Wondering why your light won’t turn on? Make sure you head back to your circuit breaker and replace the fuse or flip the circuit to the on position. Congratulations on your DIY job!
If possible, try to do this job during the daylight hours so there’s natural light to help you see what you’re doing. Find a sturdy stepstool or ladder that can safely support you within easy reaching distance of the ceiling. Lessen the weight of the existing fixture as much as possible by removing any heavy glass globes or other parts.
This type of lighting provides general illumination for the room and substitutes for natural lighting when it’s not available. Recessed ceiling lights arranged around the room are especially useful when the kitchen is being used simultaneously and for different purposes. A surface-mounted ceiling light in the center of the room can also work — or opt for a chandelier for a touch of drama. You can add a gentle glow around the perimeter of the room with cove lighting, such as lights hidden behind a molding installed several inches below the ceiling. “Consider placing lights on top of upper cabinets to indirectly reflect off a light-colored ceiling,” Strandberg says. “If you have at least 12 inches of space from the top of the upper cabinets to the ceiling, this is an inexpensive way to brighten a kitchen.”
The fixture will come with more chain than you need. To shorten the chain, first hang the fixture from the collar loop. Then hold it at its hanging height and mark with tape the chain link above the one you need to open. Remove the link below the one marked with tape by bending it open using two locking pliers.
Thread the wire through the collar loop and nipple so all of the excess wire extends into the junction box. Do the same for the bare ground wire. Bend all the wires down and out of the junction box so you can work with them, and hang the end chain link onto the collar loop.
Split the fixture wire into two for its last 6 inches — you can do this by grasping the ends of the two wires and pulling them in opposite directions. Strip about 1/2 inch of plastic coating off the ends of both fixture wires.
To start, loosen the nut that holds the metal plate covering the junction box (the plastic or steel box within the ceiling that houses the connected electrical wires). Pull the wires down from the junction box, and turn the plastic wire nuts on the wires counterclockwise until they unscrew from the wires completely.
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Add a special spotlight or aim track lights so they illuminate a prized collection of dishware or a striking architectural feature. “Halogen lights have defined beam patterns and cast hard shadows, making them excellent for accent lighting,” Strandberg says. Remember, kitchen lighting isn’t all about function. Fixtures also finish the look of any design scheme. “Light fixtures are art,” says Marie Lail Blackburn, a certified master kitchen and bath designer and owner of MLB Design Group in Seattle. “There are so many beautiful choices out there. The choice is very personal.”
Replacing a light fixture is an easy way to update the look of your space. While all the wires and instructions may seem complicated, with our help, this will be one weekend project you can check off your list! Remember to always keep your safety in mind and follow our steps carefully for a chandelier you will be proud of.
Holding the weight of the fixture in one hand, remove the screws that hold the thin metal crossbar to the junction box with the other hand. Remove crossbar and light fixture. Leave only a hole with wires and the junction box behind.
The kitchen is at the center of many home activities, so it deserves a smart lighting plan that addresses the room’s various roles. Good overall lighting ensures the kitchen is a welcoming place for family and friends to gather, but you’ll also want efficient light aimed at kitchen work areas. A well-lit kitchen layers three different types of light: task, ambient, and accent.
Connect the new end of the chain to the loop atop the light fixture using the special link provided with the new fixture. Then weave the fixture’s insulated wire and bare ground wire through the length of chain, going in and out of each link. At the top end of the chain, weave the wire through the collar nut and canopy.
Be sure to illuminate countertop areas in the primary cooking and prep space. “You want to get the fixture close to the task area, so mounting the lights on the underside of the upper cabinets is convenient,” says Eric Strandberg, a senior lighting specialist with Lighting Design Lab in Seattle. Affordable xenon lights can easily be retrofitted into an existing kitchen. Choose from strip or puck lights. “In the case of an island or peninsula countertop, with no upper cabinets to attach lights to, you should hang pendant-style fixtures or project light from the ceiling,” Strandberg says.
About 4 inches from the end of the fixture ground wire, twist it around the ground screw (leaving a few inches untwisted) on the crossbar, and tighten the screw. Then join the end of that wire with the end of the supply ground wire in the ceiling using a wire nut. Carefully tuck all the wires back into the junction box, keeping the connections to the black/red and white supply wires well separated. Raise the canopy to the ceiling and secure it with the collar nut.
Connect the white wire in the ceiling to the white wire on the fixture, and the black wire on the fixture to the red or black wire in the ceiling. Twist their ends together, and tightly secure them with the wire nuts that came with the fixture.
You want to make sure no electrical current is flowing to the light fixture. Be sure the fixture you are replacing is turned on, then find your home’s electrical service panel lined with fuses or circuit breakers. Start at the top of the box, and remove and replace each fuse or flip each circuit breaker to off momentarily. Have someone watch for when the fixture’s light turns off, and leave that circuit disconnected. Back in the room where you’re working, flip the light switch on and off to double check the circuit is offline.
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