Installing a Light Fixture

wall sconce with shade lighting the wall
  • 0.5-1
  • Beginner
  • 50-125
What You'll Need
Wire cutter
Flat-head screwdriver
Strong chair or ladder
New lighting fixture with screws and mounting bracket
What You'll Need
Wire cutter
Flat-head screwdriver
Strong chair or ladder
New lighting fixture with screws and mounting bracket

With a few simple steps, some basic tools, and a chair or ladder, almost anyone can install a light fixture with ease. After picking out the perfect lighting fixture, read the following guide to get started safely installing it.

Step 1 – Turn off the Power Supply

Before beginning the project, you must turn off the current to avoid getting shocked. Turn off the circuit breaker, or remove the fuse that gives power to the area you will be working on.

Step 2 – Remove Any Fixture Covers and Bulbs

If your light will be installed in a hard-to-reach spot, set up your ladder or sturdy chair to reach the area. Then, remove any lightbulbs and fixture covers. You may need specific tools to remove a cover, like a screwdriver, depending on your fixture.

Step 3 – Disconnect the Light Fixture

Next, disconnect the existing light fixture from the electrical box. There should be one or more screws on the fixture used to mount it to the electrical box. Remove these, and remove the old mounting brackets as well, if they do not match the new fixture. Install the brackets your new lighting fixture comes with.

Step 4 – Disconnect the Existing Connections

Take note of how the existing fixture has been connected to electricity, as you will install the new wires in the same way. Usually, there are two different ways the connections are set up. The wires might be connected directly to screws on the back of the light fixture, or there may be wires coming out of the fixture and connected to the wires coming from the electrical box in the ceiling or wall.

Disconnect the wires connecting the old fixture to the circuit, and proceed to the next step.

Step 5 – Connect the New Fixture

Which method you follow will depend on how you noted your wires are set up in the previous step.

Direct Connection

Connect the wires from the electrical box with your new light fixture. There should be three wires: a white one, black one, and green one. The white wire is the neutral wire, the black wire is the positive wire, and the green wire is the ground wire. A bare copper wire may also be used for the ground.

To connect these wires directly to the light fixture, wrap the black wire around the brass screw, and connect the white wire to the silver screw. Connect the green ground wire to the green screw.

Wire Connection

If the fixture you have already has wire connections, connect these with the wires coming from the electrical box. Use the colored wire nuts for this. These wire nuts are made of plastic, and they should be included with the fixture package. When using this type of connection, connect the colored wires to their matching-colored wire nuts.

Step 6 – Mount the Fixture

Next, mount the new fixture to the electrical box with the screws provided. If you are using heavy fixtures, you will have to mount it on the mounting bracket, which needs to be installed first.

Step 7 – Turn on the Power

Finally, screw in a new lightbulb and switch on the power supply. For the most energy-efficient lighting, try using an LED lightbulb.