A wall sconce light can add ambiance to a room, as well as provide additional light to a shadowed hallway or room corner. It's relatively simple to use the wiring from a nearby overhead light to power a wall sconce light. All you need is a few tools and a willingness to work with electrical components.

What you will need:


Check the circuit breaker that controls power to the ceiling light to determine the gauge (thickness) of wire you will need. The amp rating will be stamped onto the breaker.

A fifteen amp line will need fourteen gauge wire, while a twenty amp line will need twelve gauge wire. Measure the distance from the ceiling light fixture to the ceiling area above the intended location of the wall sconce, then measure vertically from ceiling to sconce location. Add several feet to the sum of the measurements for connection and wire running purposes.

You will use a three wire sheath, so be careful not to buy a two wire sheath. The number of wires is printed on the packaging, after the gauge number. (Example: 14-3 means three fourteen gauge wires are contained within the sheath.

Wire cutter/stripper tool

Wire nuts and electrical tape


Begin at the ceiling light location

You will first need to turn off the circuit breaker that controls power to the ceiling light (leave the light on when turning off the breaker to be sure that the breaker is the correct one and that power is turned off).

Unscrew the light fixture from the ceiling, and let it hang by the wire connections. You will see three sets of single wires connected with electrical tape and wire nuts. Remove the tape and unscrew the wire nuts connectors by turning them counterclockwise. 

It is important to remember that the wires are the only thing holding the light fixture, so you (or a helper) must support the light fixture as you disconnect the wires. Lower the light fixture to the floor.

Creating an opening at the wall sconce location

Your opening only needs to be wide enough for a wire sheath to pass through, so you can use a utility knife or 3/8" drill bit to create the hole, depending upon the surface material of the wall.

Back at the ceiling light location

You will begin to feed your sheath of wire into the ceiling in the direction of your wall sconce location. Feeding wire through finished walls and ceilings is frustrating, and a main reason why homeowners choose to have electrical contractors perform their updates and additions. However, it can be done, with patience and possible multiple attempts.

At the wall sconce location

When the end of the wire sheath can be seen at the wall sconce opening, the sheath must be pulled through the opening. The hole may need to be slightly enlarged to accomplish this task, but enlarge it with discretion. Your back of your wall sconce must cover the opening.

When the wire sheath is pulled through, use the wire stripper to remove one inch of insulation from the ends of the three wires within the sheath. You will then twist the ends of the wires together with the same color wires of the wall sconce (black to black, white to white, green to green).

Twist a wire nut onto the joined wire ends in a clockwise direction, then wrap the open end of the wire nuts with electrical tape. Screw the wall sconce into the wall according to instructions provided.

Back at the ceiling for a final hookup

Cut the wire sheath with the wire cutters, and strip the insulation as before. You will probably need a helper to hold the light fixture in place while you connect all of the same color wires together as before.

At the ceiling light location, you will be connecting three wires together. The wires from the ceiling, from the light fixture, and from the new wires running to the wall sconce. Connect all three black wires, all three white wires, and all three green wires together with wire nuts and electrical tape.

Reinstall the ceiling light, turn on the breaker, and your task is complete. However, if you don't feel comfortable performing this task, contact an electrical business, such as R & R Electric Co Inc