Explained: How To Change A Recessed Light To A Pendant Light

I am working on a new project wherein the homeowner just does not want to spend money, and everything’s on a shoestring budget. It gets so difficult for me as an interior designer to refresh the house’s look with little money. Moreover, I am not even getting paid for the project. 

Before you judge me or call me a fool for accepting such a project, let me tell you that I took charge of refreshing the look of my parent’s home and am getting bonkers as my dad is just not ready to cooperate with me. He wouldn’t only not spend money but also not let me pay. Well, if he is my dad, I am his daughter! I decided to take it as a challenge and change the look and feel of their home for as little money as possible. While I would totally do it for my parent’s home, I would not prefer such challenges on the professional front. 

To start with, I removed and restuck the LED strip lights from the kitchen to the console table in the living room, and they looked great. The following experiment was getting rid of the old recessed lights but thanks to my dad, I couldn’t have done that unless I upcycled the old ones. And that’s when I decided to change the recessed light to a pendant light. Yes, you read that right. Trust me, the results are great.

To change your recessed light to a pendant light you need a recessed light changer kit and a few basic things like a screwdriver, stepladder, etc. You need to carefully remove the light bulb and the trim of the recessed light. Then use the hardware inside the kit to convert your light successfully.

This article will take you through the steps of changing your recessed or can light to pendant lights with the help of simple tools. But before that, for the new ones on my blog, let us learn what recessed lights and pendant lights are and why you should consider changing your recessed lights to pendant lights.

What Is A Recessed Light?

What Is A Recessed Light?

Recessed or can lights are the lights that sit flush with the surface for a sleek and modern look. These lights are installed directly inside a ceiling, wall, or other surfaces. Structurally, the recessed fixtures comprise three major components– the housing, the trim, and the light bulb, wherein the housing is the part of the recessed light fixture installed hidden within the wall or the ceiling, and the trim is the visible, decorative part of the light fixture that can be seen from the outside. When installed, the housing and electrical wiring components are concealed, and the light bulb appears to illuminate from within the opening.

What Is A Pendant Light?

What Is A Pendant Light?

Pendant lights are shaded or bare socket lights hanging from the ceiling fixtures. These lights take up minimal space, provide a modern look to your space, and don’t require any wiring or electrical work. You can simply plug the light into a wall outlet and illuminate your home as you like. Popularized recently, pendant lights are making a resurgence in American homes for their vintage yet minimal look. A great benefit of pendant lights is that they can be placed in any area where additional lighting is needed, and they work great as an accent, task, and ambient lighting solution.

Why Should You Consider Changing Your Recessed Light To Pendant Light?

While the reason to change your recessed or can light into a pendant light can be different for everyone, I strongly recommend upcycling your lights to reduce the burden of electronic waste on the planet. Upcycling your lights is definitely better than disposing of your lights and is a small step towards sustainable living.

Here are some reasons why you would want to change your recessed lights to pendant lights.

  • With so many kinds of accent lights available in the market, you may not want to continue with your recessed light as the accent light any longer.
  • You wish to replace your old recessed lights with new ones and upcycle the old ones into a pendant light.
  • You are looking for a pendant light because these lights work great as task lights as they focus the light on a smaller area for better focus.
  • You are intrigued by how pendant lights are coming back in trend and wish to try them out at a low cost.
  • You have an art piece at your home that you wish to highlight with the help of a pendant light that will focus on the art piece.
  • You are trying out a different decor at home and want to see if a pendant light will go well with it.

How To Change A Recessed Light To A Pendant Light?

Material Required

To change your recessed light to a pendant light, the first thing to do is gather all the materials required. You may have to purchase a recessed light changing kit if you already don’t have the required hardware. 

Listed below is the list of materials required to carry out the process.

  • Recessed light changer kit that includes an adjustable bar, a pre-wired socket adapter, a mounting bar, a round metal plate, and decorative medallions.
  • Step ladder
  • Power screwdriver
  • Light bulb

Steps To Change A Recessed Light To Pendant Light

Once you have the materials required in place, changing your recessed or can light to a pendant light should not take more than a few minutes. In this section of the article, I shall discuss the steps for the same.

  • Step 1: Turn Off The Power
    Turn off the switch connected to the recessed light to be changed. This will disconnect the power supply to the light fixture and save you from any unpleasant accidents. 
  • Step 2: Remove The Light Bulb From The Socket
    Take a step ladder and reach the recessed light fixture. The next step is to remove the light bulb from the fixture and carefully place it in a safe location.
  • Step 3: Remove The Trim Of The Recessed Light Fixture
    The Trim is the visible, decorative part of the recessed or can light fixture seen from the outside. Remove the trim of your recessed light bulb using duct tape. 

    Loop your duct tape strip around to turn it into double-sided tape. The sticky or adhesive side of the duct tape should be on the outside of the loop, and the inner loop should be non-adhesive. Then stick one adhesive side of the looped duct tape onto the bulb’s surface facing you. Use enough tape to cover the entire diameter of the light bulb. The unstuck side of the duct tape works as a handle for you to hold.

    Now, hold the unstuck side of the duct tape firmly and twist the tape to unscrew your recessed light bulb. Most light bulbs use standard screw threading, so you need to turn the bulb counterclockwise to unscrew it.

    To read the steps in detail, you may refer to one of my past articles about replacing a light bulb in a recessed light fixture.
  • Step 4: Fit The Mounting Brace Into The Can Light Opening
    Take the mounting bracket and remove the screws so that you can fit the bracket to the size of the width of your recessed light in the ceiling. Raise the mounting brace into the can light opening and adjust it so it fits well. Ensure the locking bar of the brace is in place before securing it with screws.
  • Step 5: Screw The Adapter
    Screw the pre wired socket adapter from the recessed light changer kit into the recessed light fixture. Now use a power screwdriver to secure the sliding bar from your kit to the recessed light. Ensure using the screws that are compatible.
  • Step 6: Screw The Mounting Bracket
    Preassemble the mounting bracket and once the brace and bar are in place, install the mounting bracket onto the recessed light fixture. The bracket attaches to the brace that you installed previously. Feed the wires through the mounting bracket and screw the bracket to the recessed fixture. The mounting bracket will provide support to your newly converted pendant light.
  • Step 7: Install The Mounting Plate
    It is now time to cover your fixture using a mounting plate. Pass the wires through a hole in the mounting plate from your recessed light changer kit. Once passed, screw the two threaded studs into the holes in your mounting plate.
  • Step 8: Place The Medallion
    Once you are sure of all the connections and have ensured that the screws are tight enough, place the decorative medallion over the upper end of the pendant light. Ensure threading the wires of your pendant light through the decorative medallion.
  • Step 8: Attach Wires
    Now attach pendant light wires to the kit wires. I recommend using twist-on wire connectors to join the like wires. Connect the white wire to the white one, the black wire to the black one, and the green wire to the bare copper ground wire. Gently fold the wires into the canopy and secure the pendant light using two decorative nuts.
  • Step 9: Install The Light Bulb
    Following the above steps appropriately, you will be able to convert the recessed light into a pendant light. Install the light bulb upon successfully carrying out the conversion of the light.


Q1. I tried to convert one of my recessed lights over our sink but the light socket wouldn’t hold the weight of the light fixture. Any suggestions?

Answer – In case your light socket wouldn’t hold the weight of a light fixture, you may either use a lighter light fixture or install a junction box for a wired light. Use a lighter light fixture. 

Q2. I converted my recessed light to a pendant light but it does not fall straight and keeps bending. How can I get the pendant wire to hang straight down? 

Answer – While my pendant light wire straightened over time, you may try heating up the cord with a hair dryer and straightening it. 

Q3. I tried converting my recessed light to pendant lights but the adapter cord is too long. I am not sure whether I can hang too low. What should I do?

Answer – If your adapter cord is too long to be hung, you may wrap the cord around the adapter before installing it until you reach the height that you prefer. 


In the times when electronic waste is emerging as a massive environmental issue, it is very wise to upcycle and recycle your electronics. Upcycling your recessed or can light into a pendant light can be a great option if you are looking to change the look of your home at a nominal cost. To carry out the process you would require a recessed light changer kit, a step ladder, a screwdriver, etc. 

I hope that article must have helped you understand how to change your recessed light into a pendant light.  In case you have more questions about the same, feel free to write to me in the comment section.

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