How to Install a Light Fixture

Written by Gabriela

The instruction given here can be used for indoor or outdoor wall or ceiling mounted fixtures. The parts may be different but the concept is the same.


1. A voltage meter
2. A pair of pliers
3. A flat head and Phillips head screwdriver
4. Wire Cutters
5. Wire Strippers

Gather all your tools before beginning the project so you can keep your head into the task at hand without having to stop your lighting fixture installation and searching for tools.


Here’s a picture of the new chandelier that is being installed, since most light fixtures are assembled in different ways you should follow the instructions for your particular light.

The first thing I do after assembly is setting the chain length. The chain is shortened by removing links. There is a special tool for this but it can be hard to find and if you use pliers then you can damage the finish on the chain. Here is a trick I picked up using 2 screwdrivers to open a chain link that doesn’t cause any damage. Don’t open the link to much as opening and closing links stresses the metal and the link can break.

The next step in this lighting fixture installation is to shorten the chain to the proper length and weave the cord through the chain. Push the cord through the hole in the loop attached to the crossbar. Remember to place the canopy and fastening nut over the chain before putting the crossbar on. You can see the order in the following picture:

The next step is to trim the electrical cord down so that there is about 6 inches of cord coming through the crossbar. 6 inches is enough for you to work with in the electrical box but not so much that it’s hard to tuck it all in.

Your ready to attach the chandelier to the ceiling now. Left the fixture up to the ceiling and attach the crossbar to the electrical box using the new screws provided with your light fixture. Then wire it by twisting the exposed wire together and fasten with a wire nut. Since most fixtures use zip cord that doesn’t have typical house wiring colors you’ll have to check for a “ribbed side” on the chandeliers wiring. The ribbed side will go to the white house wire and the smooth side will go to the black house wire. Grounds are bare copper and go together.

Once the wire nuts are on you can tuck the wiring back into the electrical box, bring up the canopy flush with the ceiling, then use the nut to fasten the canopy to the ceiling. We’re almost finished hanging this chandelier!

Your finished! Go ahead and turn the circuit breaker on now and flip the light on, here’s a picture of our completed project. A much nicer look than that old polished brass chandelier that was there before.

The whole process took less than an hour and the end result is a much more modern look that adds value to your home and didn’t cost an arm and a leg to do. I hope you found this article helpful and good luck with your lighting project!

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