Recessed Lighting Wiring Instructions

a large kitchen with huge island and rows of recessed lighting.
  • 4-8 hours
  • Advanced
  • 25-225
What You'll Need
Drill with drill bits
Switch box
Measuring tape
Wire cutters
Wire strippers
Junction box
Recessed lights
Wire caps
12 or 14 gauge Romex electrical wire
110/20 amp breaker
Screwdriver set
Light switch
Multimeter or test light

If you will be installing recessed lighting, the wiring will have to be done in series for multiple light fixtures. Installing multiple recessed lights in a series is not difficult at all, and can be completed in a relatively short period of time. Wiring a series of lights is similar to wiring only one light. This is due to the fact that the series of connections are basically one long electrical wire with several breaks that are connected together with wire caps. This easy to follow step-by-step guide will show you everything you need to know to properly wire recessed lighting in your home.

Step 1 - Turn Off Power to Room

Before you begin, make sure that you turn off the power to the room where you will be installing the recessed lighting. You can use the a light switch that will be connected to the recessed lighting to make sure the power has been turned off, or you can open up the switch box and test the connection with a multimeter.

Step 2 - Install Recessed Lighting

Determine a plan for laying out your recessed lighting and install the recessed lights into the ceiling. However, make sure that you don't tighten down any covers or install light bulbs until you finish the wiring.

Step 3 - Cut Lengths of Electrical Wire

Take your tape measure and measure the distances between the recessed lighting. Also, measure the distance between the junction box and the closest recessed light. Then, take a pair of wire cutters and cut the Romex wire to lengths that are about 4 to 6 inches longer than your measurements. This will give you enough additional wire to work with when making the connections.

Step 4 - Wire Positive Leads

man wiring recessed lights

Begin by wiring the black wires on the recessed light to the black wire on the Romex electrical wire. Attach the connections with wire caps and run the pieces of wire between each recessed light. When you finish making a connection, there should be three wires for each wire cap: one black wire for the light fixture and two black wires for the pieces of Romex electrical wire that are connecting the recessed lights.

Step 5 - Wire Negative Leads

Using the same method you used to wire the positive, or black wires, do the same for the white negative wire leads. Be sure that all exposed wires or bare wires are completely covered with the wire caps.

Step 6 - Wire Ground Wiring

Run the bare copper wire or green wire that is used for grounding each fixture to an appropriate ground. Or, you could bundle the ground wires together and connect them to a common ground much in the same way as you bundled the black and white wires for the fixtures.

Step 7 - Join Connection in Junction Box

Run the final piece of wiring from the first light fixture to the junction box that will be used to provide power to your recessed lights. Then, connect the black, white, and ground wires to the corresponding wires in the junction box and shield them with wire caps.

Step 8 - Turn on the Power

Turn the power back on, install the bulbs, and enjoy your recessed lighting.