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How To Replace Recessed Lighting With Flush-Mount Lighting

How To Replace Recessed Lighting With Flush-Mount Lighting


How To Replace Recessed Lighting With Flush-Mount Lighting: Are you tired of the outdated and unattractive recessed lighting fixtures in your home? Perhaps you’re looking to modernize your living space or simply want to change the style of your lighting. Whatever the reason, replacing recessed lighting with flush-mount lighting can be a transformative and relatively straightforward home improvement project. This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of making this switch, helping you achieve a sleek and contemporary look while enhancing the overall illumination in your space.

Recessed lighting, also known as can lights or pot lights, has been a popular choice for many homeowners due to its subtle and unobtrusive appearance. However, as interior design trends have evolved, flush-mount lighting has gained popularity for its minimalist and versatile design. Flush-mount fixtures are mounted directly onto the ceiling, providing a seamless and streamlined look that complements various decor styles.

Whether you’re replacing recessed lighting in your kitchen, living room, bedroom, or any other room in your home, this guide will cover essential aspects of the process. From selecting the right flush-mount fixtures and tools to safely removing your existing recessed lights and wiring the new fixtures, we’ll provide you with the knowledge and confidence to complete this project successfully. By the end, you’ll have a well-illuminated space that’s not only visually appealing but also aligned with your desired aesthetic. So, let’s embark on this illuminating journey of replacing recessed lighting with flush-mount fixtures to transform your living spaces.

How To Replace Recessed Lighting With Flush-Mount Lighting

Can you change recessed lighting to flush mount?

You’ll need a flathead screwdriver, wire cutters, electrical tape, and, most importantly, a recessed lighting converter kit. This kit made it so easy to change our recessed lighting into flush mounts. It adjusts to fit any recessed can light from 4 to 6 inches.

Yes, you can change recessed lighting to flush mount lighting. It’s a relatively straightforward process that involves removing the recessed fixtures and wiring, patching any holes or gaps in the ceiling, and then installing the new flush-mount fixtures in their place. 

The key steps include selecting the right flush-mount fixtures to match your aesthetic preferences, turning off the power to the recessed lights, safely removing the old fixtures, and wiring the new ones according to electrical codes. Once the flush-mount fixtures are securely in place, you can enjoy the updated and streamlined look they bring to your space, along with improved lighting quality and a more modern ambiance. 

Whether you’re looking to enhance the appearance of your home or simply want to switch to a different style of lighting, replacing recessed lighting with flush mount fixtures is a feasible and rewarding DIY project.

This transformation not only adds a touch of elegance to your living spaces but also enhances the overall functionality of your lighting. Flush-mount fixtures provide even and widespread illumination, making them ideal for various rooms in your home, from kitchens and bedrooms to hallways and bathrooms. Additionally, their sleek design doesn’t intrude into your living space, creating a more open and spacious feel.

Before embarking on this project, it’s crucial to plan carefully, ensuring you have the necessary tools, materials, and a clear understanding of the wiring process to guarantee a safe and successful transition. With attention to detail and a bit of patience, you can successfully change recessed lighting to flush mount, revitalizing your home’s lighting and aesthetics to better suit your style and preferences.

What is the difference between recessed lighting and flush mount lighting?

For larger rooms, you can use both. However, if you want a low ceiling and well-protected lights, go for recessed lighting for effective usage. But, if you wish to move to the next level to enjoy minimal space, brighter light, and comfortable maintenance, flush mount lighting is your ideal choice of lighting.

The primary difference between recessed lighting and flush mount lighting lies in their installation and appearance. Recessed lighting, also known as can lights or pot lights, is installed within the ceiling, so the fixture itself is concealed, with only the light emitted from the ceiling. This provides a minimalist and unobtrusive look, making it a popular choice for modern and contemporary design schemes. 

In contrast, flush mount lighting fixtures are installed directly onto the ceiling, sitting flush or close to the ceiling surface. They are typically visible and come in a wide range of styles and designs, from traditional to contemporary. 

Flush mount fixtures are more decorative and can serve as statement pieces in a room while providing general illumination. Additionally, flush mount lighting is easier to install and retrofit in existing spaces compared to recessed lighting, which may require cutting into the ceiling and additional wiring. The choice between the two types of lighting depends on your design preferences, lighting needs, and the level of visibility you desire for your light fixtures in a given space.

What is a flush-mount light?

A flush-mount light is installed directly onto the ceiling and has no visible center stem that lowers the sockets and holds the fixture below ceiling level.

A flush-mount light is a type of ceiling-mounted lighting fixture that is installed directly onto the ceiling surface, sitting flush or very close to it. Unlike recessed lighting, where the fixture is hidden within the ceiling, flush-mount lights are visible and come in a variety of styles, designs, and sizes to suit different aesthetics and lighting needs. 

These fixtures are typically mounted using a bracket or plate, and they can have a decorative cover or shade that conceals the light source. Flush-mount lights are popular for their versatility and functionality, providing general illumination to a room while also serving as a design element. 

They are commonly used in bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, and other spaces where a low-profile and stylish lighting solution is desired. Flush-mount lights are relatively easy to install and are a practical choice for both new construction and retrofitting existing spaces, making them a popular choice in residential and commercial settings alike.

How do you measure a flush mount ceiling light?

Measure the length and width of your room in feet, add these numbers together, and then convert the total to inches. The answer is the ideal diameter you should strive for when choosing flush lights for any room.

Measuring a flush-mount ceiling light is a straightforward process that involves determining the fixture’s dimensions to ensure it fits your space properly. To do this, follow these steps:

Width/Diameter: Measure the width or diameter of the fixture, which is usually the most critical measurement. This measurement is taken across the widest part of the fixture, whether it’s circular, square, or another shape.

Height/Depth: Measure the height or depth of the fixture from the base to the highest point. This measurement is essential to ensure that the light doesn’t hang too low and obstruct the space below it.

Ceiling Clearance: Consider the distance between the ceiling and any potential obstructions, such as beams, vents, or other fixtures. This clearance will help you choose a flush-mount light that fits comfortably within the available space.

Mounting Bracket Size: If you’re replacing an existing flush-mount fixture, measure the size of the existing mounting bracket or plate to ensure compatibility with the new fixture.

What tools are essential for replacing recessed lighting with flush-mount fixtures?

When replacing recessed lighting with flush-mount fixtures, having the right tools on hand is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful installation process. Here is a list of essential tools you’ll need for this project:

Screwdriver: You’ll likely need both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver for various tasks, such as removing screws and securing electrical connections.

Wire Cutter/Stripper: A wire cutter/stripper tool is essential for cutting and stripping the electrical wires cleanly and safely.

Voltage Tester: This tool helps you confirm whether the power to the recessed lights has been safely turned off before you begin working on the electrical connections.

Pliers: A pair of needle-nose pliers can be handy for bending wires, securing connections, and making small adjustments.

Wire Nuts: Wire nuts are used to connect and secure electrical wires. Make sure you have an appropriate size for the wires you’re working with.

how to replace recessed lighting with flush-mount lighting

How can you safely remove recessed lights before installing flush-mount lighting?

Safely removing recessed lights before installing flush-mount lighting is a crucial step in the process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you do it safely:

Turn Off the Power: Before doing anything, ensure the power to the recessed lights is turned off at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Confirm that the lights are not receiving electricity by testing them with a voltage tester.

Remove the Bulbs: If there are bulbs in the recessed fixtures, remove them first. This will make it easier to access the housing.

Remove the Trim: Many recessed lights have trim or bezels that cover the housing. Gently pry or unscrew the trim to expose the inner housing. Be cautious not to damage the ceiling or surrounding area.

Disconnect the Wiring: Inside the housing, you’ll find electrical wires connected to the fixture. Carefully disconnect the wires by unscrewing the wire nuts or unclipping any connectors. Remember which wires are connected to which—typically black or red wires are live (hot), white wires are neutral, and green or bare wires are ground.

What are the key considerations when selecting flush-mount fixtures for your space?

Choosing the right flush-mount fixtures for your space involves several key considerations to ensure that the lighting not only complements your decor but also meets your functional needs:

Ceiling Height: Take into account the height of your ceiling. If you have low ceilings, select flush-mount fixtures with a slim profile to prevent them from hanging too low and obstructing the space.

Room Size: Consider the size of the room. Larger rooms may require multiple flush-mount fixtures or a larger fixture with higher lumen output to provide adequate lighting.

Style and Aesthetics: Flush-mount lights come in various styles, from traditional to modern and everything in between. Choose fixtures that align with your overall interior design and personal preferences. Consider factors like color, finish, and the shape of the fixture.

Lighting Needs: Determine the purpose of the lighting. For ambient or general lighting, opt for fixtures that provide even and widespread illumination. If you need focused task lighting in specific areas, look for fixtures with adjustable features or directional lighting options.

What are the basic electrical wiring steps involved in this lighting upgrade?

Replacing recessed lighting with flush-mount lighting involves several basic electrical wiring steps to ensure a safe and functional installation. Here are the fundamental steps you should follow:

Turn Off the Power: Before you begin any electrical work, turn off the power to the existing recessed lights at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Confirm that there is no electricity flowing to the fixtures by using a voltage tester.

Remove the Old Fixture: If not already done during the removal of the recessed lights, remove any old lighting fixtures, including the housing and wiring. Make sure the wiring is completely disconnected.

Prepare the Wires: Examine the electrical wires in the ceiling. Typically, you’ll have a black or red wire (hot/live), a white wire (neutral), and a green or bare wire (ground). Trim the wires if necessary and strip the insulation back about 1/2 inch to expose the copper conductors.

Connect the New Fixture: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your flush-mount fixture to connect it to the wiring. Typically, this involves connecting the fixture’s black or red wire to the black or red wire from the ceiling (hot), the white wire to the white wire (neutral), and the green or bare wire to the green or bare wire (ground). Use wire nuts to securely connect and insulate the wires, and wrap them with electrical tape for added safety.

How To Replace Recessed Lighting With Flush-Mount Lighting


Replacing recessed lighting with flush-mount lighting is a gratifying home improvement project that can breathe new life into your living spaces. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this tutorial, you’ve learned how to tackle this transformational task with confidence and success.

First and foremost, you embarked on this journey with a vision of creating a more contemporary and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere in your home. Flush-mount lighting offers a clean and stylish alternative to recessed fixtures, enabling you to achieve a more polished and updated look while maintaining a functional and well-lit environment.

Throughout this guide, you gained valuable insights into selecting the right flush-mount fixtures for your space and ensuring you have the necessary tools and materials at your disposal. You also learned the importance of safety when working with electrical components, as well as how to safely remove recessed lights and wire the new flush-mount fixtures, all while adhering to the best practices and precautions.

As you completed each step of the process, you likely experienced a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, knowing that you were actively enhancing the ambiance and functionality of your home. Whether you replaced recessed lighting in your kitchen, living room, or any other area, the benefits of this project extend beyond mere aesthetics. You’ve improved the overall lighting quality and efficiency of your space, making it more inviting and comfortable for everyday living.

So, as you bask in the warm glow of your newly installed flush-mount lighting fixtures, take pride in the fact that you’ve not only successfully completed a DIY project but also transformed your home into a more beautiful and functional space. Congratulations on a job well done!


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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