A Cheap and Easy Way to Update Your Recessed Lighting Installation

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You know how great inventions seem so simple once someone has invented it? Here is a perfect example:  Most modern homes, or renovated older ones, end up with recessed can lighting all over the place. It’s cheap, it does the job and it’s inoffensive. But it also has no style and looks like you cheaped out on the decor, or couldn’t make a decision. On top of that, while it’s inexpensive to install,  taking them out has always required an electrician, a plaster guy, and then repainting.

Until now.

Now this concept is not new.

When I used to sell antique lighting people used to ask me how to cover a recessed can fixture all the time. I had even done at least one installation that used a plastic decorative medallion and a custom bracket to hide a can that was ill-placed at a fancy retail store.

But it was not a beginner do it yourself kind of job. On top of that, it was not UL approved.

Finally some enterprising person developed a product that makes updating recessed lighting as easy as changing a light bulb. I first stumbled across these on Lowe’s website today, under the Portfolio brand name. But a little digging and I think they are actually made by Worth Home Products and carried by Home Depot under that name. I think the Portfolio brand is a Lowe’s exclusive brand. Either way, they look like the same products.

The basic kit is about $20 at Lowe’s and features a hook attached to a light bulb base with a cord coming out of it.

Screw the base into the recessed fixture and adjust the length of the cord by wrapping it around the hook. Then there is an over-sized canopy that will cover the recessed fixture which can be adjusted up and down the cord until it is snug against the ceiling.

Hanging from that is a fitter that will take a number of different shades from modern art glass cylinders as well as traditional and Tiffany style glass.

Plus if you are handy, you can adapt the fitter to any number of shades from other sources. I predict the ribbed clear glass with brushed nickel holder and the square stained glass styles will be very popular with people trying to de-muddle houses that were re-muddled between 1970 and the 2008 crash.

Seriously the inventor of this kit deserves some kind of award. You can’t even tell any sort of compromise had to be made in the decor. If only he could invent a spray that magically removes stucco exteriors, or Jalousie windows.

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  1. Susan.Yoo-Lee

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. I am in the process of buying a home and I will have to most likely renovate. We were thinking about adding recessed lighting and some antique wood plank flooring to just give it a semi-face lift. With the flooring, they are super expensive especially the kind I am looking for, wide white oak or antique oak plank flooring. I hate laminate, any suggestions on how I could save money on this quite expensive flooring? This is the look I am going for: http://www.wideplankflooring.com/browse-our-floors/ Thanks in advance.

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  2. brwood

    3 years ago

    There is fake wood Pergo and the like, then there is engineered wood products, which are real wood, though a laminate, like plywood. There is no way to get real wide plank hardwood floors cheap. But you can save some money buying the engineered reclaimed wood floors. The top layer is the nice wide plank reclaimed wood you want glued to layers of lesser woods.

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  3. Susan.Yoo-Lee

    3 years ago

    I didn’t know they had engineered reclaimed wood floors, okay I will definitely look into it. Thank you so much!!

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  4. Rick.Broida

    3 years ago

    I’ve installed a few of these myself, and while they’re great for the most part, some of the recessed cans aren’t deep enough for the fixture’s medallion to sit flush against the ceiling. Kinda frustrating.

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  5. brwood

    3 years ago

    Nothing is fool proof, I guess in a case like that you’d have to modify it (Lowe’s seems to have 2, with one of them having a C shaped metal hanger, which could certainly be modified), or make some sort of custom solution.

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  6. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    We have the recessed lighting and it’s okay. Problem is we don’t have high ceiling and my family are all 6 feet tall. Sometimes it’s best to keep things out of the way.

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