How to Replace a Closet Light Fixture


There are any number of reasons why you might want to replace the light fixture in your closet. You may want to add the flexibility of having an electrical socket along with the light, the existing fixture might not provide enough light, or perhaps you are just tired of a plain, ugly light bulb. Removing and replacing these fixtures is a straightforward procedure that requires only a basic understanding of wiring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Dry wall mounts
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wire nuts
  • Remove anything in the closet that might block your access to the light fixture or make access awkward. Then go switch the electricity for that room off at your fuse box or circuit breaker box.

  • Remove any lampshade or glass shield from the light fixture. Then take the existing light fixture out of the wall by either unscrewing it or unfastening the nuts.

  • Unscrew the wire nuts splicing the wires from the old fixture to the wiring coming out of the metal wire box set in the wall.

  • Set up the mounting for your new light fixture. This might require you to put a small cross-bar onto the wire box with bolts and nuts, for example. The fixture will then be screwed or bolted on to that cross-bar. Alternatively, you may need to drill holes in the drywall adjacent to the wire box and tap in drywall mounts with a rubber mallet for a big fixture. Follow the instructions that came with your light fixture and be ready to adapt to your circumstances.

  • Splice the wires to your new light fixture by holding the bare ends of the wires together, twisting them and then screwing on a wire nut. The pattern is usually to match the bare ground wires together, then the white neutral wires and finally the black or red live wires.

  • Mount the fixture and secure it with screws or nuts as appropriate. Screw in a light bulb and put any lampshade or glass shield onto the fixture.

  • Turn the power back on and try the fixture out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a bright, sunny day to do this job and have a battery-powered lamp or lantern ready to provide extra light. You will be working in a closet in a room where the power has been switched off, so proper lighting might be a problem.

Related Searches


  • Home How to; Popular Mechanics; April 2000.
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