How to Convert Recessed Light to Pendant

Step by step tutorial to convert recessed light to pendant. This easy project helps you change out any can light for hanging pendant quickly!

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before and after of can light converted to pendant light with text overlay

Nope, there is nothing wrong with can lights.

They are functional and can be used in almost any space – from living room to bedrooms to kitchen, bathrooms and even outdoors.

However, pendant lights or chandeliers bring a certain charm and oomph to any space.

They can completely transform a space from being bare and basic to a room with personality – be it modern, farmhouse, industrial or anything in between.

Almost a year ago, I updated my small guest bathroom with a few quick and easy projects.

One of those projects was converting the canned light on top of the vanity into a pendant light.

Before and after comparison of the small bathroom remodel.

I think the pendant adds a much-needed character for the finished look.

Plus it only takes about 10-15 minutes!

I get questions about it all the time. and finally, I got around to writing the full step by step tutorial for you!

Replace Can Light With Pendant

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Materials to Replace Recessed Light With Pendant

How to Replace Can Light With Pendant Light-

Warning: I have basic wiring skills, but I am NOT a certified electrician.  This project is completely at your own risk, and I take no responsibility for any mishaps you may have as a result of this tutorial.  Please be careful and consult a certified electrician if you are in any doubt. 

Step 1 – Gather all the supplies and remove the light bulb from the recessed light fixture.

Step 2 – Open the recessed light conversion kit.

It is basically a screw on “light bulb” without the bulb but with wires. Screw that into the socket.

Can light replaced with a converter kit to convert recessed light to pendant light

It also comes with mounting plates that you install onto the can lights. Be sure to read and follow the instructions in the light conversion kit. 

Adding the cross bar to convert cen light to pendant light

Step 3 – Attach the crossbar provided with the kit. To do this, first, place it on the can and stretch it out to fit the can snug.

Tightening the crossbar to replace a recessed light with a pendant

Tighten the little screw to hold it place.

Step 4- Attach the crossbar to the can light. The conversion kit comes with metal screws.

Attaching crossbar to the metal can using metal screws to replace can light with pendant

However, they just did not work for us. Thankfully, I had metal screws leftover from my industrial metal sign project.

Attaching a light fixture to convert a recessed light to a pendant light

Step 6 – Once the crossbar is attached, you can install the crossbar that comes with a pendant like you normally would.

Connect and install the pendant or a flush mount light according to the instructions that come with it.

Canned light replaced with glass pendant light

That’s it!

It was really super easy! Except for our debacle with the sheet metal screws, it was really quick and easy.

Oh… and there was this thing where I dropped the pendant and broke it so had to wait for a few days to get a new one…

But the pendant definitely adds a lot of character to the bathroom!

More Like Change Recessed Light to Pendant Light –

before and after of can light converted to pendant light with text overlay

Convert a Recessed Light to a Pendant

Yield: 1 Pendant Light
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Beginner

Easily convert a recessed light to a pendant light with this step by step tutorial. This is a 5-minute update to convert canned lights to a pendant.

Tools

  • power drill and driver

Instructions

    1. Gather all the supplies and remove the light bulb from the recessed light fixture.
    2. Open the recessed light conversion kit. Screw that into the socket.
    3. It also comes with mounting plates that you install onto the can lights. Be sure to read and follow the instructions in the light conversion kit. 
    4. Attach the crossbar provided with the kit. To do this, first, place it on the can and stretch it out to fit the can snug.
    5. Tighten the little screw to hold it place.
    6. Attach the crossbar to the can light. The conversion kit comes with metal screws.
    7. Once the crossbar is attached, you can install the crossbar that comes with a pendant like you normally would.
    8. Connect and install the pendant or a flush mount light according to the instructions that come with it.
      That's it!

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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3 Comments

  1. Anika, I will be building beds with your plans for my new house. I am going to make benches for the gardens and I will do this lamp changeover in both bathrooms and the bedrooms.

  2. Pamela Allen says:

    You didn’t say why you hung your pendant lamp in front of the mirror. If that is a medicine cabinet you will smash that light the first time you open the door. If it is a stationary mirror only, then it would blind me every time I turned it on with the light reflecting in that mirror. Have you any thoughts on this since this post? I’d shorten the hanging wire if it were me but I love all your ideas and info.

    1. Hi Pamela, It is not a medicine cabinet. In the pictures, the angle is such that the pendant looks like it is in front of the mirror. It is actually just above the mirror and it doesn’t bother the eyes in the mirror.

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