Recessed lights provide unobtrusive ceiling-level light to rooms. But when a different lighting system is desired, the recessed lights may need to be removed. Plus, since some types of recessed lights waste energy, many owners find it best to remove them.
Before You Begin
The most common way for do-it-yourselfers to remove a recessed light is to take out the recessed light housing, install a remodel (or old-work) box in its place, terminate the wires in the box, and cover the box with a blank ceiling box cover. This is a popular approach because it is easy, fast, and creates little mess. While it does leave blank plates on the ceiling, the plates can be painted to match the ceiling color.
Terminated live electrical wires cannot be left buried within ceilings or walls. Wires must be safely terminated within an approved electrical box.
The box cannot be left in ceilings or walls. The outer (bottom) edge of the box must be flush with the finished surface of the ceiling or wall. The box’s cover plate cannot be faced with drywall or any other covering. The plate must be exposed and accessible.
While it’s acceptable to leave abandoned dead wires in a ceiling or wall, it’s good practice to fully remove old wires whenever possible. This eliminates the possibility of the wire inadvertently being energized later on.
Source: The Spruce