Doesn’t the term “hard-wiring” scare you? It definitely scared me. I had NEVER IN MY LIFE handled electric wires before this project and neither had my husband. I thought all you had to do was somehow screw in the light fixture and there would be light! But after doing it ourselves, turns out hard-wiring is not that hard (pun intended)!
We had a simple-as-can-be, builder-grade flush mount light fixture above our dining table. It wasn’t that bright and didn’t feel like it fit the rest of our decor, so it was time to go. Between the Min and me, it took about 3 hours to replace the flush mount with a lovely pendant chandelier, but we feel like experts now! I doubt it would take more than 30 minutes next time. Hopefully, with these instructions, it won’t take you that long either!
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Don’t you love our new chandelier? It’s a 6 Light Candle-Style Chandelier and get this – we got it for only $150 from Wayfair!! If you prefer to buy your stuff from Amazon, here’s a nearly identical looking one.
I never realized the significance of having the right light fixture, but I have to say it’s a night and day difference! Our dining room looks more tied together and so, so bright!
How to install a pendant light
Disclaimer: We are not professionals. This is the step-by-step outline of what we did in our own house to install pendant lighting. Please consult your light fixture’s manual for detailed instruction procedures and safety information, as some things might be different.
1. Turn off the electricity
Before doing ANYTHING, head over to your electrical panel and cut off the electricity to the intended installation area. Try flicking the light switch on and off to double check that the electricity has been turned off.
2. Unmount the flush mount
- Remove the light cover. Our light cover twisted off counter clockwise but some fixtures might have a knob or screw at the base of the cover to remove before the cover comes off.
- Unscrew the light bulbs.
- Using a screwdriver or drill, unscrew the bolts that are attaching the fixture to the electrical box.
- Disconnect the ceiling wires and fixture wires by unscrewing the wiring nuts.
You should end up with this:
What was confusing for us was that apparently, the builder didn’t cover up the electrical boxes before spray painting the ceiling. So all three of our wires were covered in white paint and that’s why our copper wire and black wires all look white 😱 😱 . We freaked out for a second but we figured it out once we scraped off some of the paint.
3. Get the pendant light ready
Adjust the chain and wire length of the pendant light. You can cut the wire according to your desired length. The chains are pretty easy to remove – just follow this short tutorial. If you shorten the wire, use a wire stripper to strip about 1 inch of wire.
Next, string the necessary hardware and chains together on the wires according to the manual. You can’t go back and add or remove chains later without unwiring the whole thing because the chain and wires should be woven together. And there are multiple parts to the mounting system so make sure you get them in the correct order.
This should be totally obvious right? Yeah, we had to wire and unwire the whole darn thing like 4 times because we didn’t get this part right. #beginnermistakes #totalnewbies
Also, we’re very impatient and didn’t take the time to really look at the diagrams in the manual… sigh.. lesson learned.
4. Attach the mounting bracket to the electrical box in the ceiling
Before attaching the mounting bracket to the ceiling, I would go ahead and wrap the fixture copper (ground) wire around the green screw on the mounting bracket. It’s hard to do it once the bracket’s attached to the ceiling (and your arms hurt).
Now, attach the mounting bracket to the electrical box. (Xedo seriously thinks this lighting is his very own play mobile. He’s been looking up at it all day since we installed it)
5. Hardwiring light fixture = not so hard
Once the mounting bracket’s been installed, it’s time to connect the ceiling wires with the fixture wires. This part was the most intimidating for me, but I think it was the most straightforward part of the whole process. You just need to connect the following:
- The grounding wire with the copper wire
- The ribbed fixture wire with the white ceiling wire (neutral)
- The smooth fixture wire with the black ceiling wire (hot)
You might need to look and feel the fixture wires extra closely as it’s not that readily apparent which one’s the ribbed and which one’s the smooth wire. To connect the wires, you twist together the exposed copper parts and screw on a plastic wire nut.
It should look like this when finished.
Once everything’s connected, neatly pack the wires into the electrical box, separating the white and black wires as much as possible.
6. Attach the fixture to the mounting bracket.
In our case, we just needed to screw on the base of the pendant lighting to the mounting bracket. Consult your user manual for specific instructions!
7. (Optional) Install the swag hooks
I always loved the look of swag lighting as it gives an industrial, spontaneous element to any room. But also, we had to swag our chandelier out of necessity because the light placement was slightly off center relative to our long dining table. It worked out perfectly 🙂
All you need for this part is a good swag hook – we used something similar to this. Make sure the swag hook and necessary hardware can support the weight of the fixture.
Determine where you want to swag your light. We determined the center of our dining table and marked the place directly above that. Now, you need to check if there is a joist above that place or just sheetrock. If you have a joist, you just need to use the screw/bolt combo to install the hook.
In our case, we had just sheetrock, so we had to use an anchor. Drill the appropriate sized hole (ours was 3/4″) – we just used a large drill bit and chipped away the sheetrock until the size was big enough. Fold the anchors upwards and push it through the hole. Now twist the hook clockwise until it is snug on the ceiling. Hook the appropriate chain corresponding to your desired length.
7. Enjoy your new pendant lighting!
Now, head over to the electrical panel and switch the electricity back on. Moment of truth – flip the switch back on to see if the light comes on! Hopefully, after all that hard work, it will work 🙂 When the light came on, my husband was sooo excited that he could not help but make Genesis jokes, “let there be light” (hashtag: life of a pastor’s wife).
If you enjoyed this tutorial, but you’re feeling like you don’t have the skills to do it, check out my post, “3 Steps to Learning Any New Hobby.” It will give you a boost in motivation and inspiration to start your next project today!
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