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Can You Paint Recessed Light Trim?

April 18th, 2024 | 3 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

Woman removing recessed lights from ceiling to be painted.

When you're sprucing up your home's look, you may be contemplating what to do with the recessed lights on your ceiling. They used to blend in, but now they stick out like sore thumbs, making your space feel less cozy. 

The yellowish tint they've picked up over time doesn't help either, messing with the vibe of your room. It's enough to make you wish you could just snap your fingers and fix it all. Before you replace them, consider having the light trim painted. 

At Brush & Roll Painting in Omaha, NE, we understand the intricacies involved in home Interior Painting projects. With our expertise, we ensure that you receive guidance and support throughout your painting project, particularly when addressing important project decisions.

In this article, we'll delve into the considerations, benefits, and best practices associated with painting recessed lights. By exploring the impact on design aesthetics, addressing common concerns, and providing practical tips, we aim to empower you to make informed decisions and achieve professional results for your upcoming interior painting project.

Benefits of Painting Recessed Lights

Ceiling in living room of home with yellow stained recessed lights.

1. Removing Yellow Stains on Recessed Lights

Recessed lights turning yellow can be a common issue caused by several factors. Over time, the heat generated by the bulbs can cause the plastic or metal trim of the recessed lights to be yellow or discolored. 

Additionally, exposure to dust, dirt, and other environmental factors can contribute to this yellowing effect. In some cases, the type of bulb used in the recessed lights, such as halogen bulbs, can also increase the yellow appearance. 

This yellowing not only affects the appearance of the lights but can also impact the quality of light emitted, resulting in a dimmer or warmer hue. 

To address this issue, it's essential to regularly clean the recessed lights to remove any accumulated dust or debris. 

Additionally, consider replacing older bulbs with newer, more energy-efficient LED bulbs, which produce less heat and are less likely to cause discoloration. 

Painting the recessed lights is beneficial for refreshing your ceiling, but if the light covers are not cleaned regularly and the bulb is not replaced, the issue could keep occurring later down the road.

Cohesive Look

Bright white kitchen with recessed lights painted white with ceiling.

Painting recessed lights along with the ceiling can create a cohesive and unified look in your room. By painting the lights to match the ceiling color, you can achieve a seamless appearance that enhances the overall aesthetic of the space. 

Additionally, painting recessed lights can help them blend into the ceiling, making them less obtrusive and allowing other design elements to stand out. After all, recessed lighting is meant to 

Considerations Before Painting Recessed Lights


  • Material Compatibility: Recessed lights are typically made of metal or plastic, and the type of material will affect the painting process. Metal lights may require a primer designed for metal surfaces to ensure proper adhesion and durability, while plastic lights may need a special plastic primer.
  • Heat Dissipation: Recessed lights generate heat, especially if they are halogen or incandescent bulbs. Before painting, ensure that the paint you use is heat-resistant and suitable for use on surfaces that may be exposed to high temperatures. Painting with the wrong type of paint can cause the lights to overheat and potentially become a fire hazard.
  • Manufacturer Recommendations: Check the manufacturer's guidelines for your recessed lights to see if they provide any specific instructions or recommendations regarding painting. Some manufacturers may advise against painting their lights, while others may guide the best practices for painting them safely.

When to Paint Recessed Lights

Recessed lights stained yellow on ceiling painted white.

Painting recessed lights is typically best done in conjunction with painting the ceiling. If you're planning to refresh the look of your room by painting the ceiling, including the recessed lights in the painting project can help achieve a cohesive and uniform appearance. 

This is especially true if you're changing the color of the ceiling, as painting the lights to match ensures a seamless transition between the ceiling and the lights.

Again, if you are struggling with yellow stains on recessed light trim, painting them is a great option.

Important Tips for Painting Recessed Lights

Man removing light bulb from recessed light fixture on white ceiling.

  • Consider Professional Painters: If you're unsure about painting recessed lights yourself or if your lights require special attention or expertise, consider hiring a professional painter to ensure the job is done safely and correctly.
  • Turn Off Power: Before painting recessed lights, painters should always turn off the power to the lights at the breaker box to avoid the risk of electrical shock. You should also remove the light bulb from the recessed lights, to ensure they don't get any accidental paint marks.
  • Clean Surfaces: Your painting company should thoroughly clean the surfaces of the recessed lights before painting to remove any dust, dirt, or grease that could affect paint adhesion.
  • Use Proper Paint: It’s important to select a high-quality paint that is compatible with the material of your recessed lights and is heat-resistant if necessary. Avoid using spray paint directly on recessed lights to prevent overspray and ensure even coverage.
  • Apply Paint Carefully: Painters may use a small brush or foam roller to apply paint to recessed lights, taking care to avoid getting paint on electrical components.

Should You Paint Your Recessed Light Trim?

Painting recessed light trim along with the ceiling can contribute to a cohesive and unified look in your room. 

By hiring a professional painter and ensuring they follow proper preparation and painting techniques, you can achieve professional results that enhance the overall aesthetic of the space. 

With over 25 years of experience, our team at Brush & Roll Painting is well-trained and experienced in tackling any interior paint project.

To ensure you are confident with every decision of your upcoming interior painting project, download your Interior Painting Project Checklist. 

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Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.