Ultimate Handyman DIY Home installing wall lights

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Wall lights can add an attractive feature to a room and are not difficult to fit, the only hard bit is making good as you will have to make the plaster good once you have routed the wires to the switch and the wall lights.


All electrical pages are for information only! New rules have been introduced for electrical safety in the home, please read this document by clicking here, before starting any electrical work

Before working on any electrical circuit you must ensure that it is isolated correctly and cannot accidentally be switched back on. Please read the article on safe isolation procedures before doing any electrical work. If you are not 100% certain what you are doing call a qualified electrician. Building regulations are changing all the time and modifying your home electrics could be against new rules and could invalidate your home insurance, if in doubt check first!




The up lighter above is one of a pair and are fitted either side of a chimney breast, these were fit before the Plasterboard and coving were fit.

The first job is to decide exactly where you want the wall lights placing, often they are placed each side of a chimney breast or in a alcove. If there is decorative Coving above where you require the wall lights then it may be easier to feed the wires from The floor (providing it is not a solid floor), this would make the job considerably more difficult as there probably will not be a Lighting circuit wire in the vicinity which will mean fitting a Fused connection unit to the ring main to feed the lights. In most cases it is possible to route the wire behind the decorative coving without damaging it.


Mark out and Fit the back boxes for the Wall lights, Chase out the plaster to the ceiling and remove the floor boards directly above where the wires are going to be fed, Using a masonry drill on slow speed drill a 10mm Hole through the ceiling until you have an hole suitable for feeding the wire down to the Back box. Find a suitable Permanent live wire from the lighting circuit, This can be easily identified as it is the lighting wire which runs from one ceiling rose/Junction box to the next.

typical arrangement

Isolate the electricity by switching off the main switch and remove the switch, if it is a circuit breaker remove the wires from the top of the circuit breaker. Test the wire with a suitable Tester to ensure the wire is not live! Cut the wire in half and install the Junction box as shown below.

junction box

This is relatively simple as there will only be 3 Lives, 3 Neutrals and three Earths, be sure to fit Green and yellow earth sleeving on the earth wire. You now have a a feed wire which you can use to power your new wall lights.

Some wall lights Have a Built in switch which means that you don't need a switch on the circuit, but this makes it difficult to isolate them and if in the future you decide to change the fittings for some without built in switches you cannot turn them off without isolating the whole Lighting circuit so fitting a separate switch makes sense.
Decide where the switch is to be placed (ideally it needs to be in the same Gang switch as the existing light switch for the room), Carefully chase out the plaster with a blunt chisel and make sure you do not damage the existing wires running to the switch! You might have to Knock out an other metal plate from the back box to accommodate the new wire, Fit a grommet as well and feed a wire long enough to reach from the switch to the new feed wire that you prepared earlier.
Fit a junction box to the End of the feed wire, you will need a 15amp Junction box with 4 Terminals. Wire the Junction box as below-

junction box


There are 4 terminals inside the junction box, these are not coloured or marked in any way, I have coloured them in above for clarity.
All 4 Earth wires go to the same terminal
The Neutral from the feed and the 2 neutrals which go the the wall lights are all in one terminal
The live wire from the feed and the Live wire to the switch are in the same terminal
The wire returning from the switch (switched live) which is black needs some red sleeving placing over it as this wire is live once the switch is on, This wire and the two Red (live) wires which go to the wall lights are in the same terminal. You now have a circuit which once the switch is on, will light up the wall lights.
You should familiarise your self with this arrangement, Follow the current with your finger on the diagram if you do not fully understand it!

The connections at the switch are simple as they are the same as for a normal lighting circuit. Ensure you place red sleeving or red insulation tape over the switched live wire.

switch connections


Light fitting


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