How to Build a Ceiling Soffit with Recessed Lighting

What You'll Need
2 x 4 s
2 x 2s
Plywood sheets
Sheetrock tape
Sheetrock mud
Sheetrock corner bead material
Sheetrock knife
Stud finder
Carpentry pencil
4 foot level
Chop saw
Screw gun

Building a ceiling soffit that has recessed lighting installed is a great way to liven up any room; it also increases the amount of lighting available to you in the chosen room. This may seem like a complicated task that you should hire a professional to do, but in reality, it is a basic carpentry task that most homeowners can do themselves. You just have to have a little patience and some basic knowledge in order to save yourself a bunch of money.

Step 1: Mark the Ceiling Joists

The first step is to outline exactly where the soffit is going to be built. Use a stud finder and search for a stud next to the wall, but at least 12 inches out. Mark them all the way around the room.

Step 2: Install the Cleats

Using 3 inch screws, attach 2 x 2 cleats on the lines that run perpendicular to the walls. When you are done there should be four full length 2 x 2 cleats from one end of the room to the other, making a complete box around the ceiling. To make the cleats for the none-perpendicular sides, cut 2 x 4’s to length (so that they are from the wall to the 2 x 2 cleats).

Step 3: Hang the Ledgers

Mark a line all the way around the walls of the room at 8 inches, use a chalk line or level to ensure that it is straight and even. Cut and hang 2 x 4 pieces all the way around the top edges of the walls. When completing this task, be sure that you screw them into wall studs so that have strength and support; use your stud finder to locate them. Once again, you should have a box all the way around the room, but on the top of the walls this time.

Step 4: Install Facing Plywood

Cut 8 inch strips of plywood and screw down onto the 2 x 2‘s that are farthest away from the wall. They should be flush with the ceiling, and hang down into the room. Run another round of 2 x 2 cleats on the inside edge of the back of the plywood that is hanging down. This piece needs to be perfectly flush with the bottom.

Step 5: Install the Lights

Decide where you want the lights to be and hang all the wiring. If you are not sure how to do this you may want to have an electrician assist you. Either way, make sure that you obtain any permits that you may need before continuing any further.

After the wiring has been installed, attach the light to the cleats that you installed. Place the lights in the positions that you have decided upon, and then wire them into the electrical wire that you previously hung.

Step 6: Sheetrock the Soffit

Cover the soffit area with sheetrock. Attach the corner beads before you tape and mud the area.

This is all that there is to building a wall soffit that has recessed lights. It may appear to be a time consuming job, which it can be, but it is a project that anyone with some basic knowledge can accomplish within a day or two.