How to Install a Wall Sconce Light Fixture
Do your wall sconces annoy you? Are they stuck in the 90’s, 80’s, or worse yet the 70’s? When I picked out these sconces several years ago, they were the only ones I could find that I thought were okay. But, with a living room makeover in the works, I decided to upgrade them for a more modern pair.
It’s time to learn how to install a wall sconce. Of if you are like Pretty Handsome Guy, I’m going to teach you how to install new “light fixtures that hang on the walls” (lest you think I was talking about a breakfast treat.)
Whatever you call it, you can definitely do this. Ready?
Install a Wall Sconce Light Fixture Materials:
- Screwdrivers (flat head and phillips head)
- Light fixture
Optional: wire cutters/wire strippers
Install a Wall Sconce Light Fixture Instructions:
Turn on the lights you will be working on. Shut off the power to your light(s) at your circuit breaker. Check the lights to verify that the power has been turned off.
Removing the Current Light Fixture:
Remove the light bulb and glass shade. Unscrew the mounting nuts from the face of your light fixture.
Lift the light fixture off the mounting bracket and let it hang (or get a friend to help hold the fixture if it’s heavy.)
Remove the wire nuts and untwist the wire connections. Start with the black (hot) wires first, then the white (neutral) wires and finally the bare (ground) wires.
Unscrew the green ground screw and remove the ground wire from the mounting bracket.
Remove the mounting bracket by unscrewing the screws from the junction box.
You should have a clean slate to work with now.
Installing the New Light Fixture:
Use the mounting bracket from the new light fixture. Install it by screwing it into the junction box at the top and bottom.
Attach the ground wire from the junction box by twisting it around the green ground screw on the mounting bracket. Tighten the screw.
Attach the bare wire from the house to the bare wire from the light fixture. Screw on a wire nut.
Attach the white wires from the house and the white wires from the light fixture. Screw on the wire nut.
Repeat the same process to connect the black wires.
Gently tuck the wires into the junction box through the center of the mounting bracket. Push the white and black wires apart so they won’t touch each other.
Attach the light fixture to the mounting bracket with the screws and mounting nuts provided with your light fixture.
Remove the nut from the light socket. Set the glass shade in place.
Replace the socket nut to secure the glass lamp shade.
And the sconce…ahem, wall mounted light is installed!
Turn on the power and turn on the light fixture to check your work.
I hope you’ve been empowered to swap out your own light fixture! Ceiling light fixtures and vanity lights are just as easy to replace and you can follow the same steps.
Pin for later!
Good tutorial. Would this be the same process for replacing outdoor sconces? Anything different?
Just bought a scones with three wires and a ground wire. All three wires are the same color, one is raged with a l, one with a n, and the third has no tag. Do I just cap it and connect the load and the neutral to the black and white respectively?
Pat, did your light fixture come with directions? I’d follow what the manufacturer suggests. Otherwise, if I were you, I’d try what you have suggested. Just make sure that the ground wire is connected first.
My 2 black wires are marked L and N. So N must be for the white wire (neutral) and not sure what L stands for….must go to the black wire, right?? Any ideas??
Sharon, sounds like your wires were labeled N for neutral and L for line. So, your guess is right.
Our house has 4 electrical outlets on one wall, 2 of them flanking a window at eye level, 2 below them at regular outlet height. Not sure what the previous owner was thinking, but I would like to install some additional lighting in the room anyway and this seems like a good place. How would we go about that? And also what about light switches? Thanks!
Hi, my new light fixture has 2 black wires, 2 white wires, and a single copper ground wire. Do I connect both black wires from the fixture to the single black wire from the wall? Same with the white?
Harry, yes, you must connect the two black wires with the black wire from your house in one wire nut. And do the same for the white wires.
Hello, thanks for the great post! Can I take off my old light fixture and leave the wires capped & the circuit off until I can install the new one? I have time to take it apart now so I’d like to even absent the new fixture unless that is some kind of safety hazard.
Megan, yes, you can. If you cap them off individually, that should be sufficient. I’d tuck the wires back into the box just to keep anyone from messingg with them. You’ll probably need to turn the circuit back on since there are likely other outlets or lights on that circuit.
What it the wires come right out the wall and don’t appear to be in an electrical box? When I took off the old fixture that what I found. My new fixture has the mounting plate but how would you mount it?
Maryliz, that is a potentially dangerous (fire hazard) situation. Wire connections need to be enclosed inside an electrical box so they won’t cause a fire if there is a spark. You need to install an electrical box before putting up your new fixture (or even before putting your old one back up.) Stay safe.
I thought it seemed a bit odd. Will do it the right way! Thanks.
Sorry, I accidentally enter before finish my sentence. I have a new light scone that comes with three wires, one white wire, one black wire and one ground wire. The wall came only two wires (black and white) New light scone come with new plate with ground screw. Should I attach ground wire from light scone to plate ground screw? Then screw black wires both together, then white wires both together, then install light scone to the wall. Does that work even if no ground wire from the wall?
Mark, does your whole house have only two wires? This is a serious issue if your wiring isn’t grounded. You might need to check with a licensed electrician either way.
I have a new light scone that comes with three wires, one white wire, one black wire and one ground wire
I accidently enter before finish my sentence. I have a new light scone come with three wires and plate with ground screw. I have only two wires from wall ( black and white) no ground . what I can do?
Is this process the same that you would use for an outdoor sconce? I have four fixtures that I need to replace and have purchased the new ones, but am working up the courage to get started!
Jill, yes, the same process, but I like to run a bead of caulk around the plate that covers the wire box so that you can keep water and moisture from getting inside.
I love these wall sconces, especially the one with the tiny squares on the glass. Can you share where you got them? Thanks!
Nancy, yes, Home Depot.
This makes the process look so easy – now all I have to do is find a wall fixture that I actually *like*!
Great timing – just today I told my ugly 3 light bar fixture in the bthrm that it had to go! You make this look doable – thanks!
What if the wiring doesn’t have black and white wires. I have a chandelier I want to install but both wires are white. What do i do?
Look closely at your wires. One will be marked or ribbed. That is the one you connect to the white (neutral) wiring. Good question!