I did it! I did it! I can’t believe I did it!: A new light fixture

To misquote “My Fair Lady” — I did it! I did it! I said that I would do it, and indeed I did.

What has me so excited and proud?  I changed my first light fixture.  I haven’t done anything with electrical before and I likely won’t do anything much fancier than this.  But once someone explained how to connect the electrical wires, it wasn’t too hard.

I’ve decided that setting aside uncertainty is the only way I am going to learn a lot of home improvement skills. I plan to force myself to do something at least once for the following reasons: 1) so I know I tried, 2) to test my limits, and 3) to eventually SAVE MONEY!

So here is my disclaimer: Only do electrical work if you are comfortable with it.  If you aren’t comfortable, then either find a friend who is or –gasp!– hire someone to do it for you. Now, back to the regularly scheduled blog…

Light fixture- before

Since I’ve been unhappy with the lighting in my bathroom, I determined I needed a better light fixture.  I mean, I spent the past year-and-a-half using the “last look” mirror by my front door to make sure I don’t look like a clown before I leave the house; something  had to be done.  So when I was at a hardware store looking for something else, I took a few minutes to browse through light fixtures suitable for the bathroom.  Not surprisingly, I found a basic vanity light that holds four bulbs and is in a brushed nickel patina; it cost about $10.

This is when I admit that I set the fixture aside for several months until I had talked myself into figuring out how to attach it.   Here were the basic steps:

  1. Find a trustworthy do-it-yourself website or a friend with experience– having something/one to consult is important! (LisaG also has a blog about free DIY workshops);
  2. Turn off the power at the circuit-breaker (this is a MUST!);
  3. Remove the old light fixture and the old mounting device (note the colors of the fixtures wires, the colors of the wires in the wall that they attached to, and if there is a green grounding wire or if it was grounded another way);
  4. Read the new fixture’s instructions;
  5. Measure and mark where the drill holes for the new fixture will be placed;
  6. Attach the new fixture per instructions (and make sure it is grounded!);
  7. Insert the new bulbs;
  8. Turn power back on at circuit breaker; and
  9. Turn on the light.

The hardest part was attaching the wires.  An extra set of hands would have made it easier, but I managed to juggle it.  My first try didn’t work and I had to ask my dad how the wires need to be attached.  It turns out that the end of the fixture wire has to not just twine around the wall wire, but wrap over the end of the wall wire (it is difficult to explain in words, which is why your first attempt should be with someone who knows what he or she is doing)– then attach the electrical cap.

Voila!   I can now see myself with no shadows to cast uncertainty over my make-up application.