How to install a pendant light

How to install a pendant light


You will need:

  • Electrical screwdrivers
  • Drill and bits
  • Pliers
  • Stepladder

If your existing light fitting is looking a little tatty or out of date then revamp your room with a new pendant light. It's not as difficult as you might think - read on for our low-effort, high-impact guide to brightening up your interior!

Time to complete job: About an hour.
Approximate budget: New light fittings cost from around £25.

Tip: Always call in a professional if you are unsure about electrical work.

Visit the Electrical Contractors Association.

  • Step 1: Unscrew the ceiling rose

    Step 1: Unscrew the ceiling rose

    Isolate the power supply to the existing light fitting by turning on all the lights in the house and then isolating each circuit in turn at the fuse box. When the lights go out on the correct circuit, you know which fuse is controlling that circuit.

    Unscrew the ceiling rose to reveal the wires - if the ceiling rose has been painted over, tap it gently a few times. This should crack the paint and allow the cover to be removed.

  • Step 2: Disconnect the old light fitting or flex

    Step 2: Disconnect the old light fitting or flex

    If there is an old light fitting in place, remove the light bulb and shade first. Unscrew the terminals holding the down flex of the old light fitting and remove it.

    Using the wiring instructions supplied with the new pendant light, locate and identify the mains supply cables that are terminated on to the back plate of the old ceiling rose. Draw a sketch of where these cables are attached and/or mark each of the various wires so that their position in the new pendant light can be easily identified.

    If you need to fit a new back plate then you should then be able to unscrew the old one from the ceiling. Then unscrew the terminals holding the power cable wires and straighten them and pull the back plate over the mains cables, which will be left dangling from a hole in the ceiling.

  • Step 3: Attach the new light fitting

    Step 3: Attach the new light fitting

    Check the instructions for the new light fitting. If you need to fix a new back plate, see if it will screw into the old fitting’s screw holes. If not, drill new pilot holes and fix the plate to the ceiling using two wood screws.

    If the new fixings aren't firm, you can either move the fitting to one side or fix a timber batten between the ceiling joists as a fixing point. However, this does mean taking up a part of the flooring of the room above, or going into the loft, to fix the batten.

  • Step 4: Connect the new light fitting

    Step 4: Connect the new light fitting

    Connect the wires as shown in the wiring instructions supplied, referencing the sketch, or the marks made on the power cables, with the new pendant light. Connect the earth wires first - these should be covered with green/yellow sleeving.

    Attach the main supply cables and the switch cables as shown in the instructions. Push each wire into its correct terminal and tighten the screw firmly. Make sure only the copper cores of the wires enter the terminals and that no insulation is trapped under the terminal screws - double check that the wires are securely connected to the correct terminals before replacing the cover of the ceiling rose.

    Fit the new lampshade and a light bulb of the correct rating. Turn on the power and check that the light works!