Sunday, February 22, 2009

DIY Diva: How to Change a Light Fixture

About a year ago, I was goaded into trying out one of those earth-friendly lightbulbs and I had every intention of changing out every bulb in my chateau (ehem, condo). However, I'm sad to say that the earth-friendly lightbulb SUCKED. It took forever to warm up and my entry way was always really dark and it felt kind of me gusta. Anyway, it wasn't that big of a deal because I knew I'd eventually switch out the fixture because, well, the light fixture I had was heinous.

U-G-L-Y you aint got no alibi, you UGLY, ya, ya, you ugly.

Being that the Oscars weren't fully holding my attention tonight, I got a wild hair and decided to switch out the light...and I'm glad I did because it only took me a few minutes! If you've got a nasty light and have been intimidated by the electricity, let me walk you through a couple of quick steps and assure you that YOU CAN DO IT!

First, go ahead and shut off the light...if you don't, don't go a blamin' me for the fancy new white streaks in your hair!

Next, go ahead unscrew the cap on the fixture. You can usually find small screws hiding in the rim on the base of the ceiling mount.

I realize this photo is fuzzy, but I thought it was important to show you how the wires get disconnected. Unscrew the yellow caps and then merely untwist the white wire from the white wire, and the black wire from the black wire. Genius, no?!

Now bring up your new fixture and repeat the last step, only THIS time, twist the white wire to the white wire and the black wire to the black wire. You're stunned by how poetic I am, huh?! Also, if your fixture happens to have a "grounding wire", that is a plain wire that doesn't appear to have any current on it, twist it to a plain wire in the ceiling. Don't worry if you don't have this... Also, be sure to cap off your "live" wires, the black and white, with those groovy yellow cappy-thing-a-ma-bobs. Finally, stuff all the wires up inside the can. Really, I'm so technical, I can't get over it.

Now you're ready to screw the base in. Your fixture should have holes in the right dimension of the can in the ceiling. Yep, the can people and the light fixture people planned it that way. It's idiot proof...because some of us ARE idiots...just ask my mother.

Now you're ready to screw on the globe to the mount. Yippee!

And because you've followed directions so well, you may now test out the power! Look Ma, it works. Guess I'm only an idiot when it comes to ordering fabric at Big Y Yardage (long story for another post)!!!

Now my entryway is PERFECT! I'm so glad the light fixture was an easy project because just yesterday, I found the exact console table I was looking for at HALF PRICE. Wahoo!!! Doesn't the entry look so welcoming now?!

And because I love it so much, here's a close up of the fab new console you look gorgeous swathed in the glow of the new light fixture!

As you can see, changing the light took minutes. The most important thing to remember is to shut off the light switch first. The second thing you need is a healthy dose of patience! You'll also need a ladder so you can get up close and would be far too tricky if I wasn't at eye level when I was twisting the wires.

This is the second light fixture I installed myself. A while back, I changed the light bar at my vanity. I stressed over that one big time, but it was a heavier fixture and I had issues holding it and doing the wiring at the same time...and it was summer and I was a HOT MESS. For a bigger project like that, I'd ask a friend or my Daddio to help if I had it to do all over again. Sometimes, we independent chicks could use a third hand. If that's the situation you're in, follow Mom's rule and "do what I say and not what I do!" : )


Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, there! now that we are following each other on Twitter, I see you & I are on the same wavelength. I'm such a DIYer too & have changed out nearly every single light fixture in our house by myself. My hubby had to help on the foyer fixture, it was too high & too heavy for me to tackle all alone. In fact, I just bought 3 more over the weekend to finish off the last of the old bunch. I'm even replacing my ugly fluoresent light box in the kitchen with a snazzy track light I found 1/2 price at Lowes on Sat. Yippee!! Plan on doing that today.

Nice to meet you, hope you'll come by & visit me sometime.

Living with Lindsay said...

Great job, Jen!

I hate, hate, hate the swirly bulbs. Hate. Refuse to use them. I didn't know that they took longer to warm up. I saw some at HD yesterday that actually look more like regular light bulbs, so I may try those out.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

I'd say we definitely have a lot in common. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I clicked on your profile to try to get back here, but your blog is not listed on your profile. Did you know that? Anyway, I found you from Twitter, so it's nice to meet you. We can share lots of DIY projects now.

Beks said...

You are a freakin' rockstar JJ! I love your sense of style and your ambitious nature in all that you do!

Keep up the great work!

kara said...

hi-ya jen! i'm glad you didnt end up with white streaks in your hair yourself.... i thiiiink you're supposed to cut off all power to that light entirely, at your breaker box. glad you're safe!!
looks good, though!
(did you hear back from Wipeout??)