How to Install Recessed Kitchen Lighting


Replace the existing overhead lighting in the kitchen with recessed lighting. Figuring out how to install recessed lighting in the kitchen can be confusing. However, using the power source to your existing fixture will make the job more manageable.

The kitchen recessed lighting cans attach to the ceiling with four metal springs. This eliminates the need for joists. When designing your location be sure that no joists or other obstructions will be above the area.

Things You'll Need

  • Drywall saw
  • 12/2 wire (enough to run to all the lights)
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Turn the power off to the existing light fixture at the circuit breaker box.

  • Locate the junction box of the old fixture and disconnect the wires from the fixture.

  • Trace the outline of the recessed light fixture on the ceiling. With a drywall saw, cut the opening at the outline. Repeat this for each light fixture you want installed.

  • Pull the existing wire through the opening of the nearest new fixture and strip ¼ inch from the ends with wire strippers. Using 12/2 wire, run separate wire to each opening leaving 18 inches extra to maneuver with, connecting fixture one to fixture two, fixture two to fixture three and so on.

  • Insert the wires into the fixture's junction box and connect them to the wire in the box using wire connectors: black to black, white to white and green to green. Repeat this on all the light fixtures.

  • Attach the electrical wire to each junction box with a cable clamp.

  • Feed the junction box through the hole and secure the can fixture in the ceiling by turning it until the springs pop into place.

  • Attach the trim baffle into the can by either snapping it in or using four mounting screws depending on the manufacturer.

  • Screw in the appropriate size light bulb.Turn the power back on to the electrical supply at the circuit breaker.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending upon the size of the existing fixture, you can replace it with a recessed light.
  • If the original fixture is larger than the recess light it can stay or it can be removed and the hole patched and painted.
  • Always turn power off before working with electricity.
  • Consult a licensed electrician to verify that the chosen circuit can handle the additional load.

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  • Photo Credit T. Tomlyn
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