Help! What to do with 60 year old bathroom light fixture?

by Jenni
This is my Mom's bathroom fixture (actually there are two of them). It's probably 60 years old and takes florescent tube bulbs and has a really cracked and faded plastic cover. We need ideas on what to do, short of hiring an electrician an installing new fixtures. Thanks for your help!
  28 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 14, 2016
    Measure the length of the plastic cover as use should be able to purchase replacements.
    • See 2 previous
    • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 15, 2016
      Amazon may carry the size you need.
  • Linda Santo Linda Santo on Nov 14, 2016
    It probably has a box behind it. Shut off the power, take the fixture off and replace it. Easy, you don't need an electrician.
  • Ann Davis Ann Davis on Nov 14, 2016
    Linda is correct. It is very simple to replace a light fixture. Read all directions before hanging. It will tell what color wire to connect to what color wire. I doubt you could find replacements for old fixture unless you find at thrift store. New fixture will also brighten up bath and look good on your skin.
    • Jenni Jenni on Nov 15, 2016
      Thank You Ann Davis, I'm thinking a new fixture is my only option too. I guess I'll go shopping !
  • William William on Nov 15, 2016
    I agree with replacing them. Ann Davis and Linda Santo are correct. Easy to remove and install new. Hard part would be to find something you like. So much to choose from.
    • Jenni Jenni on Nov 15, 2016
      Thank You William, I guess I needed to be reassured and I have been. I will start the search for a new one today.
  • Jan Jan on Nov 15, 2016
    Get online for instructions about wiring. It's easy but you sound like you're new to DIY. Be sure to turn off main electricity, before working. You & your mom will love having new fixtures! Plus, after 60 years in a damp room, that fixture needs replacement!
  • Nancy Fisher Nancy Fisher on Nov 15, 2016
    Caution, Jenni. Especially since this is a new area for you! If the light fixture is that old, it's a pretty safe bet that the wiring behind the walls is also that old or even older! I would suggest that you pony up the money to pay an electrician this first time and have him thoroughly check it out WHILE YOU WATCH EVERYTHING HE DOES. He can tell you what to watch for and if the wiring is up to code. MY Mother's house is much younger than yours and has many electrical issues related to DIYS jobs done in the past, including fires, smoke, short circuits, shocks and unknown wires! Codes have changed, depending on where you live. Watch the House Flippers to see some of the scary problems that old wiring can cause if you don't believe me.
  • Karen Reilly Karen Reilly on Nov 15, 2016
    I concur if you are not sure get in a professional sometimes the wiring is dodgy and you would hate to have a fire.
    • See 1 previous
    • Mandy Katz Mandy Katz on Nov 16, 2016
      Plus one to this comment. Any wiring that is 60 years old almost certainly needs some updates in order to meet current code so why take a chance. In fact, if this is 60 years old , it may possibly be aluminum wiring which has special hazards and requirements. (Aluminum wiring is a sore topic for me. I fell in love with several homes built in the 1970's when we were house hunting and my husband practically knocked me over getting us our the door when he saw how they were wired.)
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Nov 16, 2016
    You could put up some molding around old fixture then take off old plastic and replace with new. The molding will hold up the new plastic if not add a little piece of wood to help all the way around to hold plastic. Keep same light fixture without old plastic..
    • Jenni Jenni on Nov 16, 2016
      Thank You Wanda.ll. Thanks for the idea! I will give that some thought . I appreciate your interest and your innovative thinking!
  • JoLeen Bolton JoLeen Bolton on Nov 16, 2016
    See if you have Senior Services in your area. They have licensed contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc. who volunteer to help seniors. Often their services are free, sometimes you pay for parts only, labor is free. They could at least tell you if you're dealing with aluminum wiring.
  • Lucy Marie Bernier Lucy Marie Bernier on Nov 16, 2016
    Take it down install a newer model light fixture.
  • Lau6558963 Lau6558963 on Nov 17, 2016
    Spray paint ends and cover the outer plastic with a clear n frosted patterned sticky paper... just make sure the heat from bulbs isn't an issue
  • Janice Albuquerque Janice Albuquerque on Nov 17, 2016
    This old fixture could a fire hazard. Save future repair money and worry by replacing with a new and more modern fixture and checking existing wiring.
  • Ranee Barton Ranee Barton on Nov 17, 2016
    Possibly the light and medicine cabinet could be one piece if that's the case remove the cabinet and turn the breaker or fuse off and unhook the wiring install a new med cab and separate light fixture and in advance I apologize if I am seeing the photo incorrectly as my phone screen is shattered and distorts some things ,, good luck
  • Banjojane66 Banjojane66 on Nov 17, 2016
    Home depot has information online, how to get rid of bathroom light shades and other solutions. They can suggest several options. When you go, take your picture with you to explain.
  • Vicki Vicki on Nov 17, 2016
    I am not sure if you are able to afford a new fixture or if you just want a quick fix. It is difficult to see in the pic., but if you could trim the entire mirrow with a chunky wood to accomodate the large size of the fixture, that would be great. Then, creat a cornace box sort would have 1 x 8 or 1 x 10 going in front of tge light with 2 squares attached to the board at the ends so that it could attach to the board and to the wall. This would be open at the top and bottom to allow the light. After all this though ut might be jyst as easy to by a new fixture. They are easy to install and I am sure there is a you tube video you can watch to show how to do ut safely.
    • Jenni Jenni on Nov 17, 2016
      Thank You Vicki Thanks for your great suggestions. I appreciate your interest and thought in finding a solution !
  • Barbara Pfister Barbara Pfister on Nov 18, 2016
    Spend the money and replace the fixture.
  • Bobbie Noel Cascanette Bobbie Noel Cascanette on Nov 18, 2016
    I don't think you need to hire an electrician to replace it. I had a fluorescent light in my kitchen and when I took it down the wiring was no different than for a standard light. I hooked it up myself and I'm not incredibly handy.
  • Ton6108226 Ton6108226 on Nov 19, 2016
    What about hanging a fabric valance from the ceiling that will hide it and also add a focal point/texture. It's hard to tell from the photo if that is doable in your situation...
  • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Nov 19, 2016
    We replaced the fixute in our bathroom with an inexpensive one from Lowes. Your solution will depend a little on where your wires are. Wiring a light fixture isn't really difficult, and unless you are truly all thumbs or have difficulty reaching up, you shouldn't have to hire an electrician for such a fix. If the goal is to improve the lighting, a new fixture might be your best option. If you are on a very tight budget, look around an architectural salvage house or the local ReStore for second hand but servicable fixutres. If your goal is just to change the look, spraypaint the metal parts for a more modern look and clean the shade. Check to see if the area gets hot. If it doesn't you can wrap the shade with sting or something translucent to add texture. If it does, changing the fixture might still be the best option, or any elements you add could become a hazard. Take pictures to post when you make the changes!
  • Jpy11082745 Jpy11082745 on Nov 19, 2016
    Really place the fixture. I did mine has 3 bulbs. Check at Lowe's or home depot, the wires in your fixture ar e old, replace the fixture
  • Ann Smitt Ann Smitt on Nov 20, 2016
    Take the lights to a salvage yard or antique shop and ask about professional restoration fees. Check the Rehab Addict website and learn how Nicole Curtis restores 60-year-old lights. Safety is the key issue here. A light this old needs to be rewired by someone with electrical and code knowledge. Be safe.
  • Carol Carol on Nov 20, 2016
    i say keep it , its a clasic art piece. Say clean the crome with steel wool \or recrome it... cover a little bleach, and a cleaner should lighted the plastic. Then do a very nice stincle ( what ever you like, a frost decor would be nice) Wall paper is your issue of change
  • 861650 861650 on Nov 22, 2016
    How about light cover replacements?
  • Glenda Glenda on Nov 22, 2016
    I think you'd find replacing is not that expensive. There are many how-to's online. If you know where the breaker for that fixture is located, you have the hard part licked.
  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Dec 14, 2016

    I've replaced any number of different electrical items myself, outlets, light fixtures, even installing ceiling fans. One home ec teacher taught us how to change plug ins and all these years later I think of her often. You could do this yourself.

  • Cud15744056 Cud15744056 on Jan 22, 2017

    Swap it in for two "30's". Sorry couldn't help it. Defiantly get a new one.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Dec 12, 2017

    If you are not comfortable installing a new light fixture yourself, then spend to hire a reputable electrician to do the wiring.

    As the direction in home lighting is definitely LED lights, do not try to cheap out on the project with buying a non-LED light fixture that may be on sale. The money you will save in energy costs by having LED bulbs, can be applied towards the electrician.

    Buying the new light fixture yourself though will be way more cost effective, rather than paying an electrician hourly rates to shop for and buy one for you.

  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 13, 2017

    Found an article that I think fits your fixture......

    The links at the bottom are for replacements from Amazon, but at that price I would buy a new one from the bottom of the page....

    One thing to watch that I learned the hard way, is if you select a new light fixture and it has those drop light shades, be sure to hold it up to the wall with the shades on to find the right clearance for the medicine cabinent door. My handyman installed my new fixture, and left and when I put the shades on, the medicine cabinet wouldn't open. Not the end of the world, we just had to cut a new hole higher up, and fish the wires up, then patch the hole below.