Installing Recessed Lighting

Installing Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting installations offer a way to change the style of an existing room in your home by accentuating what already exists. With these instructions you will be able to take older rooms and make them feel exciting, bright and new once more. There is absolutely no need to utilize back-breaking, labour intensive techniques when you can follow these short, but detailed instructions on how to install recessed lighting on your own time. You can choose to use recessed lighting to brighten an entire space or simply as an accent for a specific focal point in a room.


Taking the time to plan ahead will ensure that you are positioning your lights successfully. You can use graph paper to measure your room (with a scale where ¼ inch equals 1 foot) and sketch the furniture or anything in the room that is to be accentuated by the recessed lighting. Thus, you should also determine a goal ahead of time for what it is that you want to accomplish with the lights. Also, you should ensure that you have the proper permits and have made arrangements for an inspection.

In order to locate a suitable power source you must ensure the circuit is not overloaded. To check this you should shut off the circuit in the main panel, turn all devices off; add the wattage of everything that does not go on this circuit plus the wattage of the lights being installed and if the amperage exceeds 1440 watts for a 15 amp circuit or 1920 watts for a 20 amp circuit then you should locate a new power source.

You should also replace the existing electrical box with a new one and use the hole from the existing box to fish-in a new cable. Please remember to ensure that the new box has built-in cable clamps.

Running Cables

First, you will need to locate the ceiling framing members by using a stud-finder to determine the direction in which they are running. At this stage, recall your lighting plan and include sketches of the joist locations in the diagram. If you are not able to access the joist locations from an attic area in your home you can remove a 12 to 16 inch wide piece of drywall from your ceiling. The opening should be perpendicular to the joists and approximately 6 inches away from the wall area, yet still long enough to account for all of the joist spaces that will be included in the recessed lighting fixture.

In order to fish the cable there a number of tips to help ensure a smooth process. Begin by uncoiling and cutting off a straightened piece of cable that should include 15% extra length to compensate for finishing the frame. You should also leave 2 feet of extra cable at each opening and staple the cable to the joists at available openings. You may run one or two cables per ¾ inch hole that you’ve drilled, but be sure to keep holes at least 2 inches from the top and bottoms of each joist. Lastly, strip about 12 inches of the cable’s outer-sheathing then slide the cable into the electrical box with the sheathing extending ¼ inch away from the clamps.


To begin the finishing stages of your recessed lighting installation you should attach ‘new work’ housings in ceilings which remain open and use the junction box on the low-voltage fixture in order to connect any wires or cables leading to other low-voltage fixtures. Please remember to ensure that you rewire remodeling housings before you fasten them to the ceiling. Additionally, you should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions concerning the subsequent wiring and placement of the aforementioned mounting box.

Next, place the power and switch cables into the remodeling box. Ensure that they include corresponding labels. After, place the box in the opening and be sure that all screws are fastened-tight. You should also remember to install a new box at the old site and connect the new wires to your power source before reconnecting the outlet. Finally, call a licensed professional for an inspection before you complete the décor and any ceiling or wall patches throughout the room.