Changing Out a Light Fixture (Bye-Bye Hollywood Strip Light)

Have you had it with those ugly Hollywood light fixtures? The ones where the bulbs are lined up in a straight line staring you in the face? Did you know that you don’t have to live with them? Even if you live in an apartment, you can switch light fixtures out fairly easily. (Be sure to keep the old fixture and all the parts so you can re-install it before you move out.)

Light fixtures range in price from $20 to well over $200. Sometimes you can luck out and find some nice light fixtures on Craig’s List or eBay for less.

I hope you can benefit from this tutorial. I think you’ll agree, it is neither difficult nor challenging to swap out a light fixture.


Before beginning the installation you MUST turn off the power to your fixture.

Required Safety Instruction:
Turn off the power to the light fixture you are working on. I highly recommend turning on the light you will be working on, then shut off the circuit at your circuit breaker and check to see that the light has gone out. Also note that just because the light fixture power is turned off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other outlets or lights in the same room are on the same circuit. Always check for the presence of power before you work on it.


  • Light Fixture
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters and stripper
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Optional: electrical tape

Unpack your new (or slightly used) light fixture. Read through the directions as some steps may vary from this installation tutorial.

Begin by unscrewing the light bulbs and then remove the collars around the light bulb sockets.

Locate any other screws that might be holding the fixture in place. This fixture simply popped off.

Untwist the wire nuts holding the wires together.

Once all the wires are disconnected, unscrew the two screws holding the mounting bracket.

Remove the mounting bracket…

…and now you should be able to remove the light fixture. Laugh at any hidden colors and wallpaper beneath the fixture. (Toile! Ah, not so bad.)

You should be left with just the junction box and three wires protruding from the box. The bare or green wire is your ground wire. The white is your neutral wire and the black is your hot wire.

If you were eagle eyed, you might have noticed a small nick in the insulation of the neutral wire. This could cause a short, so I wrapped some electrical tape around the nick.

Install the new mounting bracket that came with your fixture (if you bought a used one, you may have to use the old mounting bracket from the Hollywood Strip). Attach the screws through the bracket and into the junction box.

The mounting bracket that came with my fixture has a rotating bar that can swing 180 degrees. Position this bar so the fixture will hang level.)

Test fit your fixture and adjust the depth of the mounting screws (the “no head” screws on the mounting bracket) and the angle of the swinging bracket arm. Once the bracket is level and fits snugly with only a small portion of the headless screws poking through; remove the light fixture and tighten the screw in the middle of the mounting bracket to secure the rotating bar.

Wrap the ground wire from the junction box around the green or bare screw on the mounting bracket.

Connect the ground wire from the light fixture to the ground wire from the junction box. Twist them together and secure them with a wire nut.

Twist the black wires from the junction box and the light fixture together.

Twist a wire nut on to secure them.

Repeat the same process to connect the white wires.

Gently fold and tuck the wires back into the junction box. Try to position the white wires on the opposite side as the black wires.

Place your light fixture onto the headless screws and secure the fixture by screwing on the small ball caps.

Remove the shade ring from the light bulb sockets.

Slip the glass shades onto the socket and then screw the collar back on to hold the glass light shades.

Repeat for the remaining light sockets.

Many vanity light fixtures are reversible.

I decided to rehang my fixture facing up for less direct light and to avoid bumping into the mirror frame.

What do you think? Do you like the new look? Do you think you will try it yourself?  I hope so, it was easy!

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Awesome tutorial! Now can you do one to tell me how to re-wire an outside fixture through the plaster wall to the existing light switch? lol (it stopped working last season and we noticed something chewed through the wire)
I do like it better facing up, less ‘crowding’ of the mirror.
Good job Brittany!

I’m checking out the website! I am loving the post about Hard to Kill Plants. I need those kind of plants! Computing on the Cloud was a good one too. I hear so much about that, so it was good to have a little info all in one place! I wish this website had been around about 20 years ago when we were doing the move and rent lifestyle. I would have been all over it.

Great tutorial. When I just swapped out my bath light to a barn light fixture, I called down to Hubs to take a look. He said, oh you need help? My response was not at all, turn the breaker on on your way up to check it out. I was so proud I did it all myself. Wire nuts and all.

I found the finding furniture article “Maximize a Small Space with Multipurpose Furniture” super helpful- especially since I just moved into a new place. I may need to take their advice and get a bed with drawer storage underneath.

Really enjoyed the tutorial! The pictures make it seem so easy. Checked out the Moving Today site- I appreciate the articles on money management.

Love this tutorial. We have the same Hollywood fixture but it does not make our bathroom glamorous in the least.

I also read the toolbox article to make sure my toolbox was in tip top shape before embarking on these home makeover journeys.

Fantastic tutorial!!! With the clear photos and directions, I now feel confident enough to do this myself.

I really liked the article about “Clearing Clogs in Your Apartment.” I have a constant problem with my bathtub drain clogging. I learned a bunch of new things from this article.

Thanks again for your wonderful tutorial.

GREAT tutorial, Brittany! The only bathroom in our house that I have not updated (no mirror on the frame YET, no new faucet, old ugly hollywood lights) is my girls’ bathroom (sorry, girls!) and you may have just given me what I need to get it started! I usually wait to ask my dad to help with electrical stuff like this but I feel confident that I can handle it with this info – thanks!

I don’t facebook or twitter….. but I did check out the website…….. I do my own llght fixture changes cause it’s super simple….. thanks!

Great article…thanks ! Went to the website and liked the article about whether to do it yourself or call a handyman. Of course, my hubby is usually my “handyman”, but there are occasions… 😉 Been wanting a new fixture in my bath for a while…winning this would really help. Thanks for the chance.

I really needed this tutorial…now I can install a new light in my bedroom! Thanks! I also want to change the light in my bathroom. It’s the original one from when the house was built in the 60s but unfortunately, the only electric outlet in the bathroom is built into the light fixture! LOL! What the heck where they thinking? So I can either keep the ugly old thing, replace it & be without an outlet, or hire someone to install an outlet because that’s just not something I’d be comfortable DIYing. *sigh* Wonder how much that’s going to cost? And while he’s here I’ll have to get him to also install an exhaust fan, something else they apparently didn’t do in the late 60s. 😀

I liked “Ask These Questions Before Renting an Apartment”. This would have come in handy a few weeks ago when I was trying to help my brother find an apartment. I’ve never rented before, only owned the house I grew up in.

aQrose at yahoo dot com

Love the tutorial. Also found the Article about “How to Save Money on a Moving Truck” to be very helpful. Who doesn’t want a save a few bucks these days?

I really enjoyed the “Maximize a Small Space with Multipurpose Furniture” my entire house is a small space!

this is great, but I am left with a huge hole next to the wire box? obviously not filled in by the contractors, and the wire box is also not center…any tips on how to fix this?

Bronwyn, oh, I HATE when that happens. You have two options. #1- Patch the hole around the box. Here is a tutorial on patching drywall: or

#2 – Buy a larger canopy (the part that covers the junction box.

The centering problem usually means that you have to hire an electrician to move the box. Or, I’ve “cheated” the eye by moving the mirror below.

Good luck.

Just this last weekend I attemped to change the same strip light in my master bathroom. I got a pretty deal on a fixture too. Upon removing the old fixture I noticed that there was no junction box but just a tiny hole will wires poking through. The fixtue was screwed to the wall directly. Arrrggg !! change of planes – I put it the thing back .I have to either put a junction box myself (gulp!) or get a different fixture. Wish me luck.

Thanks so much for posting your “How to…” – I am not going to admit that prior to discovering your website I had been considering a crowbar and blow torch! Following instructions was so much easier! What a blessing!

Great tutorial on changing out bathroom light fixture! Did you DIY frame the mirror too? If so, do you have a tutorial on that?

I need the glass bulb nut. Your picture shows the nut i want. I have search through the evening and cannot buying the nut. Would you tell where I can locate the nut?

Do you know where I could purchase just the shade ring or lamp collar ? I have two second hand fixtures that do not have them.

I got all excited when I saw this tutorial because my fixture has a rotating bar bracket too and I could not figure out how to stabilize it. But, my bracket has a open circle hole in the middle – there’s no screw to tighten. How do I get the bar to not swivel when the light fixture is hanging?

Love your blog and I am in Raleigh too :)

This is a standard size screw and you can find a replacement in the electrical department at your local big box hardware store.

I can’t thank you enough for posting this tutorial! I have had my new light fixtures for 2 months waiting for my not-so-handy hubby to get started putting them up with my help. Instead, I watched your tutorial and put one up so far by myself! Yes, I’m proud and grateful to you! I encountered some problems due to the builder’s short cuts, so I watched another tutorial on how to install a junction box. It took me a weekend with many stops in between, but my updated bathroom vanity light looks great and it works! Thanks for the confidence boost and yet another skill set to enhance my life.

Thank you for this post with the detailed instructions and clear photos. I was able to change out my bathroom light fixture this afternoon :-)