hanging light fixture

How To Change A Light Fixture

1 hour

Before You Start:

Additional steps may be needed if you are installing a light fixture for the first time, rather than replacing an old one. Consult one of our experts today for advice, or contact a licensed electrician to install it for you.


  • Replacement Light Fixture
  • Wire Nuts


  • Wire Cutters/Strippers
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight

Step 1: Turn Off Power

Locate your home’s electrical panel. Inside the panel, locate the circuit breaker that is labeled for the room where you will be changing the fixture. Switch the circuit to the off position.

If your breakers are not individually labeled, you will need to test each one until you find the correct breaker. If you shut off the correct one, none of the outlets/switches in that particular room should work. Label the breaker for future reference.

Step 2: Remove Old Fixture

Remove the base cover of the old light fixture. Remove the wire nuts and untwist the fixture’s wires from the ceiling wires. Remove the base of the old fixture.

Step 3: Check Electrical Box

Once the old fixture is removed, examine the electrical box in the ceiling. If it is loose, tighten the screws. The box needs to be able to support the weight of the new fixture. If you have any questions or doubts, do not proceed and call a licensed electrician.

Step 4: Connect Wires

Follow the fixture’s instruction manual carefully for specific instructions on matching the wires on the new light fixture to the wires in the ceiling. Using a wire stripper, remove the protective coating of the fixture wires, and wrap the bare sections of each wire around the corresponding ceiling wire. Screw a wire nut on each connection. Connect the grounding wire. If you do not have an instruction manual or are unsure of any connections, contact a licensed electrician.

Step 5: Secure The Base

Place the connected wires back into the electrical box. Use the hardware included with your light fixture to attach the base to the electrical box.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Once the base is secure, screw bulbs with the appropriate wattage onto the fixture. You may want to consider an energy efficient bulb (LED). Return to your electrical panel and switch on the circuit breaker. Turn on the light. If the light does not turn on, turn the breaker off again and check your wiring connections, or contact a licensed electrician to check them for you.

If your light turns on, great! Install the trim and cover of your light fixture. If you installed a hanging light, adjust the length as necessary. Follow any additional steps listed in the instruction manual.

Need a new light fixture? Norfolk Hardware & Home Center is Boston's largest family-owned hardware and home center, family owned since 1934. Recently remodeling, Norfolk Hardware has over 40,000 square feet of retail space with everything you need for your home improvement project, including lights of all shapes and sizes! If they don't have your style in store - don't worry, they will order it for you, with free shipping to the store! Contact Norfolk Hardware & Home Center today.