Change a wall light fixture

Last Updated on March 13, 2021 by Dave Farquhar

It’s easier to change a wall light fixture than it looks. If your wall light fixture is old, broken, or you’re just tired of it, you can swap in a new one in 30 minutes.

First things first

change a wall light fixture
If you have a dated wall light fixture, you can change it out for a new one in less than 30 minutes.

When you replace your wall light fixture, turn off the power to the existing fixture first. Changing light fixtures with the power on is unnecessarily dangerous. Flip breakers at the breaker box until the light goes out. If you just can’t figure out which breaker goes with that light, then throw the main breaker and use flashlights or other portable lighting to do the work.

I also recommend removing the light bulb and the shade at this point.

You won’t need many special tools for the job. A screwdriver and needle nose pliers should be it. The fixture will come with everything else you need.

You can probably change a wall light fixture in less than 30 minutes if you’ve never done one before.

Change a wall light fixture: Removing the old fixture

If you look closely, you’ll find two thumb nuts of some sort holding the fixture to the wall. Loosen those nuts, and you’ll find two screws protruding from the bracket through two holes in the fixture. The fixture will slide right off.

Behind the fixture, you will find two or three wires tied into wiring in the wall via wire nuts. Take a picture of the wiring at this point if anything confuses you. Unscrew the wire nuts one at a time to free the fixture.

Change a wall light fixture: Installing the new fixture

Wire up the new fixture just as the old one was. The white wire on the fixture goes to the white wire (or wire bundle) in the wall. The black wire also goes to the black wire in the wall. And the bare wire goes to the bare or green wire in the wall, or to a screw in the box itself if the box is metal.

If the new fixture doesn’t fit onto the old fixture’s bracket, remove the old bracket with a screwdriver. Set up the new bracket according to the instructions that came with your new fixture, then screw the new bracket to the electrical box in your wall. Slide your new fixture into place and secure it with the included thumb nuts.

The moment of truth

With the new fixture mounted, install the shade, then install a bulb. Go back to the electrical box and restore power. Come back to the fixture and flip the switch. I’ll bet you the light comes on. Enjoy your new wall-mounted light fixture.

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