How to Convert a Recessed Light to a Hanging Pendant

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Convert a recessed light into a hanging pendant for a new look.
Convert a recessed light into a hanging pendant for a new look. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

If you want to convert a recessed light into a hanging pendant, there are converters available that make the job quick and easy. Whether you’re retrofitting a damaged recessed light or just want a change of decor, converting to a pendant can be done in about an hour. You need some basic tools and a little electrical knowledge to complete the installation. The converter works with most recessed fixtures and allows you to install pendant lights or ceiling fans with ease.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Recessed light converter
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pencil
  • Drill

Turn off the power to the recessed light fixture. Remove the light bulb and trim ring from the fixture. Loosen the wing nut on the inside of the can and slide the light socket all the way to the top of the can, if possible. Screw the power adapter into the light socket and turn it clockwise until it is tight.

Assemble the converter mounting bracket. Place the sliding brackets onto the bracket body and thread the included Phillips screws through the sliding brackets into the bracket body. Turn the wing nuts on the Phillips screws clockwise until they lightly hold the sliding brackets in place.

Remove the three sheet-metal screws from the sides of the recessed fixture, if equipped. Thread the included self-tapping screws into the holes that the sheet-metal screws came out of. Leave the heads of the screws extending 1/2 inch into the fixture.

Place the bracket in the recessed fixture and extend the sliding brackets until they are against the sides of the fixture, if there are no sheet-metal screws in the sides of the fixture. Mark the location of the screw holes in the sliding brackets on the sides of the recessed fixture. Use a drill to install the included self-tapping screws in the marked locations. Install the screws halfway with the heads extending into the fixture.

Slide the screw holes in the sliding brackets over the screw heads and tighten the screws securely. Use a Phillips screwdriver to drive the Phillips screws into the body of the mounting bracket until the screw heads are flush with the ceiling. Tighten the wing nuts firmly against the sliding brackets.

Insert the included threaded pipe in the center hole of the mounting bracket. Thread the pipe into the bracket to the correct height for the fixture and medallion you’re using. Refer to the light manufacturer’s instructions to determine the correct height for the threaded pipe. Thread an included nut onto the pipe and tighten it against the bracket body with an adjustable wrench to lock the pipe in place. Turn the mounting plate onto the threaded pipe and thread the other included nut onto the pipe to hold the plate.

Assemble the pendant fixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Connect the down-tube or chain from the pendant light to the hook included with the fixture. Feed the power wires from the pendant through the hook and medallion, and then feed the wires up through the threaded pipe in the mounting bracket. Connect the power wires according to the light manufacturer’s instructions.

Turn the mounting plate clockwise until it is tight against the Phillips screws. Tighten the nut against the mounting plate with an adjustable wrench. Slide the medallion over the end of the threaded pipe and screw the hook onto the end of the pipe.

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