Hello there friends. I actually have a Quick Tip Tuesday for you today. Shocking, I know. And I don’t have to feel guilty about it tearing me away from my kitchen remodel, because… it’s part of the kitchen remodel. I had no idea it was so easy to upgrade my old recessed lighting to LED, but it sure was.
Among the other million and one things I’m trying to accomplish in my kitchen, is the lighting. I am addressing it little by little. So far, I’ve decided to have 3 sconces on the wall above the sink, but I haven’t ordered them yet. I know I need more recessed lighting, both in the kitchen and in the dining room, which is now part of the kitchen. (Read about the demo HERE) Right now I have 2 recessed lights and one (broken) flush mount in the kitchen. I got an estimate from an electrician to add 6 recessed LED lights and to convert the 2 existing to LED, plus take care of some other very simple wiring. The price = $1400! Now I might have paid $400, but OMG I am way to cheap for that.
So plan B is to hold off on the recessed lighting until the rest of the kitchen is finished and I get my sanity back. Meanwhile, I was selling Girl Scout cookies at Lowe’s on Sunday night and of course I had to do a little browsing while I was there. Of course.
I had never really thought to update the recessed lighting to LED, but duh, there were tons of options and it looked really simple. The LED lights are so much more attractive! And hello, the box says they have a 32 year life!
I spotted a few options at BJ’s as well, while I was picking up a pack of LED lightbulbs. I am so over the CFLs. They take too long to get bright, they’re ugly, they die within a few years (despite the claims of a long life) AND they’re bad for the environment and need special recycling. Totally done with those.The kits seem to come in two sizes, one for smaller 4″ recessed lights, and another for larger, either 5″ or 6″ lights. The thought being that if you have an old 5″ trim, then you’ll be okay with a little extra trim on the ceiling. And you will be just fine. The LED lights are much more inconspicuous than my old, black rimmed fixtures, with giant bulbs that always needed replacing.
Of course the new LED light will look even better when I touch up the ceiling paint around it, but if I were to drag out the paint this would not longer be a quick tip Tuesday.
How to Update Recessed Lighting to LED:
- Figure out the size of your existing lights, most likely 4″, 5″ or 6″.
- Select an LED retrofit kit. Figure out if you want BRIGHT, WARM, or SOFT light, or some other variety. You’ll want all your recessed lights to match, so take the time to check out the little display in the store that shows you the difference. I went with the least expensive warm light.
- To be extra safe the instructions say to cut the power to the lights, but you’re not really going to mess with any electrical, so I’ll leave it up to you. Unscrew the old bulb.
- Depending on your fixture there may or may not be more to remove. I had an ugly black ring inside my light housing that needed to be removed. I highly recommend holding a cardboard box of some sort under the light before you remove the fixture. There were lots of dead bugs and dust hiding in mine.
- You may not need to take anything else out. Test fit the LED trim to see if there is a way to secure it to your existing housing. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but there are tons of recessed light housings out there (new construction and old construction models) and several different retrofit kits. My kit did not secure to my existing housing, so I took the housing (white metal part) out. If I bought one of the other models which are magnetic, then the LED trim would have stuck to my existing housing.
- Unclip the adapter from the LED light/trim combo. On my model, that’s the orange piece. Then screw the adapter into the socket you would normally screw a light bulb into.
- Attach the adapter back to the LED light. The orange pieces on mine fit right back together.
- Secure the LED light/trim combo to the ceiling. Mine had spring clips that held it in place. A magnet would have been even easier.
Don’t judge my bad paint job. The entire kitchen ceiling will be addressed at some point. So that’s it! It took way longer to write about than it took to install. I think my basement will be next. Do you have any recessed lights that need an LED upgrade? Pin this for later.