DIY Network

How to Upgrade Lighting in a Bathroom

Give a bathroom improved and upgraded lighting with these step-by-step instructions.

More in Bathroom

improved lighting scheme boosts bathroom style
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Access the Area Above the Ceiling

To begin, access the area above the bathroom ceiling through a crawl space. Note any obstructions such as electrical wires or pipes.

make notes of any obstructions in attic above bath

Step 2: Mark the Locations for the Lights

If you find nothing to inhibit the placement of the new light fixtures, start by extending power from the existing can light using 14-2 wiring. Meanwhile, take measurements on the ceiling and locate overhead joists using a stud finder. Mark the locations for the three new lights between the joists.

locate overhead joists using stud finder

Step 3: Trace a Pattern

Using a circular template included with the light fixture, trace a circle pattern onto the ceiling. Next, carefully cut out the circle using a drywall saw.

trace circle pattern onto ceiling

Step 4: Connect the Terminals

Reach into the hole and pull out the wiring run from the original light fixture. After stripping the wire, connect it to terminals on the first new light. From these terminals, run new wiring to the next light fixture.

connect stripped wires to terminals

Step 5: Engage the Built-In Catches

With each fixture properly wired, insert it into the hole and engage built-in catches, which grab the surrounding drywall securing the light in place.

securing the light in place

Step 6: Connect the Springs

After screwing in new light bulbs and restoring power to the circuit, flip the switch and test your work.

Lighting Tips:

  • Add one can light for every 25 square feet of ceiling space.

  • Look your best! Offset the vanity lights above the sinks. This allows more even lighting while minimizing harsh contrasts between shadow and light.

  • Adding a $20 dimmer switch gives even more control over the ambience of the room.

  • Consult with a licensed electrician to prevent against overloading a circuit. Always cut power before working on a circuit.

  • Make sure to select light fixtures rated for direct contact with insulation.

attach baffle and trim pieces

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