How to Replace a Fluorescent Light Fixture With Regular Light Fixture

4 Materials
1 Hour

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

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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.

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

  • old work round electrical box
  • sheetrock saw
  • awl
  • screwdriver
  • drywall repair patch
  • spackling
  • new light fixture
  • lightbulb

Step 1: Disconnect Electricity

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

And if we can do it so can you!

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

Suggested materials:

  • Drywall knife  (home)
  • New light fixture  (Lowes)
  • Spackle  (home)
See all materials

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Pam Galicki
    Pam Galicki
    on Jan 31, 2021

    Does the new light provide as much light as the old fluorescent one? That’s my biggest concern. I want as much light as the ugly fluorescent one.

    • Pam Galicki
      Pam Galicki
      on Feb 15, 2021

      I considered those, but then found out you have to replace the entire fixture when they die. Cant just replace a bulb. And they don’t always last as long as they’re supposed to.

Join the conversation

3 of 8 comments
  • Susan Mercurio
    Susan Mercurio
    on Feb 2, 2021

    Thanks! I had a project for installing a conventional light fixture in place of a fluorescent light, and I thought that this was how it should be done, but you taught me step by step.

    • Simply2Moms
      on Feb 8, 2021 glad I could help! We just replaced another fluorescent light in our laundry room and put a light with 5 bulbs. It's brighter in that space now!

  • Rebecca
    on Feb 17, 2021

    I finished my project without changing anything but t=the bulbd,

    I replaced my fluorescent lights with LCD bulbs.

    Just pop them in and save much more money on your electricity bill.

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