recessed trimless downlight is installed in a ceiling. This video also demonstrates how a trimless downlight is removed and maintained from within a ceiling after installation.

What is Trimless Lighting?

A flush solution of recessed lighting that allows the light to become an architecturally integrated element by omitting a visible front plate.

How to Install Plaster-in Trimless Lighting

Tips on Using Trimless Lighting

Glare is greatly reduced as some trimless fittings will raise the light source deep within the ceiling.

The Stages of Installing a Trimless Recessed Downlighter

Some fittings have a choice of trimless fixing or a second fix bezel. The light fixture remains the same except with the trimless version the location of the fixture has to be decided at 1st Fix stage and is NOT moveable later in the project.

Popular trimless fittings are floor and stair washers where a number are run in a row. A group of fittings are usually wired in SERIES, meaning the power supply (driver) is remote and the wiring daisy chains to each fixture and terminates back at the driver.

Some models offer a particular frame according to whether it’s being fitted into brick or plasterboard, so be sure of the material into which the trimless fixture is being fitted.

You do not always need to re-plaster a wall or ceiling when using a trimless product. There is a range of trimless downlights that can be installed at 2nd fix and ‘feathered’ into place with fine plaster filler. It’s not as easy to install but is a helpful option when trying to get the look without the added expense of more plastering.

This is one job where the plaster becomes key to the project’s success. In terms of integration, it’s best to look out for some potential snags.

Avoid badly designed products that do not allow sufficient depth of plaster around the housing and can cause cracks in the plaster later in the installation, especially around rivets or plasterboard screws that are not countersunk.

Remember – trimless wall lights do not usually have a glass front so the product can collect dust over time once installed, so it will require periodic cleaning.

Pros & Cons of Using Trimless Downlights

So to summarise, trimless downlights have several advantages and disadvantages when used in a house.


  1. They provide a sleek and modern look, as they are flush with the ceiling and do not have visible trim.
  2. They can be used to highlight artwork or architectural features in a room.
  3. They can be used to create a warm and inviting ambiance in a room.
  4. They can be used to increase the overall lighting level in a room, which can be beneficial for tasks such as reading or cooking.
  5. They create a contemporary cleaner aesthetic in a space, completely hiding the light source.


  1. They can be more expensive than traditional recessed ceiling lights and downlights that have a trim.
  2. They can be more difficult to install, as they require a plaster in skim across the whole ceiling to embed their frames.
  3. They may be more difficult to maintain, as dust and debris may accumulate in the space between the light and the ceiling.
  4. They may not be compatible with all types of ceilings, such as vaulted or angled ceilings.
  5. You cannot change your mind once they are in, whereas trimmed downlight wholes can be patched and filled.
  6. They can be deeper than a standard downlighter, prohibitive for some applications. Do check your ceiling void depth before ordering.

Overall, trimless downlights can provide a modern and elegant look to a room, but they may also be more expensive and difficult to install and maintain. It is important to consider these factors when deciding.

Explore Trimless Recessed Downlighting. Call us and we will explain their application and give you a guided tour around the fixtures and fittings available.

Why Seamless Plaster-in lights are so good: Seamless Lighting: The Integrated Plaster-in Lighting Revolution

Andrew Orange, the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.