Replacing a ceiling mount lighting fixture in the munchkins’ room

A quick way to update any room is to begin with lighting fixtures. Our home was originally a quick remodel and flip before we acquired it. As a result there have been a ton of improvements we have wanted to do, but obviously time and money are always a factor. One of the projects we have finally started is replacing some of the generic stock lights with more unique lighting to liven up each room.

The benefits can be quick, inexpensive (depending on your indulgence of designer fixtures), and amazing. And you can make your choice eco-friendly by choosing LED energy efficient bulbs and by donating your old fixture to someone in need.

Here, we chose to replace a standard stock ceiling light in the munchkins’ room with a cool star light that they love.

Here’s the scoop:

1) Before beginning any electrical project it is definitely wise to consult with a licensed electrician. That being said, if you are a DIY type of person like myself, this project is pretty simple. The main thing is ensuring that the power is turned off to the light, ideally at the breaker. Relying on the switch itself can be dangerous as sometimes power may still be running to the wires with the switch off. A safe way to go is to use a voltage tester and check to see that there is no power running in the lines.

2) The next step is to remove the old light fixture. Ceiling mount light fixtures are all different but have a couple things in common - each is somehow connected to the ceiling and each is also connected to the house wiring where power is received. So once you loosen the fixture connection you will reveal the wiring connections you will need to disconnect.

3) Unscrew the caps to both the black and white wires and unscrew the ground wire and set the old fixture aside.

4) What you should now see is the old cross bar attached to the junction box. You may be able to reuse this cross bar but will need to check your new fixture for alignment of necessary screws to hold the new fixture. Your new fixture will come with a new cross bar and most of the time this will need to be used as spaces and holes will be specific to the fixture. It is an easy switch - just unscrew the old cross bar from the junction box and screw in the new.

The new crossbar/baseplate is installed above.

5) Once the new cross bar is in place, connect the white fixture wire to the white main power wire and use a screw cap and black electrical tape to ensure the connection remains tight and protected.

6) Next, do the same with the black fixture wire to the black power wire with screw cap and black tape.

7) Then connect the ground wire to the cross bar using the ground screw that typically comes with the new crossbar.

The new fixture wiring connected (above).

8) Once all connections have been made, tuck the wiring into the junction box and place the canopy or fixture over the junction box with the applicable screws.

Done! This simple improvement took a mere 20 minutes and what a difference it makes. And per my advice above, I made this a bit more eco-friendly by using LED energy efficient bulbs and the old light fixture will be donated for re-use!

On to the next project!