We just moved into a new place and even though we're renting, we wanted to swap out the pendant above the dining table for a nice upgrade we can take with us when we go. I was going to call an electrician until a friend mentioned that I ought to be able to handle it myself. So I did, and was a lot simpler than I expected!
What You Need
Wirecutters/strippers (or if you're handy, a pair of scissors)
1. Turn off Electricity!
2. Unscrew the cap fitting for the old fixture and unscrew the wires so you can take the fixture down off the ceiling.
3. Measure the length you want the new fixture to hang (standard is for the fixture to hang about 3 feet up from the table top). Cut the cord to your desired length and strip about an inch of the rubber casing off of each wire so you have exposed wires to work with.
4. Screw the fixture into the ceiling with the two screws that should have already been in place from the last fixture so you don't have to hold it while you wire it up.
5. Twist white wire with white wire and black wire with black wire and cap each of them with one of those red things
6. Finish screwing in the fixture so the cap is flush against the ceiling.
Additional Notes: This was fairly simple since there was already a fixture in place. We wouldn't have attempted anything more complicated with electricity since it can be risky. We made sure the power in that circuit was off and that the switch was off (and that everyone knew not to turn it on) before starting. If you have any concerns about your wiring, etc. don't try this, call a professional!
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(Images: Laure Joliet)