How to Convert Recessed Light to Fixture

Updating and renovating homes is popular for homeowners who like to stay current and who want their property to maintain or increase its value.

Lighting is one of the key ways that a house can show its age, and today it is becoming easier than ever to convert a dated fixture into a completely different type of fixture. Transforming a recessed light into a new light fixture is a creative way to update the look of a room. .

Turn off power to the light fixture (at the electrical breaker box).

Measure the recessed light fixture, and purchase a recessed can light conversion kit to fit your size of lamp. Make sure you identify the type of fixture you have and select a replacement fixture that will work with the conversion kit. Most kits come with a white universal trim plate; if you require a different color or finish it is a good idea to buy that plate at the same time.

Remove your now cool recessed can lightbulb. Remove the recessed can light trim ring. (These often pull down on small springs that you detach. You may need a screwdriver.)

Screw the can converter into the socket. Complete the conversion based on the directions provided by the manufacturer for your specific application. Some fixtures, such as ceiling fan conversion kids, require additional structural support, and different light fixtures have different electrical load requirements.

Things You Will Need

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Notepad and pencil
  • Recessed can light conversion kit
  • Screwdriver


  • Some conversion kits are sold for particular types of replacement fixtures (such as for converting to pendant lights), and special fixtures are sold that are a direct screw-in to the recessed light with no wiring necessary.
  • Conversion kits are also available to turn recessed lighting into track lighting and chandeliers.


  • Always turn off the electricity when working on a light fixture.


About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.