Convert Recessed Lighting Into a Pendant Light by using a Recessed Light Adapter

Remember the recessed lighting that was so popular in the 80s, 90s, and even through the first decade of the 21st century?  Well they’re not so fashionable anymore, and the ones that have been in my house since I moved in 2 years ago have been an eyesore and constant source of frustration.  After two years of living with an ugly recessed light can in my powder room, I finally decided it was time to replace the outdated recessed light to one with personality.  I hated the lighting so much that I didn’t even bother to use the proper bulb.  Yes, it was THAT ugly (see below left). In a tiny powder room with no windows, it was of utmost importance that the small space pack as big a punch as possible.  I didn’t want just any room.  I wanted a room with personality – MY personality.  A flush mount fixture was out of the question as the room is very narrow, and a fixture so close to the ceiling would only vertically elongate the room even further.  I found the perfect pendant while at Las Vegas Market last month, but there was one problem.  The recessed lighting housing left a 6″ hole in the ceiling, which clearly would not accommodate an electrical junction box needed to hang the new fixture.
I could not get the pendant I had seen in Las Vegas off my mind and I was determined to find a way to make it work.  I researched every possible way, and my persistence paid off.  After a little bit of online research, I found and purchased a recessed light adapter at Home Depot, then bought the fixture I had seen at Las Vegas Market. With minimal effort, I was able to transform the space into one that I could be proud of, and here’s how I did it:

What’s In The Box

Additional Tools Needed

•flat head screwdriver
•Philips head screwdriver
•wire stripper
•wire cutter
•electrical tape
•head lamp if working at night or in a windowless room (I borrowed one from my Boy Scout – he’s always prepared!)

Installing the Recessed Light Adapter:

1.  Remove recessed light adapter from box.  Paint cover plate to match ceiling and allow to dry.
2.  Turn off power at the electrical panel or fuse box.
3.  Remove the recessed lighting fixture trim, by disengaging the springs that hold it in place NOT the entire housing. (see photo below)
4.  After paint has dried on cover plate, thread bolts through cover plate and spring loaded toggle wings on the recessed can, bend the bracket clips at a 45 degree angle.  Tighten screws by applying downward pressure on bracket clips while tightening.
5.  Screw in adapter plug and thread the cords through the center of the cover plate.
And now you are ready to install your preferred light fixture.

Basic Instructions for Installing a Typical Light Fixture:

1.  Attach mounting plate to the cover plate of the recessed light adapter using the screws provided.
2.  Thread the wires on the light fixture through the canopy.
3.  Hold the fixture at the desired length from ceiling to determine how much wire is needed.  Cut the wire to desired length, strip the end of the wire, connect the live wire (black) on the adapter to the black wire on fixture by inserting both ends into a wire cap and twist until tightened.  Wrap with electrical tape.  Do the same with the neutral wire and the grounding wire.
4.  Attach the grounding wire to the plate using the provided green grounding screw.
5.  Attach the light fixture canopy to the mounting plate
6.  Screw in bulbs and flip the switch on the electrical panel and voilà, your new and improved light fixture is installed!
Installing the recessed light adapter took me about 20 minutes and the light fixture took me an additional 45 minutes, but  most of that time was spent threading each individual glass drop on the fixture.  It shouldn’t take a typical fixture more than 15 minutes.
Now that I know how easy this is, I know that several other fixtures in my house will follow.  The lighting in my powder room went from totally unremarkable to fabulous in almost a blink of an eye. And I was told I would need a licensed electrician…

2 Replies to “Convert Recessed Lighting Into a Pendant Light by using a Recessed Light Adapter”

  1. The pendant light you used in” Convert Recessed Lighting Into a Pendant Light by using a Recessed Light Adapter” blog is beautiful. Who makes this glass drop fixture and where can I purchase one. Thank you for your design ideas.

    Tracy says:

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