How to Install a New Lighting Fixture

by Shelley SmithJune 13, 2012

One of the best ways to update a space is to add new lighting fixtures. We’ve replaced about 90% of our builder grade fixtures in our home with new ones, and it’s really made a huge difference! When most homeowners think about replacing an old lighting fixture with a new one, there are usually two big reservations.

1. New lighting is too expensive

and

2. I don’t know HOW to change a lighting fixture.

So today I’m going to address both of these concerns, because they are easily solved. First, if you’ve never shopped for new lighting fixtures, and want to stay within a reasonable budget, then here are some great places to look.

Your local hardware store:

0208-lowes-lighting

We’ve purchased quite a few lighting fixtures from our local hardware stores. In most cases, you can find a great fixture for between $50 – $200. Last year we found the perfect chandelier with small drum shades for over our kitchen table, and it only cost us $99.00!

Kitchen Lighting

Overstock.com:

overstock lighting

unique lighting

Overstock.com is filled with thousands of lighting fixtures at affordable prices. Another great perk is that shipping on all orders is always only $2.95! Plus, if you’re looking into really unique lighting, they have that too.

Ikea:

Ikea lighting

Ikea is one of our favorite places to look for really affordable, stylish and sleek lighting. Most of Ikea’s lighting is priced under $50.00. From ultra modern styles, to classic and even coastal, Ikea has a little bit of something for every room in your house.

Ikea Lighting - thehouseofsmiths.com

Now that you’ve got some ideas about where to find affordable lighting, let’s talk about HOW to install your fun new fixtures.

I think people get nervous to change out lighting fixtures because it seem a little scary and unknown to most of us. But literally in just a few simple steps, you can know everything you need to know, in order to change out lighting fixtures like a pro!

Prep:

– Turn off ALL power to the electrical source that you’re working on. This means that you’re going to want to flip the switch off on your circuit breaker that conducts electricity there, NOT just the light switch that turns your light off/on on your wall.

Removal:

– Unscrew any bolts holding up your old fixture.

– Once free, slowly lower the fixture to expose the electrical wires. You will see that they are connected with connectors or wire nuts.

How to install a new light

– Untwist the wire nut connectors to free the old fixture, and remove.

Wire Connecting Installation: 

– Have someone help you hold up your new fixture near the ceiling so that you can install it.

– Use your wire nut connectors to twist together your new wires to the ceilings wires. You may need to cut back a bit of the plastic surround around the new fixtures wires, to expose them a bit.

You can buy one of these wire stripper tools for only a few dollars.

Striping electrical wires

connecting electrical wires

When connecting your wires remember to twist your exposed wire ends clockwise together, and then twist your wire nut on clockwise as well, to combine them to make a good connection:

– Connect your white wire in the ceiling, to the white wire on your new lighting fixture. (neutral to neutral)

– Connect your black wire in the ceiling, to the black wire on your new lighting fixture. (these are known as the “hot” wires). Your hot wire may be red or another color, not necessarily black. As long as it’s NOT green, white or gray, it is the power or “hot” wire.

– Then lastly, connect the ground wire from the ceiling, to the ground wire on the new lighting fixture.

*The ground wire will usually look like plain exposed copper wire.

*It might also be a bit thicker than the other wires.

*Newer ceiling brackets may also have a ground screw, that you simply wrap your lighting fixtures ground wire around. Just make sure the new lighting fixtures ground wire is located at least one turn UNDER the ground screw.

install_ground

Final Mounting Installation:

– After all of your wires are connected properly, carefully coil your wires back up into the lighting box cavity.

– Have one person continue to hold up your lighting fixture while you install and tighten on the new screws to your fixture, and you’re DONE!

Track Lighting from Ikea - thehouseofsmiths.com

Before and after - thehouseofsmiths

Ikea Track Lighting - thehouseofsmiths.com

Installing a new lighting fixture in your home really is something that any homeowner can do! Not only can it brighten up your space, but it can also be a great way for you to showcase your personal style, from one room to the next.

For more information on how to convert a can light into a recessed light, visit our blog

The House of Smiths.

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Ikea lighting fixture - how to install a light - The house of Smiths

About The Author
Shelley Smith
1 Comments
  • Alexander Thomas
    August 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Hi, my girlfriend and I had our kitchen lightbulb burn out and when we went to check it it appears to be unavailable to replace at any local hardware stores in Canada (its a self ballasted fluorescent bulb from a company called Tospo but no one seems to know what it is) and it connects to the lamp with 2 oddly shaped prongs.

    We decided instead to buy a new lamp from IKEA and install it in its place but when I opened everything up I was confused about the green wire inside, I have no idea what im suppose to do with it! please help

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