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Renovate and Update Recessed Lighting

By Edited Sep 17, 2015 0 0

Many homes come with recessed lighting. Recessed lighting offers the convenience of having a nothing more than a light bulb screwed into a recessed can in the ceiling – no more lamps to knock over or choose when decorating a room. Over time and due to changing tastes and styles recessed lighting begins to look dated. Removing the recessed lighting and covering the old holes can be costly and typically requires the help of an electrician along with a handyman to tape and spackle the ceiling before painting it. Does this mean you are stuck with your recessed lighting – absolutely not. There is an alternative that any hand do it yourself type homeowner can tackle and one that requires pretty much no home improvement skills whatsoever. Both results are beautiful – choosing which one you would like depends on the décor you prefer.

Recessed Lighting Ceiling Medallions

If you do not have a do it yourself bone in your body, you can still successfully tackle this extremely easy renovation project. Ceiling medallions add architectural detail to a ceiling along with visual interest.

Turn the lighting off in the room, just the light switch – so easy you don’t even have to shut the power for the breaker box.

Set up a tall step ladder under the light to gain access to the top of the room around the recessed lighting can.

Measure the size of the lighting can from the interior edge to the interior edge. The standard size is usually a 6 inch recessed can. When buying a medallion to fit around recessed lighting, measure the inside of the can and buy the medallion 1/8 inch larger than the can measurement.

Choose ceiling medallions that has the same size interior circle dimension as the lighting can. The outer circles run anywhere from 8 inches up to 12 or 14 inches or more depending on the look you want. Some ceiling medallions are highly decorative while others are plain rings – it all depends on the look you want. Ceiling medallions come as one full circle or two piece half circles and can be made of plaster, which may be difficult to install, some are made of wood which can also be difficult to install. They are difficult to install because plaster tends to be heavy and both plaster and wood will shows gaps in an imperfect ceiling. The easiest type of medallion to install is a lightweight polystyrene material. Polystyrene is also flexible which allows the installer to position it tightly against the ceiling even if the top of the room is not completely flat.

Lat a small tarp or newspapers over a flat and level work surface. Paint the ceiling medallion whatever color you choose. You can paint the medallion to match

Wrap a piece of 220-grit sandpaper around a sanding block.

Lightly sand the top of the room around the lighting can. Match the amount of sanding to the size of the medallion.

Wipe the ceiling with a tack rag.

Paint the medallion either before or after installation with a color that matches the ceiling, walls, trim or coordinates with the ceiling and wall color.

Turn the medallion over so the flat, smooth side is facing up.

Run a wavy bead of construction adhesive over the back of the medallion.

Place the medallion up to the edge of the recessed light with going over the edge of the can.

Hold the medallion firmly in place for 30 to 60 seconds.

If it is a two piece medallion repeat with the second half.

Examine the medallion and look for gaps between the medallion and the top of the room. If you see any gaps, fill them in with paintable silicone caulk to achieve a flawless finished project.

Done – easy and no mess.

Converting to a Pendant Light

Turn off the electrical power at the main box.

Remove the light bulb from the can.

Take off the clips that hold the can in place in the ceiling.

Twist the can to remove it from the ceiling. You will be left with an open socket.

Buy a can converter kit. The kit will come with everything you need to turn the recessed light fixture into a hanging light fixture.

Use an electrical circuit tester to ensure the power if off.

Follow the can converter kit manufacturer’s instruction on installation and hook up. The conversion kit typically involves screwing the converter into the open electrical socket and placing a cover with a hole in the center over the recess in the ceiling. The cover is attached to the ceiling with screws. You will have a couple of wires dangling from the ceiling that you will later attach the pendant fixture to.

Place the pendant light’s cap on top of the fixture and connect it with the chain that will hold the light.

Insert the electrical wires through the middle of a ceiling medallion. Choose a ceiling medallion that has an inner circle just big enough to push the wires and chain through. The medallion will hide any imperfections around the conversion pieces. If you chose a ceiling mount light fixture, you will not use a ceiling medallion because a ceiling mount fixture fits flush to the ceiling and will hide, holes and gaps.

Read the directions that came with the light and then join the corresponding wires together.

Twist a bulb in place in the fixture.

Turn the power back on at the breaker and turn the light on to make sure it works before setting it in place.

Turn the breaker back off after the test to continue with the lighting installation.

If you are using a ceiling medallion with your fixture, tape it in place with low tack blue painter’s tape to temporarily hold it to the ceiling.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific lighting fixture to complete the installation. Installation instructions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but basically they instruct you on how to firmly attach the fixture in place on the ceiling.

Remove the low tack tape from the medallion.

Restore the power to the fixture from the main breaker box.




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