Home Remodel

Simple DIY: Changing Out Light Fixtures and 14 Flush-Mount Favorites

We remodeled our main level in the fall of 2018. For 2.5 years, we’ve forced every person over 6’0″ tall to duck under our hanging chandelier in our entryway. “Welcome to our home! Oops…watch your head!”

It’s been a great rustic farmhouse piece that looks just beautiful lit, but it was finally time to do one of those why-didn’t-I-do-this-sooner kind of projects. The light needed to be moved to another spot (another DIY coming soon!) and replaced with a flush-mount beauty that makes more sense for this low ceiling entryway.

And since I was able to switch out the lights in less time than Mya’s morning nap, I felt like I had to share this simple DIY that could save you hundreds of dollars you would spend on an electrician. Plus, I added some of my very favorite flush-mount and semi-flush light fixtures at the end of the post, because sometimes finding something economical that doesn’t look like the typical “boob light” is few and far between!

Turn electricity off to the fixture before you remove the light.

I grew up with a father who took one too many shocks avoiding this step because he felt like just flipping the switch off was enough. It’s not. It never will be. You still have a chance of having hot wires running through your junction box to other areas of your house that could really hurt you. Cut the power to your fixture before you start removing.

Take pictures as you remove your old fixture to remember exactly how it was wired.

Removing an old fixture is always a simple endeavor. Start with the visual screws at the top and you’ll see it come down piece by piece. My best advice is to take photos as you work so you can see exactly how wires were attached to your old fixture as you’re working to put up your new. In my old fixture, my remodel electrician wrapped the ground wire around the green screw attached to the crossbar. This was a great reference as I was working on putting my new fixture up and I knew to do the same thing.

Remove the crossbar from your previous light fixture.

Every fixture comes with some sort of harness to attach to your built-in junction box. Some are crossbars and some are round discs. Many times, there will be screws already positioned to attach to your new fixture so I always recommend removing the old harness for the new one supplied.

Work on determining the wiring before you get it up there.

This is more of a sanity tip than anything. When you have a heavy light that you’re holding above your head, you don’t want to be figuring out how the wires will work together. Read through the instructions, reference your pictures of your old fixture’s wiring, and prepare the wires according to directions PRIOR to getting up to assemble.

Connect wires in the junction box.

My first advice comes from a place of reading your fixture’s instructions. They are going to tell you exactly what you need to connect. MOST times, you are looking to connect black wires to black wires, white wires to white wires, and ground wires to ground wires (typically copper wires), or to wrap it around the green screen on the crossbar. If you are given multiple black and white wires, you can wrap the black wires together and the white wires together before securing them.

To attach the wires together, take the black wire from the junction box and hold it with the black wire from the fixture and twist it with a wire nut until it can no longer twist. Follow the same process with your white wires and your ground wires (if needed).

Tuck those wires and the wire nuts into the junction box, paying particular attention that the wire nuts do not become loose in the process. Loose wire connections will cause your fixture to not work properly, or worse, lead to a potential fire hazard.

Secure your light fixture to your crossbar and add light bulbs and shade.

Your fixture will explain how to attach the fixture to the crossbar harness properly. This can be a unique process to every light fixture. Once you’ve added your light bulbs and shade, it’s time to test out your light to see if it works properly. If you turn the power back on and it’s working properly, congratulations!! You did it! If your fixture does not work properly, you will need to take the fixture down and ensure that the wires and wire nuts haven’t gotten loose when pushed into the junction box. If the wires look like they are intact, it’s time to call an electrician to ensure nothing is faulty.

I love the way a light fixture can completely transform a space. The way it can bring out different colors, different styles, and add a conversation piece to a room. For Mya’s room, we chose a stunning flush-mount light from World Market (sold out – similar HERE!) that brings an elegant, girly touch to her space that is still one of my favorite lights in the house.

For our hallway, we took a more substantial, dark, industrial rustic piece (#1 below!) that tied in the blacks of our front room with the dark wood accents used with our furniture and living room shelving. When you walk in the front, I wanted to have something that combined style with function (no more watching your heads!) and flowed well with everything you saw in front of you.

As I move into remodeling our laundry room over the upcoming weeks, I have my eye on a few of these beauties below that will be the perfect match for the space. With pieces like these on the market, it’s time to tackle a few more lights in our home!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14

xx Rachel

One Comment

  • Lindsay

    I am shocked at the number of people who do not put ceiling fans in bedrooms. When I bought my new construction home I even had to get an electrician to come out after closing to install the ceiling fans because the builder wouldn’t install them. I also agree that low hanging lights on the main floors can be rather problematic for tall people. Haha!

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