How to Wire a Ceiling Light

By Kim
Last updated 20th April 2021 - Reading time: 5 mins

If you'd like to learn how to wire a ceiling light, read our easy-to-follow guide below. It includes step-by-step instructions and images, as well as a tool list of everything you'll need!

How to wire a ceiling light

What Tools Do I Need to Wire a Ceiling Light?

Below is a list of tools that you will need to wire in a new ceiling light:

  • Electric saw
  • Pliers
  • Drill

What Safety Equipment Do I Need to Wire a Ceiling Light?

When cutting through the wall and ceiling, you should protect your eyes with protective goggles or glasses to ensure no flying debris lands in the eye. You may also wish to wear protective gloves when handling the cut wall and ceiling parts and the joists to avoid the possibility of splinters.

What Materials Do I Need to Wire a Ceiling Light?

Below is a list of the materials that you will need for a ceiling light installation:

  • Light fixture box
  • Switch fixture box
  • Light fixture
  • Electrical wire
  • Wire nuts
  • Electric staples
  • Light switch cover
  • Light switch
  • Madison bars
  • Fish tape

How to Prepare for a Ceiling Light Installation

Before doing any electrical work in your home, you must always shut the power off to the house via the main power source.

How to Wire a Ceiling Light Yourself

Below is a step by step guide on how to install a ceiling light:

Step 1

Position the fixture box on the ceiling in the position where you would like the light to go. Once you're happy with the positioning, trace around the box leaving a mark around it on the ceiling. You will then need to cut through the ceiling with an electric saw according to the trace that you have just made.

how to wire a ceiling light step 1

Step 2

You will then need to choose an appropriate position for the light switch. This is usually on a wall close to the entrance to the room. Similar to the ceiling fixture box, you will need to trace around the light switch fixture box on the wall in the position that you would like it to go. Cut around your tracing lines using your electric saw.

how to wire a ceiling light step 2

Step 3

Locate the power source that you will use for the switch. This will either be at the main electrical panel or a junction box. Once you have found the source of power that you are going to use, you will then need to connect the electrical wire to it.

how to wire a ceiling light step 3

Do this by using pliers and wire nuts. Then, fish the wire through the joists until it reaches the area where the light switch is located. Ensure that the wire is securely fitted to the joists by using electric staples.

Step 4

Drill through the flooring in the appropriate stud bay and then send the wires through for the switch and the light. Feed this up to the switch area using fish tape.

how to wire a ceiling light step 4

Step 5

Mount the electrical box with the bars in the wall and then attach the wires to the switch. Screw the switch into the mounted box and then cover it over with the cover plate.

how to wire a ceiling light step 5

Step 6

Cut out a temporary access hole in the wall and fish wires from the ceiling fixture mount to your temporary hole. Then, continue to fish the wires from the temporary hole through the joist and all the way down to the area where your switch was wired in at the main power source.

how to wire a ceiling light step 6

Step 7

Mount the electrical box in the ceiling using bars and screws. Wire in your new light fixture to the electrical box and mount this to the ceiling.

how to wire a ceiling light step 7

Step 8

Patch up the wall where your temporary hole was cut in. You can now turn your power on and test the light.

how to wire a ceiling light step 8


How do I wire a ceiling light with two switches?

When wiring a light with two switches, you will need to locate another area where an additional switch can go. You will then need to wire in the switch in the same way that you did with the first one. You will also need to add additional wiring from the light ceiling mount to the new switch so that the second switch works in the same way as the first switch.

Do I need someone to sign off electrical work?

Yes, the work will need to be signed off in order to comply with building regulations.

Will dimmer switches help me save money?

Dimmer switches can contribute to cost savings on your electricity bills if they are adjusted correctly. If they only use as much power as necessary for the type of lighting effect, you would like.

What height should wall lights be?

On average, wall lights are usually positioned around 5 feet from the floor. However, there are no actual rules for how high wall lights should be. It will usually depend on the actual room, the ceiling's height, and the type of light fittings installed.

What are the benefits of choosing LED lighting over traditional lighting?

LED lights are very energy efficient. They use around 90% less electricity than traditional lighting systems. LED lights also have a much longer life span and can usually last up to 50,000 hours.


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