The Best Way to Convert a Can Light to a Pendant

If you love the look of pendant lights but are stuck with recessed fixtures in your home, look no further than this how-to. We'll show you how to use a conversion kit to transform basic can lights into a dazzling pendant.

Add scene-stealing drama to any space with a pendant light. These trendy fixtures can be glamorous, rustic, modern—or any other style you desire. Some homes, however, aren't equipped for a pendant light. They have recessed lighting fixtures, instead. Luckily, there's an easy fix. 

Pendant light conversion kits convert a light fixture from boring to beautiful in a few minutes. Each kit is a little different, but we'll walk you through the general steps. Before beginning this project, make sure you have access to your electrical box and you know how to turn off breakers. 

Make a Stunning Geometric Pendant Light

kitchen island, farm sink, pendant lights

What You Need

  • Recessed light converter kit with an adjustable bar, socket adapter, mounting bar, round metal plate, decorative medallion, and hardware (we used one from Westinghouse)
  • Power screwdriver
  • Pendant light fixture and mounting hardware

Step 1: Turn Off Power

Turn off power at the circuit breaker for the light you're converting. Flip the switch on and off to confirm the power is out before you touch the socket or wires.

Step 2: Remove Old Lamp

Remove the old lamp from its socket. Start by unscrewing the lightbulb, then remove any decorative trim.

Editor's Tip: How you complete this step depends upon your light fixture's setup, so consult the manufacturer's instructions as needed.

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Step 3: Secure Brace

Place the brace that came with your kit into the recessed can fixture. Ensure that the brace's locking bar is in place before securing it with screws.

Step 4: Secure Sliding Bar

Use a power screwdriver to secure the sliding bar that came with your kit to the recessed can light. Make sure you use the screws designed specifically for the sliding bar. 

Step 5: Install Mounting Bracket

Now that the brace and bar are installed, secure the mounting bracket back onto the fixture. The bracket attaches to the brace you installed in Step 3. 

Step 6: Install Wire and Covers

Use a screw to install the ground wire to the side of the recessed can. Then secure the metal cover plate to the mounting plate.

Step 7: Attach Mounting Bar

Install pendant light mounting bar to mounting bracket. Most mounting bars come with the pendant light, not conversion kits, so make sure your pendant  comes with this piece of hardware. 

Step 8: Attach Wires

Thread your pendant light's wires through the decorative medallion and attach pendant wires to kit wires. Consult manufacturer's instructions to ensure you're attaching the correct wires. Secure pendant light to socket, then restore power at circuit breaker.

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