Wiring a Light Switch with Multiple Lights

Two light switches.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 75-150
What You'll Need
Junction boxes
Screw nuts
Staple gun
Wire stripper

When adding a new light fixture to a home, a homeowner might like to know how wiring a light switch with multiple lights can be done. Having multiple lights set up at the same switch can be beneficial. An example of this may be near the front entrance.

You might want to be able to light up the entrance both inside and out and also control a living room or kitchen light. Although this wiring job can initially seem to be a daunting task, after reading these few simple steps, you will see how easy it really can be to do yourself.

Step 1 - Install Junction Boxes

You will want to install one junction box and switch for each light fixture. The reason you must install the junction boxes is that they will safely hold the wires. The boxes that you install for the light fixtures should include bracket support, as they will have to be sturdy enough to hold the light fixtures in place. If you are installing a chandelier or ceiling fan, they can be heavy, so you will need to ensure that the junction boxes for the light fixtures are strong.

Step 2 - Install Wiring

If you are installing this set of switches off of an existing circuit in your home, before you begin, ensure that there are no more than 15 items, or loads, on the circuit. Each light or outlet counts as 1 item, or 1 load. To run the wire from the circuit that already exists, you will need to splice the wires together. Connect each wire to the wire of the same color and then connect them with the screws in the junction box.

Next, run the wire to the first light fixture, allowing approximately 8 inches of slack in the junction box. Run another wire to the next light fixture, again allowing approximately 8 inches of extra wire inside of the light fixture junction box. Repeat this process for each light fixture. Using your wire strippers, strip ¾ of an inch off of each wire so that the copper is exposed. Cut 6-inch lengths of extra wire to use for completing the circuit for each one of the outlets. Strip both ends of these pieces of extra wire. Then separate the red, black, white and ground wires on each one.

Step 3 - Install the Switches

Using each of these extra wires, known as pigtails, match each color wire to the wire of the same color in the light fixtures. Secure a screw nut to the ends of each one. Secure the light fixture to the junction box for the light, following the instructions from the manufacturer. Do this for each light fixture. On the last fixture, lead the outgoing wire down the wall to the junction box for the light switches, allowing an additional 8 inches of wire. Strip ¾ of an inch off of the end of this wire. Using the pliers to bend the ends, connect the wires to the switch. Tuck the wires into the junction box and then slide the switch into place inside. Screw them into place and add the switch plates.