How to Rewire a Wall Light

Updated July 19, 2017

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a beautiful interior. Wall lights and sconces accent the vertical surfaces of a room, adding visual interest to a space that otherwise might be bland. However, wall lights might need to be replaced or rewired when interiors are renovated. Although it might seem daunting, rewiring a wall light is relatively simple.

At the circuit-breaker box, turn off the electricity running to the lighted area. Make sure there is no electricity running to the light to be rewired.

Unscrew the wall light from the electrical box. Double-check that the power is not running to the light, using a voltmeter. Unscrew the electrical nuts from the white, black and ground wires.

Examine the exposed copper at the ends of the wires. Look for corrosion, adhesive or dust that could impede the flow of electricity from the circuit to the fixture. If there is any corrosion or debris on the exposed copper, cut the affected wire off, and strip about half an inch of sheathing from the wire ends, using a wire cutter or wire stripper.

Connect the black wires coming from the fixture and wall, then screw an electrical connector nut clockwise over the two black wires.

Connect the white wires coming from the fixture and wall, then screw an electrical connector nut clockwise over the two white wires.

Screw the fixture's grounding wire to the electrical box, then screw the light fixture to the mounting studs of the electrical box. Turn on the circuit at the breaker box, and test the wall light.

At the circuit-breaker box, turn off the power running to the room's circuit.

Remove the switchplate that coincides with the wall light.

Unscrew the switch from the electrical box. Using a voltmeter, double-check that the electricity is not running to the switch.

Unscrew the black and white wires from the switch.

Replace the switch, or exchange the switch for a dimmer switch. Check that the wires are not impeded by corrosion or debris, and strip the wires accordingly. Screw the wires to the proper terminals.


Always double-check that electricity is not running through the circuits being rewired.

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About the Author

Ryan Crooks is a licensed architect with 15 years experience in residential, institutional, healthcare and commercial design. Crooks is also an instructor, teaching architecture to high school and college students. He has written hundreds of articles for various websites.