Cut the cord! 5 steps to convert a plug in chandelier to a hardwired fixture

Found the perfect chandelier, and after a small delay in shipping, finally received it only to find out it was a plug-in with a cord! Surprise!  No worries, this is fixable.   Converting a cord/plug fixture is very similar to installing a regular light fixture.

** Safety first!  Turn the circuit breaker off to the light switch in question before attempting any electrical work.  A small hand-held amp probe held onto the wires should confirm if the circuit is dead.  If you encounter any conditions that are not as described, you should always consult with an electrician.  Anything beyond existing fixture changes should also consider any local building codes and ordinances.

Let’s get started:

1)  Materials

You’ll need a wire stripper/cutter, cordless screwdriver, wire nuts, and a canopy kit.  The canopy kit comes with the hanging bracket, screws and the ceiling plate cover and it will be what you need to mount the hanging fixture to the ceiling.

2) Cut the cord!

Nothing like the feeling of slicing right through your brand new fixture’s cord.  There’s no turning back now.  Leave about 6-8″ of wire from the top of the fixture.

Lamp cord is usually made up of two wires joined together, so simply pull the two pieces apart at the top.  Use your wire stripper to strip the insulating outer coating to reveal about 1/2″ to 1″ of copper wire on the inside.

3)  Install the canopy bracket

Follow the mounting instructions to mount the bracket for the canopy kit to the ceiling box.  The ceiling box should have 3 wires protruding: white (neutral) black (hot) and green or bare solid copper (ground)  Fish these wires through the bracket’s hole

4)  Wire it up

The ribbed lamp wire combines with the white house wire with the two copper sections touching.  Using a wire nut, screw the nut onto the end completely covering the copper portions of the wire.  The nut should be tight enough that if you give the wires a gentle tug, they don’t slip out. Repeat the same steps with the green ground wire to the bare brass/copper-colored wire as well as the smooth lamp wire with the black house wire.

5)  Secure the light

Before I take the time to make the final closures, I like to insert a bulb and test my work.  Turn on the light switch to ensure your bulb comes on.  Once you are sure that the connections are tight and it functions, secure the chandelier to the canopy cover with a chain link ad secure the canopy cover to the ceiling bracket with the screws provided.

And wah-lah, you have a new hardwired fixture!

Disclaimer:  This tutorial isn’t intended to be error proof.  Please use it as a guideline and ensure you are properly skilled and knowledgeable about electrical safety and wiring methods.  Extra precautions and additional research is always advised. You are responsible for your personal safety or the success of your projects.


    • Thanks for the input…I hope you are able to find your 9′ ladder and have a successful installation. I always like to hear your success stories so please come back and tell me what happened! 🙂

    • Hi Sabrina:

      Good question! Step 3 further explains this, but basically, the lamp cord does contain only 2 wires whereas the ceiling (house) connection always contains 3. The ribbed wire from the lamp cord connects to the white house wire, the non-ribbed lamp wire connects to the black house wire and the extra ceiling wire that is bare copper is your ground wire. The ceiling bracket should contain a screw with a green wire that you can wrap around the bare copper wire so that your fixture is now grounded safely.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi Julee:

      If you have additional wires beyond the typical 3 wires of white, black and copper, it sounds as though you may have had a ceiling fan or vent in the prior location. These types of fixtures have special functions that require the additional wiring. Without knowing your exact circumstances of what you had there before, I would recommend that you consult with a licensed electrician before proceeding to ensure your new fixture will be compatible with not only the ceiling box, but the current wiring schematic as well. However, I can say that “typically” a red wire is an additional “hot wire” that serves a similar purpose as the black and the green wire serves a similar purpose as the copper wire, which is a grounding wire.

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