October 9, 2015

How to Turn a Recessed Light into a Hardwired Light

Last weekend, we successfully replaced the recessed light fixture in our water closet with our beautiful lotus pendant!

I’m going to walk you through the process of how we did it but I need to preface everything I'm about to say with the fact that I’m not a licensed electrician.

That being said, I’ve replaced every light in our home with no problem but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a problem in your home. You shouldn’t attempt to do this yourself if you’re not familiar with or comfortable with electrical work. When in doubt, hire out! I don't want to be responsible for something bad happening!

PSA over :)

When I was researching how to do this, I found this kit from Westinghouse (not a sponsored post). I watched a video on how to make the switch before I bought the kit to make sure it was something I was comfortable with. It seemed pretty straightforward so we made a quick trip to Home Depot to pick it up.

First things first, before you do any electrical work, you need to go to your breaker box and flip the switch to the room(s) you’re working in to OFF. The switches in your box should be labeled with what rooms they’re associated with to make things easier. If your switches aren’t labeled, flip each switch until the power goes out to the room(s) you want. Once you’re done, label that switch for next time :)

Double check to make sure your power is out! When you’re sure it is, you’re going to remove your can light.

Start by removing the light bulb:

If your recessed light is like ours, it will have two mounting springs holding it up.

Wiggle each one loose, remove the inner baffle and then screw in the socket pigtail:

Take apart the mounting bracket:

You're going to stretch the bottom brace (shown above) out across the recessed light until it's snug against the sides. Then you're going to tighten the center screw to hold it in place so you can screw the sides into the can light.

Note: this was hands down the hardest part of the whole installation. I'm not sure what happened but we couldn't get any screw to pierce the metal sides of our recessed light.

Our bracket is crooked and I hate it but I'm sure I would have ended up in divorce court if I asked my husband to make it straight after he fought with it for 20 minutes haha

Anyway, the second piece of the bracket screws into the first piece. The washer goes underneath the screw on the uneven side (on the right in the photo below).

There's a clip with a ground screw attached to the ground wire. It gets installed at the edge of the can light:

The silver plate lines up with the bracket and then gets twisted away from the bracket notches so it rests on the bracket and stays in place:

Before you begin to wire your pendant, make sure you slide the ceiling medallion on!

You might need two hands for this next part – one person to hold the pendant and one to attach the mounting bracket! The pendant's mounting bracket gets screwed into the two holes shown above. Once it's secure, connect the black wire to the black wire, the white wire to the white wire, and the green wire to the exposed copper wire.

FYI: your wire connections will probably look different than mine! It all depends on what pendant you're using so don't worry if the little orange/yellow wire connectors that look like cones come with your pendant.

Slide the ceiling medallion up the wires and slip it underneath the silver mounting bracket. Gently push any extra wire up into your recessed light pocket:

Before I finish mounting any light, I like to turn the power back on to make sure the fixture is wired correctly. If it is, I turn the power back off and finish installing it. If it's not, I check my connections and try again. Remember to make sure the power is off before finishing the installation!

In case you're wondering, I would 100% recommend this kit as long as your pendant doesn't screw into to the mounting bracket from the sides like ours does because there is no room to fit a screwdriver in between the pendant's side and the side of the ceiling medallion!

We ended up having to buy socket screws that could be screwed in place with an allen wrench because it's the only thing that was tiny enough to fit in the pedant/medallion gap. We didn't even think about this until it came time to hang the pendant so keep this in mind if you attempt to do this yourself!

Anyway! The view from the floor is so much prettier than before! :D

Here's a before and after comparison!

I love how much warmth the pendant adds to the tiny space! It doesn't give off as much light as our recessed light did but it gives off plenty more than it did in our laundry room!

Don't forget to pin this for later so you'll know what to do when you're ready to make the switch!


  1. It's sooo pretty, Caitlin! I just adore this light! I'm so glad you found the perfect place to hang it!

    1. Thanks Brynne! I'm so happy we found a spot for it too :)

  2. I love the light!! I am thinking I need to use it for my laundry room. Thanks for the tut!!

  3. This is just beautiful. I want something like that hanging on my living room too. :)

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