Wall sconces and vanity lights are lighting fixtures that mount on vertical surfaces. They are primarily used for ambient and task lighting. Most wall fixtures attach to a ceiling box with a swivel strap so you can easily adjust the fixture. This project guide will show you the steps for a typical arrangement and give you a few tips for handling the more difficult ones.
Before you start
- Assemble the necessary tools before you begin to work.
- Changing out a light fixture may cause a small amount of dust and debris in your work area, so clear off nearby countertops or furniture.
- Be sure to turn off electrical power to the circuit before you begin removing the old fixture.
- Turn off electrical power to the fixture at the electrical panel and use and appropriate testing device to ensure no power is present at the fixture before you begin work. DO NOT RELY on a wall switch to protect you from electrical shock.
- If you are adding a new light fixture where one didn't currently exist, consult with your local building department to determine if a permit is required.
- Consider using CFL light bulbs instead of standard bulbs to help save energy with your new fixture.
- If you're removing an older fixture that's still in good working order, consider donating it to charity or if you can, recycle the metal and glass components rather than just throwing it in the garbage.
Turn off the power to the fixture. Test with a voltage meter. Remove the glass globe, shade, and bulb. Remove any nuts or screws holding the fixture in place. Carefully pull the fixture from the wall (pry if it has been painted in place); avoid yanking on the wires.
If the fixture is heavy, use a piece of rope or twine to hold the fixture up while you disconnect the wires. Twist off the wire nuts that connect the wires.
Strip 1/4" inch of insulation from the wire tips. Twist and connect wires: white to white, black to black, and copper to copper. Twist a plastic wire cap onto each connection. Fold the wires into the junction box, then place the fixture over the studs or nipple, then attach with the cover plate per the manufacturer's instructions.
Install any globes or shades that go with your new fixture then install the bulbs. Restore power to the fixture and check to ensure it operates correctly. If something doesn't work properly, be sure to turn the power back off at the breaker before you remove the fixture and check your connections.