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How to Replace a Fluorescent Light Fixture with Regular Light Fixture

Do you have one of those big functional but ugly fluorescent lights in your home? Learn how to replace a fluorescent light fixture today!

We have a couple of those big ol fluorescent lights in our house.

They certainly are functional because they are so bright but they’re not very attractive.

But look at this thing…I mean seriously it didn’t even have a cover over this light!

Just that bare bulb hanging there!

So pretty right!  


When we gave my husband Chris’s closet a complete makeover we decided it was time to get rid of that light.

We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to replace the fluorescent light fixture with a regular light fixture but we wanted to give it a try.

view of walk in empty bedroom closet after shelves were removedhelves

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Supplies Needed to Replace a Fluorescent Light Fixture with a Regular Light Fixture

Step 1: Disconnect Electricity

fluorescent light on ceiling before replacing with regular light

The first and most important step is to disconnect the electricity to the fluorecent light fixture.

You should always turn off the power to the light you are removing in your home’s circuit breaker box.

Don’t just turn the light switch off.

Remember safety first!

Step 2: Remove Fluorescent Light Fixture

view of ceiling after fuorescent light removed with electrical wire hanging from center and addition holes from screws

Once the power is turned safely off you can remove your fluorescent light bulb.

Make sure you find out how you should dispose of the fluorescent bulb in your area. We take ours to our local home improvement store and they recycle them for free.

Using a screw driver you can then unscrew the light fixture from the ceiling.

Our light had two screws on either side of the electrical connection that we removed. But as you can see in this photo there was a third hole.

Oops…looks like someone measured wrong when our house was built and they installed the fluorescent light.

Step 3: Installing a Ceiling Light Box

hand cutting hole in ceiling with drywall knife to replace fluorecent light fixture with regular light fixture

Make sure you have your electrical wires covered with wire nuts while replacing your fluorescent light fixture with a regular light fixture.

Since our fluorescent light was hung directly to our ceiling we had to install an old work round ceiling electrical box.

Be sure to purchase the correct electrical box. An old work electrical box is for replacing existing light fixtures. It has mounts with swing clamps to allow you to attach to the ceiling from below.

You may get lucky and already have an installed ceiling electrical box so you can skip this step.

Using the template that comes with the ceiling electrical box we punched holes in the ceiling with an awl. Then we cut out out the drywall with a sheetrock saw.

view of ceiling while cutting hole to install ceiling light box to replace fluorescent light fixture with regular light fixture

Here is a view of the ceiling after making the hole for the electrical box.

hand attaching ceiling light box with screwdriver

Next, we pushed the plastic electrical box into place in the hole we made in the ceiling and attached it with a screwdriver.

Step 4: Repairing Holes after Removing Fluorescent Light

ceiling light box installed with electrical wires hanging from middle of box and dry wall repair patch on two spots on either side of ceiling box

After the ceiling box was installed it was time to repair those holes.

We cut three drywall repair patches to cover each of the holes.

Then spread DryDex spackling on the patches.

completed light box in ceiling with bulb hanging down

This spackling goes on pink and drys white.

It’s goof proof!

You will know exactly when it’s ready to be sanded and painted.

Step 5: Installing New Regular Light Fixture

Follow the directions that comes with your new regular light fixture to install.

We used daylight Edison bulbs to provide as much light in the dark closet as possible.

new light fixture in closet with edison bulb

Replacing the large fluorescent light fixture with this smaller industrial style regular light fixture definitely looks better!

I love the difference this DIY project made in the closet.

new regular light fixture installed in closet

And if we can do it so can you!

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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