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Installing Living and Dining Room Lighting

Light up a home with these step-by-step instructions. Add a recessed can light above a fireplace, rope lighting to a China cabinet and a bookshelf, and a dimmer switch for a dining room ceiling light.

More in Electrical

Step 1: Turn Off the Power

Take the electrical tester to the attic. Then go to the breaker box in the basement and turn off the circuit. Note and Warning: Even though this project isn't that difficult, since wiring and electrical work is involved, it may be a good idea to hire a professional. If a professional won't be completing the project, be sure to turn off the power before starting the job, and be careful.

Step 2: Locate a Spot for the Recessed Can

Locate where the rough-in can is going to be in the ceiling. The recessed can, in this case, will illuminate the niche above the fireplace. Tip: To minimize the dust, while one worker is cutting out the hole in the ceiling, another can vacuum the dust with a mini-vacuum.

locate where eyeball can will be installed

Step 3: Cut Holes

Clear out the living room and lay a protective tarp on the floor. Using a hole saw, cut through the ceiling where the recessed can will go, and cut a hole for the new light. A remodeling box allows an electrical box to be put into an existing wall. Cut a hole in the wall for the remodeling box.

remodeling box puts outlet in existing wall

Step 4: Run and Connect the Wires

Get a hot feed from the circuit in the attic. Bring the hot feed down inside the wall into the box and attach it to the switch. Feeding the wires isn't always an easy task. Fish tape, which is a stiff steel wire used to direct wires, can be of great assistance during this process. Feed the wires from the attic through the wall to the switch and through the hole to the recessed can. Very simply attach the white wire to white wire and the black wire to black wire. Once the wires are connected, push the can up into the ceiling and using the spring-loaded clips, secure it in place.

match wires by color when attaching to switch

Step 5: Install the Bookshelf Lighting

Install rope lighting in the bookshelf. Remove the wooden shelves and drill a hole through the cabinet into the wall for the rope-light wiring. Attach the clips for the rope lighting to the inside of the cabinet. Snap the rope lighting into place.

rope lighting snaps in clips on inside of cabinet

Step 6: Replace the Shelves with Glass

With the rope lighting in place, the glass shelves are put in. Note:By replacing the wood shelves with these, the rope lights will illuminate the length of the bookcase.

Step 7: Install the Cabinet Lighting

Install rope lighting in the china cabinet. Drill a hole and drop all three cords down the back of the cabinet and plug the cords into an extension cord in the back.

Step 8: Install a Dimmer Switch

Safety Alert: Make sure the power circuit to the wall is off. First, remove the old switch. Back out the screws, pull the old switch away from the wall and cut the wires. Be sure to cut the strip the wires about 5/8" from the end. With push-in connectors (on right) you don't have to move the wires around. Simply plunge it into the small openings in the back. Loop the ground wire, which is the bare wire, around the ground screw, which is green, and tighten it down. Tuck the wires in and push it back into the wall. Re-attach the switch plate.

put wires through switch and match up colors

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