How to Install Recessed Lighting in Your Home Without Attic Access

recessed lighting in living room

Though it's not always necessary, recessed lighting can provide a beautiful and functional addition to any home. In many cases, however, the installation of recessed lighting requires access to the attic - something that not all homeowners have.

But what if there was a way to install recessed lighting without having to go through the attic? Believe it or not, it is possible.

In this article, we will show you how to do just that.

So whether you're looking for a way to add some extra light to your home or want to give your living room a makeover, read on for instructions on how to install recessed lighting without attic access.

Why Would Someone Want to Install Recessed Lighting Without Attic?

There are a few reasons why you might want to install recessed lighting without attic access.

Maybe you're renting and don't have permission from your landlord to go into the attic. Or, perhaps you live in a condo or apartment and don't have any attic space to speak of.

In some cases, it might just be that you're not comfortable going into the attic - and that's perfectly understandable. Whatever your reasons, know that you can still enjoy the beauty and functionality of recessed lighting by following the instructions below.

Here's What You'll Need

Before we get started, there are a few things you'll need to gather for this project. First, you'll need a few recessed lighting pots (the housing for the recessed lights). The number you'll need will depend on the size and layout of your room.

In addition to the housing, you'll also need recessed LED lights (if you're using LED lights) and:

  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Electric tape
  • Drill
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • 3/4″ spade bit or hole saw

Once you have all of your materials, you're ready to get started.

Choose Your Location

The first step is to choose the location for your recessed lighting. If you're not sure where to start, consider where you would like the light to shine and go from there.

For example, if you want to add some extra light to a dark corner, you might want to place a light near that corner. Alternatively, if you're trying to highlight a piece of art on the wall, you might want to place a light above it.

Once you've decided on the general location for your recessed lighting, it's time to start marking the spots.

Mark the Spot 

cutting hole out of ceiling for recessed light

Using a pencil, mark the spot on the ceiling where you want your recessed lighting to go. It's important to be as precise as possible here, as even a small mistake can result in an uneven or lopsided installation.

If you're not confident in your ability to freehand, consider using a level or tape measure to help you mark the spot. Once you're satisfied with the location of your marks, it's time to move on to the next step.

Turn the Power Off

Before you start drilling holes in your ceiling, it's important to turn the power off. Otherwise, you run the risk of electrocuting yourself or causing serious damage to your home.

To be safe, we recommend that you shut off the power at the breaker box. That way, you can be sure that there is no electricity running through the wires in your ceiling.

Cut the Hole

installing a recessed light in ceiling

Using a drill, make a small pilot hole in the center of your mark.

Once you've made the pilot hole, insert a saw into the hole and begin cutting around the perimeter of your mark. If you're not comfortable using a saw, you can also use a hole saw or jigsaw.

Just be sure to take your time and be as precise as possible. Remember, even a small mistake can result in an uneven or lopsided installation.

Install the Lighting

fixing wiring of recessed light in ceiling

First, insert the LED bulbs into the recessed light fixtures.

Next, use wire cutters to strip about ½ inch of insulation from the end of your wire. Once you've done that, twist the exposed wire around the screws on the back of the recessed light fixture.

Tighten the screws to secure the wire, then repeat this process for each light fixture.

Now it's time to connect the wires. Start by connecting the black (hot) wires together, then do the same for the white (neutral) wires.

Finally, use electric tape to wrap all of the connections. This will help to prevent any shorts or other problems.

Now That You're Done

installing recessed LED light bulb

You did it! You've successfully installed recessed lighting without attic access. All that's left to do now is sit back and enjoy your handywork.

However, before you do that, be sure to turn on the power to your home at the breaker box. Once the power is back on, you can test your lights by flipping the switch on and off.

If everything looks good, you're ready to enjoy your new recessed lighting. If not, don't worry - simply double-check your connections and make sure that all of the wires are properly connected.

Test the lights one more time, and you should be good to go.

Cost of Installing Recessed Lighting

The cost of installing recessed lighting will vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and style of the lights, the type of wiring you need, and the cost of labor.

Tip: Read our How Much Does It Cost to Install Recessed Lights? article for full details of how much recessed lighting costs. To summarize:

First off, you’ll need the recessed lights themselves, which are very cheap - only £6 ($7) each.

Additionally, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per hour for labor (on average). And, if your project is complex or time-consuming, the electrician may charge more.

As always, it's a good idea to get multiple estimates before you decide on an electrician. This will help to compare prices and find the best deal for your needs.

Final Thoughts

Installing recessed lighting is a great way to add style and functionality to your home. And, with a little know-how, it's a project that most homeowners can handle on their own.

If you're thinking about adding recessed lighting to your home, we hope this article has given you the information you need to get started.