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Change a Light Fixture

Change a Light Fixture

One of the easiest ways to update a room is to change the light fixture. You can dress up your room with a traditional chandelier, or add contemporary elegance with a simple pendant light. No matter what look you choose, you can use this illustrated guide to learn how to install the new light fixture yourself.

Tools & Materials

Use this checklist when you go to the store and purchase your items.

Change Your Light Fixture Yourself

Change Your Light Fixture Yourself

Step 1

Turn off the power.

In your electrical circuit panel, locate the circuit breaker control for the room where you’ll be working, and switch the circuit off.

If the circuits in your panel aren't labeled, turn on the existing light, and turn off the power to each circuit until the light goes out. Leave the power off, and label this circuit breaker for future reference. Also turn off the light switch to the fixture now.

Label each breaker in your circuit panel for fast access when needed. If a circuit breaker trips, it cuts power, protecting the wires and fixtures from damage.

Step 2

Remove the old fixture.

Using a sturdy ladder, remove the cover of the old fixture. Remove the old wire connectors, and untwist the fixture wires from the installed wires. Remove the base or trim from the old fixture.

Step 3

Tighten the screws.

Check the electrical box in the ceiling where the fixture is attached to see if it's loose. If so, tighten the screws holding it in place, but don't overtighten.

Step 4

Connect the wires.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for matching the wires on the new fixture to the wires installed in your home.

Typically, the black wires connect to each other, and the white wires connect to each other. A grounding wire, which is often green, connects to a grounding screw on the grounding bar. Use a wire stripper to remove the protective coating of the wires on the fixture. Wrap the bare section of each fixture wire to the bare section of its corresponding installed wire, and screw on the wire connectors. Connect the grounding wire.

Step 5

Secure the base or canopy.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fold the wires into the electrical box or into a void in the base or canopy. Use the included hardware to attach the fixture base or canopy to the electrical box.

Have a helper nearby in case you need a third hand, especially if you’re replacing a fixture on a high ceiling.

Step 6

Install the bulbs.

Install the recommended bulbs with the correct wattage for the fixture.

Turn on the circuit at your electrical panel first, and then turn on the light switch to the fixture. If the light doesn't come on, turn off the switch and the circuit, and then check your wiring connections.

Step 7

Install the trim and cover.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, attach the trim and cover to your light fixture. If your fixture is a pendant or hangs by a chain, make necessary adjustments to the length.

Project Information

  • Skill Level: Beginner

*Time and Cost are estimated.