DIY Replace A Light Fixture

“Let there be light!”

There are always little “eye sores” around the house that need to be replaced. Today my wife “suggested” that I replace a light fixture. Actually, this needed to be done a while ago, but I rationalized that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. My wife doesn’t agree, at all. My interior decorating skills are pretty weak, so the type and style of the new light fixture landed squarely on my wife’s shoulders.

Old Light Fixture

“Out with the old.”

I want to be sure to make something perfectly clear before we start this DIY project. Make sure you turn the electricity off at the circuit breaker. I know, I know, you have worked around electricity your entire life, blah blah blah. Just take the extra step and be safe. Luckily for me I have two little safety reminders that always want to help. I took full advantage of their willingness to help too.

DIY Screwdriver Kid

“I give you, EXCALIBUR!!”

After you have successfully turned off the electricity at the circuit breaker you will want to remove the old light fixture. Most ceiling mounted light fixtures are attached by a mounting bracket. You will find this bracket inside that ceiling attached to the junction box which houses the wires. I removed the Wire Nuts first (you might find 2-3 depending on your fixture), then unscrewed the fixture from the mounting bracket. I use a step ladder when replacing ceiling mounted light fixtures. Not only does it help me stay safe and secure, but I utilize the top as a rest for the fixture leaving my hands free to work. The only other tool I needed for this DIY project was a multi-head Screwdriver.

DIY Ladder Kid


Once the old fixture was removed I was ready to install the new one. This process is basically the removal process in reverse. I connected the wires with the provided Wire Screws ( you will probably see a black,white, and green or green/white wires) by joining black to black and white to white, and then connecting the green/white wire to the copper grounding wire. Make sure you connect to ground. In some cases you will have a ground wire leading to the fixture that is made of small gauged copper, take this wire and wrap it around the green screw labeled ground and tighten. Connecting with Wire Screws is very simple, just place both ends of the wires into the plastic screw and twist while holding the wires.

DIY Replace A Light Fixture

Old Light Fixture Removed

“Electricity off at circuit breaker.”

Finally I attached the new fixture to the ceiling with the provided hardware(I recommend keeping the old hardware if it isn’t broken). The base goes on first after all wires are properly connected. To attach the base I lined up the holes on the side of the base with the screws on the mounting bracket and held it in place with one hand. With my free hand I twisted the screw caps tight, this secured the base to the ceiling. Make sure you get all the wires stuffed back into the junction box. All that is left is to put some new light bulbs in and attach the glass globe. After I screwed in the bulbs I screwed on the globe. This was all done with my fingers. One thing to look out for when attaching the glass glob is the placement of the washer. Be sure to have the rubber washer between the nut and glass so as not to crack or chip the glob as you tighten it down.

New Light Fixture

“In with the new.”

This DIY project shouldn’t take you longer then 20-30 minutes. As you can see, tools are minimum and clean up is simple. Just don’t be in a rush when working your ladder, and remember to SHUT OFF THE ELECTRICITY AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER!

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