How do I install pendant lighting from large fluorescent lighting?

Written by cadence johansen
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How do I install pendant lighting from large fluorescent lighting?
Replace outdated fluorescent lighting with pendant lights. (modern luxury kitchen image by Paul Hill from

Fluorescent light fixtures are a prominent feature in the kitchens of many homes that were built in the 1970s and 1980s. Today many homeowners want to update the lighting in their kitchen by replacing their large fluorescent lighting with smaller and more elegant pendant lights. Installing a pendant light is simple when you know how to get started.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Drywall mud
  • Putty knife
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Screwdriver
  • Pendant light
  • Wire strippers

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  1. 1

    Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.

  2. 2

    Remove the diffuser panel from the large fluorescent light. This panel should just "snap" out of place. Set the panel aside.

  3. 3

    Remove the long bulbs from the fluorescent light. Remove the ballast cover.

  4. 4

    Unscrew the wire nuts from the tops of the wires. The wire nuts should gently unscrew with your hand. The wires will be twisted together; untwist and separate them from one another.

  5. 5

    Unscrew the light fixture from the ceiling with a screwdriver. Patch the holes left in the drywall with drywall mud. Use a putty knife to smooth the drywall mud into the holes. Let the mud dry overnight. Lightly sand the mud so it is smooth. Paint over the patched holes to match the surrounding area.

  6. 6

    Screw the mounting bracket onto the electrical box in the ceiling. This mounting bracket should be included with your pendant light.

  7. 7

    Prepare the pendant light wires for installation. The pendant light will come with three wires: a white wire, a black wire, and a bare ground wire. Use a wire stripper to remove approximately 1 inch of plastic from the ends of the black and white wires. Removing the plastic from the ends of the wires will reveal the copper wire underneath. The electrical box in the ceiling should also have a white, black, and ground wire. However, the ends of the wires in the electrical box should already be stripped and ready for the pendant light.

  8. 8

    Twist together the ends of the white wires from the ceiling and pendant light. Repeat with the black, and ground wires. Screw a wire nut over the top of the copper part of the wires. The wire nuts can be screwed onto the wires by hand.

  9. 9

    Push the wires up into the electrical box. Screw the pendant light into place on top of the mounting bracket.

  10. 10

    Turn the circuit breaker back on.

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