How to Install a Shade on a Ceiling Light

Ceiling Fan image by Towards Ithaca from

A ceiling light fixture throws a harsh glaring light when the bulbs aren't covered by some type of lamp shade. Lamp shades made of glass and plastic are available for home lighting mounted on ceilings and under ceiling fans. The installation process depends on the type of light fixture. There are shades that even cover bare bulb interior lighting fixtures.

Shut off the power to the ceiling light by turning off the breaker switch in the electrical breaker panel. Turn off the main power breaker switch at the top of the panel if the correct breaker for the light fixture can't be identified.

Stand on a stepladder and loosen the thumb screws on the circular metal frame around the light bulb socket by pinching the ribbed tabs and twisting them counterclockwise. Most ceiling fan light fixtures have three thumb screws for each shade. Loosen all the thumb screws around each bulb. Remove any light bulbs in the fixture.

Insert the small circular end of the glass shade into the metal frame. There may be a rubber band around the outer ring where the glass shade meets the frame to insulate against vibrations from the fan.

Hold the shade in the frame and tighten the thumb screws until they are firm against the glass shade. Insert the light bulb through the fluted opening of the glass lamp shade. Secure a shade around every bulb socket.

Turn the power on at the breaker switch and test the lights.

Install a 40-watt bulb into the bare bulb ceiling light fixture. Plastic shades are only safe when fitted directly over bulbs of 40 watts or less.

Turn off the ceiling light and allow 10 minutes for the bulb to cool to avoid burns from accidental skin contact with a hot bulb.

Stand on a stepladder high enough to reach the bulb on the ceiling. Open the flaps in the plastic shade to make a slot large enough to fit over the light bulb.

Pull the flaps up over the wide part of the light bulb and release them around the narrow neck of the bulb. The shade will cling to the bulb.

Step down from the ladder and turn on the light switch to see the interior lighting effect from the plastic shade.

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