How to install flush mount ceiling lights with screw-on glass

Updated February 21, 2017

Installing a flush mount ceiling light with a screw-on glass cover is not as difficult as it may seem. These fixtures can be very inexpensive and are available in a wide variety of styles, from rustic to retro, modern to masculine. They are called flush mount ceiling lights because the mount to the ceiling is flush with the surface, though some designs hang from the ceiling slightly. This is a very do-it-yourself project, so there is no need to call on an electrician. Even a novice can install one in about a half hour.

Turn the power off to the circuit you will be working on at the circuit breaker, located in the main breaker box. This is the first step to any project that deals with electricity and electrical appliances.

Pull the electrical wires out of the electrical box mounted to the ceiling. Strip the outer layer of plastic insulation with an insulation stripper and strip 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) of insulation off of each separate wire (blue, brown and green wires) with a pair of wire strippers to expose the copper wire.

Remove the light fixture from its packaging and go through the contents to make sure all of it is there.

Hold the fixture up to the ceiling and connect each wire from the electrical box to the corresponding wire on the fixture. Connect each wire with a wire nut to keep them connected together.

Stuff the wires back into the electrical box in the ceiling. Screw the light fixture into the appropriate holes in the electrical box, tightening them until the light fixture sits snugly against the ceiling.

Thread the threaded nipple into the hole in the middle of the light fixture. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs into the fixture. Slide the glass shade over the threaded nipple and secure it with the decorative retaining nut.

Turn on the breaker and test the operation of the light. With the power on and the light bulbs installed, it should work flawlessly.


If a ceiling light fixture is already installed, remove it and disconnect the wires. Reuse the wire nuts that connect the house wires to the light fixture. Use a sturdy ladder or step stool to allow yourself a comfortable reach distance while working with the light fixture.

Things You'll Need

  • Light fixture
  • Ladder or step stool
  • Insulation stripper
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire nuts
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About the Author

Kelly Nuttall is a student at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. She is set to graduate in the spring of 2011 with her bachelor's degree in technical communications. She has been writing for various websites since March of 2009.