Can You Replace Recessed Lighting With Pendant Lighting? [And How To]

Recessed lights are a useful tool that are generally installed to preserve space. But unless your home has very low ceilings, recessed lights may not always serve your purposes. They are very sleek and modern, which does not fit many interior design styles. Recessed lights can also be used to highlight objects and walls, which you may not need if you’re just moving in. Fortunately, we have researched if pendant lights can replace any unwanted recessed lights.

It is possible to replace recessed lights with new pendant lighting. The best way to do so is to use a specially designed converter. Recessed light converters make it possible to attach many different kinds of new lighting fixtures. These converters are available from different brands, and make it possible to avoid extensive remodeling. You can even purchase an instant pendant converter.

Recessed lights are a great way to hide lighting inside your ceiling. But a hanging fixture is a great way to add your own personality and style. Pendant lighting is a beautiful alternative to traditional fixtures. Keep reading to learn about pendant lights, and how to install them where those pesky recessed lights used to be.

Modern dining room with hanging lamps on, chairs and table setup with fancy items on the wooden floor, Can You Replace Recessed Lighting With Pendant Lighting? [And How To]

How do you convert recessed lighting to pendant lighting?

Even if you’re certain you don’t want recessed lights anymore, you should definitely replace them with an informed decision. Pendant lights are often considered to have more variety than other light fixtures. This selection of styles and sizes is what makes pendant lights so appealing. They can be used for any purpose, style, or room. Generally, pendant lights are also unique because they often shine some light upwards, across the ceiling.

One way to convert recessed lighting into pendant lighting is to simply hire a professional. Your home can be remodeled to fit new fixtures of any sort. But this can be expensive and time-consuming.

Instead, an easier solution has been hanging around for a while. Recessed light converters are designed to transform existing bases so they allow totally different light fixtures. There are both general recessed light converters and instant converters. Regardless of which solution you purchase, there are two steps to follow.

Determine the correct size

General recessed light converters can have unique socket adapters. These sockets are made to work with different recessed light fixtures. In other words, you will have to determine what converter size you will specifically need.

Most of these recessed light converters have an adjustable mounting brace for the hole, but the socket is crucial. Some converters may not have the right socket to replace your unwanted recessed lights. For example, Home Depot sells a converter that only works with certain medium bases.

Additionally, you should use a measuring tape to determine the size of the holes in your ceiling. Your new pendant light should accommodate these measurements.

Remove the Recessed Lights

Once you have found the right converter, it’s time for the actual installation. This process doesn’t involve many tools or pieces, and it isn’t very complicated. But it can be somewhat time-consuming, or even a little dangerous. Working with anything electrical can always become dangerous.

You will certainly need to turn off the power for the recessed lights you will be replacing. Once the power is off, you are allowed to remove the unwanted bulb and trimming. Unscrew the recessed light bulb, and remove its trimming.

How To Use An Instant Pendant Converter

These options are very limited in their variety. That is a serious drawback, but it’s also the only disadvantage. Instant pendant converters will save you an extraordinary amount of time. Typical recessed light converters involve a number of tools and complex installation steps. Meanwhile, instant converters have the entire fixture ready to go.

First, loosen the compression nut in order to adjust the cord length. You can wind any unwanted cord around the spindle on the specially designed socket adapter. Then, you can screw in the socket adapter. Most of these instant converters come with a canopy that will cover up any unwanted sights.

Click here to find this instant pendant recessed light converter on Amazon.

How To Use A General Recessed Lighting Converter

Installing recessed light converters is an inexpensive solution for replacing recessed lights. Most of them even require the same kind of steps to install. It may be a challenging process, but it will allow you to introduce almost any new light fixture in place of old recessed lights. You will also be free to update your new lights at will, should you change your mind and restyle.

In the long run, general converters can also be cheaper if you need to replace many lights.

Click here to find this recessed lighting converter on Amazon.

Step One - Tools

First, you should gather your tools. You will need a screwdriver and a power drill. You may also need a ladder to reach higher fixtures. Later, you may need twist-on wire connectors for your pendant light. But this varies from one light to the next.

Step Two - Screws

Now, you can screw in the new socket, just like a light bulb. Then, you need to use a screwdriver to loosen the center screw on your mounting brace. Once your mounting brace is sliding freely, you can match up its length with the holes in your ceiling. Use a power drill to secure the mounting brace.

Up next, you will need to screw in the fixture bracket. This will mount nearly any new fixture to the recessed can.

Step Three - Wiring

Afterward, you can easily screw in the grounding wire that seems to be hanging freely. This wire is meant to electrically ground your fixture and prevent shock. Before you continue, screw on the traditional metal plate and medallion that come with most recessed light converters.

Finally, you can install your new pendant light, which may involve different directions based on the kind of new fixture you have selected.

Are pendant lights out of style?

Pendant lights can never go out of style. This is simply because they are available in far too many varieties. Pendant lights boast a superior volume of styles, using different materials and suspension cords. They are even versatile enough to serve more practical functions like accent lighting.

Click here to find this abstract minimalist pendant light on Amazon.

How long should a pendant light hang down?

Naturally, you don’t want your pendant light to hang at eye level. But you may want to give pendant lights special attention since they have so much personality. How low your pendant lights are should be determined by their position in the room.

Generally speaking, there should be about seventy-two inches between the floor and the base of the light fixture. However, you will want your pendant lights to hang around thirty to thirty-six inches above a countertop or island.

Remember to consider that your individual ceiling height may alter the optimal hanging length. Rachael Ray’s show website agrees, adding that your own height can make a difference, too.

Do pendant lights provide enough light?

Pendant lights are often added as a set of multiple fixtures. However, each individual light can usually produce more than enough brightness. Some pendant lighting is even outfitted with halogen lights. Plenty of others are able to accommodate powerful LED lights. But traditionally, they are only used for mood lighting.

Most importantly, you need to select a pendant light that is built for your intended purpose. For example, if you want the pendant light to look brighter, then you can choose a style that directly beams downward. This may include designs with no bottom or transparent bottoms.


While recessed lights are sometimes a useful addition to your home, pendant lights can serve almost any purpose. This makes them a brilliant and stylish alternative. However, replacing recessed lights can get complicated. Sure, you can always remodel. But now you can also decide which recessed light converter is right for you! 

Want to learn more about various lighting options? Check out these articles below:

How Far Apart Should Recessed Lighting Be?

How To Hang A Light Fixture On A Sloped Ceiling

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