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How To: Install an Electrical Box for a Wall Sconce Light

How To: Install an Electrical Box for a Wall Sconce Light

Longing for the custom look of hardwired wall sconces, but don’t have the extra dough to shell out on an electrician? If you aren’t easily intimidated, you may be able to save some money by doing it yourself. In this beginner’s tutorial,  let me show you how my husband, a complete novice, installed junction boxes for our wall lights.

In the midst of our DIY custom butler pantry project a while back, I decided that I absolutely had to have hard-wired wall sconces over our DIY open shelving. However, there was one small problem….

There was no receptacle on the wall to hardwire the desired light fixtures into. 

While I would never ever attempt any sort of electrical project myself (I have a major case of adult A.D.D.), my husband, who has no formal electrical training, made this endeavor sound like no big deal. And so…I gladly let him figure it out on his own. 

diy electrical box install

Much to our delight, the project was a success and I got the custom look I was going for- tricking ya’ll into thinking I am some sort of rich b*tch.  

With that said, please take all precautions and do any necessary research before attempting any project. Also check your local rules and regulations, permits needed, particular product instructions and always ask for advice when unsure. Everyone’s project and location is different.

 ** and Jon and Erica Van Slyke cannot be held responsible for any injuries, loss, your personal safety or the outcome of your home improvement projects.**

Although I have touted this as a beginner’s guide to electrical, this project is a little more involved than most of the other projects I have shared on this blog .

In terms of electrical skill, it is more “beginner” in the sense that it does not require you to lay a finger on the fuse panel. All we did was  simply tie in to an existing outlet source. 

At any rate, being that we are NOT professionals( simply weekend DIY-ers), in the steps bellow, my husband breaks down this project in a manner that is hopefully more digestible (not to mention approachable) for the average Joe or Jane.  

So here is how my husband installed an electrical box for our hardwired lights…

installing electrical box for sconce light in wall

Materials Needed to Install a Junction Box for Wall Sconces:

  1. Jab saw or oscillating saw to cut hole in wall for lightswitch box.  

  2. Adjustable hole saw cutter to cut hole in wall for sconce electrical boxes.

  3. Electrical wire (14 gauge for 15 amp circuit and 12 gauge for 20 amp circuit)

  4. Fish tape

  5. Wire strippers

  6. Phillips and Flathead screw drivers

NOTE: To avoid having to demolish any sheetrock, you will need access either to an attic or crawlspace. 

How To Install a Lighting Receptacle:

1.Mark locations on wall where you will be installing the light fixtures.

2. Use a stud finder to make certain there are no studs within the mounting specs for the “old work” electrical box.

3. Using an adjustable hole saw cutter, cut hole in dry wall according to the electrical box specs.

how to install light receptacle for a sconce

  4. Install electrical boxes in the holes. The box will have three tabs that will rotate out and tighten against the backside of the drywall as you tighten the screws. The lip on the front of the box and the tabs work together to “pinch” the dry wall and that is how the box is secured. Do not over tighten the screws as this will break the tabs.

5. Figure out if you will be running a new circuit from the breaker box (advanced electrical work) or adding onto an existing circuit. If only adding wall sconces, it would be easiest to add onto an existing circuit because new technology bulbs have minimal watt draw and therefore would not stress an existing circuit.

6. If adding onto an existing circuit, locate the outlet nearest to the area you will be installing the light switch for the wall sconces.

7. Important! Locate the breaker that controls that circuit and turn it off.

how to hardwire wall sconce light

8. Unscrew the outlet plate and then unscrew outlet from the box. You will need to add wire to the available connections of the outlet. Most likely there will be two open slot on the backside of the outlet that allow wire to be pushed in to make the connection.

One slot will be aligned next to the brass colored screw and the other with the silver screw. The black or “hot” wire always connects to the brass terminal and white connects to the silver terminal.

9 Stripe wire 1/2” back in push into proper slots-black to brass and white to silver.

10. If switch location will not be directly above the outlet, you will need to determine if the attic or basement will be easier to access since the wire will cannot be fished across studs in the wall. You will have to take the wire through the bottom or top plate of the wall to connect it from the outlet to the switch.

11. Since we went through the attic, I used a metal coat hanger to push through the drywall ceiling to mark where I would need to drill through the top plate. The holes are small and easily repaired with a small amount of lightweight spackle.

diy guide to installing junction box for wall lights

12. Mark and install lightswitch box in the same manner you did the electrical boxes for the sconces.

13. Fish wire from the outlet from the outlet to the attic or basement if not locating the switch directly above the outlet.

14. Drill hole in necessary location so the wire can be located in the desired location of the wall.

15. Fish wire to switch electrical box.

how to install junction box for lighting

16. Now fish new section of wire from switch box to first sconce electrical box.

17. Run section of wire from one electrical box to the others.

18. Wire switch by attaching the two black wires to the brass screws. Notice there is no silver screws on the switch so attached two white wires together with a wire nut.

how to install an electrical box for wall light

19. Wire in new sconces by attaching black to black and white to white wires.

20. Install bulbs before attaching sconces to electrical box and turn circuit on to make sure lights are working. If all is working properly, turn circuit back off and mount up the switch and sconces to boxes.

how to install sconce lighting junction box

A Note for Less- experienced DIY-ers:

As you have now probably gathered from the numerous steps included in this tutorial, this is a pretty lengthy process .  Nonetheless, it is totally doable!

For any of you needing encouragement, my husband offered some words of wisdom…

“You can’t be intimidated! If you run into a road block, take a step back and consult with trusty ol’ Google. There was a time when I never would have even contemplated attempting electrical work, and now I feel completely comfortable with a project of this scope. No one starts off as an expert, but you do get more confident as you go.”


diy electrical box install

I hope this tutorial was helpful for those of you exploring your options as it relates to installing electrical receptacles. 

Updated 2-21-23: If you don’t feel comfortable attempting electrical yourself, check out my super simple DIY Wireless Wall Sconce tutorial. In that separate post, I share an easy hack on how to make just about any light battery-operated and cordless. 

Now get out there and design some good vibes along with a fabulous life!

PS. It would make the biggest difference if you could share this post with a friend or on social media. Thank you so much for your support!pin on pinterest

how to install electrical box for hardwiredlighting

how to install electric for hardwired wall sconce


My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Dear Erica: Love the way the project turned out! Can you tell me where you purchased the multi-bulb ceiling light? It would be perfect in my kitchen. I so enjoy getting inspiration from your projects! Thank you!

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Thank you so much for the kind words, Christine! I actually got that light from Amazon, but it looks like its sold out right now. Here is the affiliate link for it

You might be able to google the product and find it elsewhere. Good luck1


Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Erica, wow- that looks great! I am thankful that my husband is also willing to tackle projects such as this,(we have also consulted Google and YouTube as well!). Your instructions are great and they make me want to start a project! Thanks and have a great week!

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Thank you so much, Donna! Sounds like we are both some lucky ladies. :)