Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

How to convert a can light to a pendant light! Non-electrical tutorial

We are making progress on the kitchen and one more exciting recent updates is making the old can light over the sink into a really pretty pendant light!

I don't mind can lights for general kitchen lighting and spreading out light over big areas, but above the sink is an opportunity to highlight a really cool fixture! I thought about having an electrician move the power to the wall above the window so I could do a cute brushed brass sconce... but, that costs money, of course, and then we would have more drywall repair to do which I am soooo over after our big drywall patching project when we moved into our fixer upper!

So I started getting into really beautiful pendant lights! See all my kitchen inspirations here--there are SO many cool options that really add to kitchen design!! I started to really lean toward the midcentury mod-inspired clear glass globe look. Some inspirations, plus the one we picked...
Sources: 12345

I knew I could switch out the can light for a pendant since I'd done it at our townhouse over that kitchen sink. We had pretty high ceilings in that kitchen and it really made it more interesting to bring a fixture lower! I had pretty much no memory of the process of the can light converter switch, though, so I had to re-learn and I ran into some issues this time that I must not have had last time! So I wanted to put together this tutorial to walk you through what worked for us.

Of course I am not an electrician and only know enough to replace and wire fixtures safely in our home. We've done it many times but that's the extent of my knowledge. These instructions are meant to supplement the electrical instructions in the kit and your light fixture!

We did it with this pretty pendant light, but you could use this kit before installing a flush mount or chandelier, too!

How to Convert a Recessed Light to a Pendant or Flush Mount

You will need:


1. Shut off the power to the light at the panel.

2. Remove the old can light and bulb. Mine hadn't worked since we moved in, I realized because it had a broken light bulb stuck in it! So charming. I removed it very carefully.

3. Mark the holes for the brace by stretching it inside the opening and tightening the middle screw to make it the right size. Sorry, no pics of this part, but you can see a black permanent marker mark inside the opening.

4. Drill the holes. The video I watched didn't use this step; the guy in the video just used a very powerful driver and these "self-driving screws" that come with the kit. My drill did nothing with these screws and I couldn't make holes in the two layers of metal with anything I had on hand. I tried nails, other screws, several sizes of drill bits... barely a dent. So I went to the hardware store and they suggested this hard metal drill bit, which worked.

5. Screw the screws into the bracket and opening.

6. Install the power cord mount into the light bulb opening and attach the rest of the bracket. At this point you also attach the green ground wire to the side of the opening.

7. Install the metal plate from the kit and the mounting hardware from the light fixture. Put the cords through the opening.

8. With the white decorative plate in between, wire the light fixture to the cords in the converter kit and install the rest of the light fixture.


What a satisfying DIY project and incredible difference in a kitchen!

P.S.--I will definitely take some more photos once we get the tile backsplash installed and show you the rest of the kitchen!

Below I linked the converter kit, pendant light, and light bulb we used, plus the cute flush mounts that we used in our hall!

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