This is the "before" shot: a bleak and dreary 40W existence. It doesn't look that dim in the photo, but such is the black magic of cameras.
This is the final product -- I'm really happy with how these turned out, and it only took about an hour to do the actual work (a bit longer to stop and take pictures and write this guide along the way!)
Turn off the power to the room
Do this from your breaker panel. From here on out, you're going to need a flashlight or, preferably, a headlamp. You can also run an extension cord from another room with a light.
Disassemble the old recessed light fixtures
This will vary by fixture, but most units pull right out. Mine pulled right out and was fully disconnected by unscrewing a standard lightbulb connector that was screwed into the recessed can's bulb outlet.
Installing the can conversion kit
Your pendant light will come with a mounting bracket, similar to the one you'll find above any ceiling fan or lighting fixture. But since most recessed ceiling cans don't come preinstalled with mounting points (holes) for attaching our light mounting bracket, we're going to use a conversion kit. These kits are great -- they essentially allow us to tap into the existing can without the need to remove it from the ceiling.
Install the conversion kit per the manufacturer's instructions. I'll guide you through the use of the Westinghouse Recessed Light Converter (P/N 0101100), which I've linked to at the top of this guide.
Mount the adjustable bar and screw in the socket adapter
Screw in the bulb socket adapter. Then, using two sheet metal screws and your favorite cordless drill/driver, mount the adjustable bar to the can housing.
Center the sliding mounting bracket adapter
There's a small bar that slides inside of the adapter you've just attached. This is the bar that the mounting bracket will attach to. Loosen the center screw, center the bar, and then tighten the screw. This will ensure that your lighting fixture is centered.
Attach the fixture mounting screws
Attach the two included fixture mounting screws. If you forget to do this, you'll have to take the mounting bracket off and reattach it.
Attach the mounting bracket
The kit also comes with a mounting bracket that you will attach the pendant light fixture to. Using two small machine screws, attach the mounting bracket to the adjustable bar.
Attach the grounding clamp
Use a thin flathead screwdriver to attach the grounding clamp to a clean, bare part of the lighting can.
Shorten the pendant cord
The cord on the hanging pendant light fixture is about 4ft long. Determine how tall you want it to be, and shorten it. To do this, loosen the plastic set screw on the side of the fixture and slowly pull the cord through. You can either cut the excess cord off, or leave it on and coil it up in the can (in case you want to adjust the height later). Then, retighten the set screw.
Attach the lamp bracket
The pendant light comes with yet another bracket that will attach to the pendant's base. Use two nuts to attach the pendant's bracket to the ceiling mounting bracket.
Attach the decorative medallion and wire it all up
The conversion kit comes with a decorative medallion that covers the ceiling hole and brackets quite nicely. Hold the medallion to the ceiling , thread the light fixture wires through the bracket, and attach the wires using the included wire nuts (black to black, white to white, copper to copper).
To use a wire nut, first twist two wires together (clockwise) and then screw the wire nut on (also clockwise).
Attach the pendant light base to the ceiling
Use the two included decorative nuts to secure the pendant to the ceiling.
Attach the glass shade
Attach the glass pendant shade to the hanging fixture using the supplied adapter.
Admire your work!
Turn the power back on, attach your favorite bulbs, and you're all done!