How Much Does It Cost To Install Ceiling Light Fixture?

Lighting Installation Costs All Types

Installing a light fixture is something homeowners can do for themselves if they are handy and if they feel comfortable working with electricity. However, for many people installing a light fixture is something they would prefer to leave to a professional. In this article, we share the average national costs to install various types of home lighting fixtures.

Lighting installation costs range from as little as $75 for a dimmer switch to $300 for larger more complex lighting installations.  Your cost can be more than double if you need to have a light fixture installed where one currently does not exist.

Costs vary based upon the type of lighting fixture that you are using, whether you are replacing an existing fixture or adding new electrical service to the location where the light fixture will be installed.

Get a Quote From an Electrician

Now that you have an idea of how much the average light fixtures cost to install, you should get at least three estimates for your specific job. You should always get estimates from electricians in your area.

You might also be interested in our electrical calculators.

All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.

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How much does it cost to install lights of different types?

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

A successful lighting scheme will consist of different types of light so that the room is comfortable and functional for all the activities that take place there, to highlight different features of the space, and so the atmosphere can be altered as required. 

In order to know how much does it cost to install new lighting, assess the types of light you plan to include against the following guide from Bailey, and note that this doesn’t include purchasing the light itself:

Ceiling-mounted lights are the most common light fixture and will typically range in cost from $90 to $230 (£67 to £172) to install. 

Pendant lights are not as bright as ceiling-mounted lights but can add great mood lighting and style to a room. Installing a pendant light tends to cost between $95 and $250 (£71 to £187). 

Chandeliers are more expensive than pendant or simple ceiling-mounted lights since they are more elaborate and often more delicate. Chandeliers are also heavy, often requiring additional reinforcements in the ceiling to keep them in place. Replacing an existing chandelier costs around $100 to $200 (£75 to £150), while adding a new one can range from $300 to $2,000 (£225 to £1,500). 

Recessed lighting will cost more than mounted lighting since the electrician or handyman will have to cut and finish surrounding drywall. Installing recessed lighting usually costs around $125 to $230 (£93 to £172). 

Track lighting will likely cost between $100 and $250 (£75 to £187) to install, unless you need to add wiring and junction boxes, which can add between $100 to $200 (£75 to £150) to the total cost.

Sconces, or wall-mounted lights, typically cost between $90 and $250 (£67 to £187) to install if you already have electrical wiring in place. If not, plan on an additional $100 to $200 (£75 to £150). 

Factor #3: The age and condition of your home’s wiring

If your home’s wiring is old (20+ years) or in poor condition, the electrician may have to replace the old wiring, which will increase the overall cost.

While it may cost more upfront, in the long run it’s better to have an electrician replace old or worn wiring because you avoid problems like…

  • Damage to the light fixture caused by worn out wiring
  • Electrical hazards (like an electrical fire caused by frayed wires)

Recessed Lighting Sizes

Even the brightest recessed lights will not illuminate your room if they are spaced improperly. The standard rule for placing the lights is dictated by the lights’ size. Recessed lights come in three basic sizes: 4-, 5-, and 6-inch. Four-inch lights are installed a minimum of 4 feet apart from each other across the ceiling. Five-inch lights are installed a minimum of 5 feet apart. Six-inch lights are installed at a minimum of 6 feet. Some brands also make lights at 7-inch and 10-inch diameters, but these are much less common and should be reserved for large spaces. These should all be placed about 12 to 18 inches in from the walls and spread evenly across the ceiling to achieve the best illumination.

Talk to local pros to get quotes for your recessed lighting installation project

What lighting is best for the living room?

If you are planning living room lighting, the three types of lighting that are important are: ambient, task, and feature or accent lighting. 

‘Plan a lighting scheme with different layers to create the best effect in any living room,’ recommends Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens

‘Ambient lighting is the overall background lighting for the room, task lighting might provide the illumination needed for reading, for example, and accent lighting could show off the room’s architectural features, or a display, or add drama. Flexibility is important, so include dimmable lighting to change the mood of the room easily.’

Light Fixture Cost by Type

How much each fixture costs to install depends on the amount of work needing to be done to put in the new fixture and light safely.

Traditional Light Fixture, Ceiling or Wall-Mounted

Most traditional ceiling or wall-mounted lights are uncomplicated and take a skilled electrician longer to set up than to do the actual work. Inside the wall or ceiling mounted on a stud is a metal or plastic box with the electrical wires running into it. The wires also can run to a wall switch and the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.

As long as the amperage needed for the light is sufficient, installing the new fixture averages around $150 – $200, unless the light fixture is an intricate chandelier with multiple lamps.

Chandeliers

Most chandeliers cost $150 – $500 for the installation. The cost varies depending on the cost of the fixture, whether the electrician can use the existing wiring if the ceiling can support the chandelier, and if the wiring and circuit breaker can support the number of lamps in the chandelier.

Another cost consideration is the weight of the chandelier. When you install a large chandelier, you should use a heavy-duty electrical box or fan brace.

Never hang a chandelier from its wiring; use a fan brace or chain tied into a ceiling joist. A fan brace gets used to support ceiling fans that not only weigh more than most light fixtures, but the twirling motion of the fan pulls on the electric box as well. An adequate fan brace will support up to 150 pounds, and most chandeliers.

Track & Strip Lights

Track lights or strip lights come in a wide variety of designs that typically have several lights mounted or built-in. They are used to accentuate room décor or provide a spotlight to a location where you need extra light, such as a puzzle table, craft center, or reading chair. If an electrician can tie the supports into existing joists with drywall screws and use the existing wiring, it will cost around $150 – $250.

A Recessed Light

Recessed lighting is always more complicated than just tying into the existing wiring and supporting the light. Recessed lights need to be mounted inside the ceiling, walls, or cabinets, so the “can” or “pot” is not visible. This usually requires cutting into the area where the light will be recessed.

Drywall is easy to cut into with a utility knife, and the lips or frame of the light will cover the cut area. However, cutting into cabinets requires a jigsaw with a fine blade to ensure the wood, veneer, or laminate is not damaged.

Installing a recessed light usually costs $150 – $200.

Pendant Light

These light fixtures are lightweight and easy to install, usually without any additional support required. Installation can be done in an hour or two and costs about $150 – $200.

Fluorescent Light

You most often see fluorescent lights in garages and workshops. However, many homeowners with dropped ceilings employ fluorescent lights recessed behind a decorative panel.

Fluorescent lights use low power bulbs, so these can quite often get tied into the current wiring and switches unless you want something special. It will cost about the same as any ceiling-mounted light at $150 – $200.

FAQs

  • How many recessed lights do I need?

The number of recessed lights you need depends on the size of the room. Most experts recommend one fixture for every four to six sq.ft. of ceiling space. However, this number varies depending on the layout of the room.

  • How to change a recessed light bulb?

The most important step of changing a recessed light bulb is making sure the bulb is cool before you touch it. To get enough torque to twist the lightbulb out of the socket, you need to create a loop out of duct tape. Tear off about a foot of duct tape and create a loop with the sticky side out. Stick the loop onto the light bulb and twist counterclockwise until it is unscrewed, and you can remove it. Remove the tape from the old bulb, and stick it onto the new bulb. Once the tape loop is attached to the new bulb, line it up with the socket and twist clockwise until it is firmly in place.

  • Does recessed lighting add value to your home?

This depends on the area and your home. In general, any good lighting increases your home’s value by making it more functional. However, recessed lights do not always work in historical architecture.

  • Can a handyman install recessed lighting?

This depends on your handyman’s skill level. Some are experienced with electricity, understand the codes, submit the necessary paperwork for permits, and do the work to code, but others cannot. Speak to your handyman to find out their skill level.

  • How do you install recessed lighting in a ceiling?

Recessed lights are cans held in place above the ceiling with brackets. They are installed through a hole in the ceiling and connected to one another and the electrical circuit that powers them.

  • How much does it cost to put in downlights?

Downlight is a recessed light with an eyeball trim. It costs around $75 to $250 per light for labor and an additional $50 for the light and trim to install.

  • How much does it cost to have an electrician install a light fixture?

Electricians charge between $40 and $120 an hour, and light fixtures generally run around $165 to $195 to install.

  • Where should I put my recessed lights?

Recessed lights can be installed anywhere, but they work best in kitchens and living rooms. They should be installed 4 to 6 feet apart and 12 to 18 inches from the walls.

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