How to Paint Recessed Lights

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Trasform your recessed lighting easily with spray paint.
Trasform your recessed lighting easily with spray paint. (Image: spray with a cap image by Yasen Pramatarov from Fotolia.com)

Recessed lighting is used for everything from creating ambient lighting to illuminating a hallway or even a home theater. If your home’s recessed lighting is out-of-date or scuffed up, or if you are changing the color of the walls and ceiling and would like the lighting to match or complement the new color, the trim and light bulb encasement can be easily painted with heat-resistant spray paint. Heat-resistant spray paints are available in a wide assortment of colors, as well as in faux-metal finishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Heat-resistant spray primer
  • 800-grit wet sandpaper
  • Heat-resistant spray paint
  • Heat-resistant spray clearcoat

Turn off the main electric circuit in your circuit breaker to the lighting fixtures you will be working with. Remove the light bulbs, then remove the light encasement trim. Usually trim is attached by springs or clips and can easily be pried from the ceiling. Use a screwdriver to unscrew the screws in the encasement and pull it out slightly from the ceiling to untwist the light's wires from the wires in the junction box.

Place the trim and encasements on a work surface, protected by newspaper if necessary, in a well-ventilated area.

Sand the parts lightly with 400-grit sandpaper to ensure proper adhesion of the primer. Wipe down with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.

Paint with a light coat of heat-resistant spray primer. Use sweeping motions and hold the nozzle at least 12 inches from the surface. Do not let the primer pool or drip. Allow the first coat to dry, then add one or two additional light coats as needed to obtain even coverage. Allow the final coat to dry.

Sand lightly with 800-grit wet sandpaper to ensure proper adhesion of the paint. Wipe the parts down with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.

Paint with a light coat of heat-resistant spray paint. Use sweeping motions and hold the nozzle at least 12 inches from the surface. Do not let the primer pool or drip. Allow the first coat to dry, then add one to three additional light coats as needed to obtain even coverage. Allow the final coat to dry.

Paint with one to two light coats of heat-resistant clearcoat to create a protective and lustrous finish over the paint. Allow the clearcoat to dry.

Rewire and reattach the lights to the ceiling. Remember to match up the correct wires when wiring the lights (black to black, white to white and ground to ground).

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