Nationwide, the average cost for lighting installation is $130 to $150 per fixture. That does not include the price of the fixture itself. For the fixture and installation, you'll pay a total cost of $280-$1,000. How much you pay depends on the number and style of light fixtures, whether there's existing wiring, the age of your home, the location of the fixture, and the complexity of the job.
Installing lighting seems so simple you may try to do it yourself. But unless you're simply plugging a lamp into a wall, amateurs shouldn't muck around with electrical jobs. Doing it wrong can be dangerous. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), there are an estimated 51,000 home electrical fires each year in the United States that result in injuries and property damage.
Fortunately, a licensed electrician can help ensure you're installing your lighting safely and successfully. Full service electrical companies sell lighting fixtures as well as install them, but you can also buy light fixtures from any retailer. Before hire a lighting installer, get an idea of how much it will cost to install new lighting in your home with this guide.
What's in this cost guide?
- Lighting installation cost factors
- Type of fixture
- Number of lights
- Existing wiring
- Age of home
- Hourly rates
- How to hire an lighting installer
The biggest cost factors in installing new lighting are the number and types of lighting fixtures you choose and the condition of your home's wiring.
The type of lighting fixtures (recessed lighting, wall-mounted light, etc.) will impact both installation costs and the price of the light itself.
You can get simple, low-end, ceiling lights for as little as $35, or go full luxe with elaborate chandeliers that costs thousands of dollars. Pick a fixture that fills your lighting needs and will fit on the ceiling or wall. And be sure the fixture is rated for the electricity available to the spot you plan to install it.
The average cost to install different types of light fixtures:
|Type of fixture||Average cost of installation|
|Traditional ceiling mounted lights||$90 to $185|
|Wall-mounted lights||$90 to $200|
|Fluorescent lights||$90 to $215|
|Pendant lights||$95 to $250|
|Track lights||$100 to $250|
|Recessed lights||$175 to $225|
Traditional ceiling mounted lights: $90 to $185
Ceiling mounted lights are the most common, especially in older homes. The fixture is mounted to a metal box that's attached to overhead joists or studs. The house's electrical wiring connects to the box and to a wall-mounted switch.
Traditional ceiling lights range from half dome flush mounts to ceiling fans with lighting kits or small chandeliers. The prices for this type of fixture vary, but the installation costs are low, since it only takes an hour or two.
Wall-mounted lights: $90 to $200
Wall-mounted lights are similar to ceiling mounts, but the metal electric box is attached to a wall stud instead of the ceiling. Fixture shapes include sconces, wall lamps, LED lights, and swing arm lamps. Installation also takes just a few hours.
Recessed lights: $175 to $225
Also called can lights or pot lights, recessed lights are placed in the ceiling to provide targeted light in a room. They don't jut into the room, as the bottom of the light is flush with the ceiling, so the fixture isn't part of the room's décor. Recessed lighting is a complex installation job because the electrician must cut the ceiling drywall around each inset can light, and then finish the edges of the cut when done.
The electrician must also install a junction box to power each can light, and if the recessed light is rated non-ic, (non-insulation contact) they'll need to remove some of the ceiling insulation from around the fixture. Installation takes about three hours.
Track lights: $100 to $250
Track lights provide targeted light and are popular in kitchens where you need to customize lighting to fit the workflow and space. You can point a track light at the kitchen island where you do food prep so you don't cut your finger chopping onions in dim light.
Installing track lights in a room that already has overhead lights is simple, because the electrician can tap into the existing wires and switches. He or she will then need to attach the lights to the ceiling with drywall or stud screws. Installing track lighting takes about three hours.
Pendant lights: $95 to $250
Pendant lights hang from ceiling mounts. This style is popular in kitchens, providing overhead light for eat-in counters, breakfast nooks, and kitchen islands. Pendant lights are lightweight and can be anchored into the ceiling with drywall screws.
Since they're low voltage, pendant lights can be attached to an existing junction box for a larger light already in the room. You won't need a new box for them. They will need their own switch, however, which adds to labor costs. Installation takes one to three hours.
Fluorescent lights: $90 to $215
Fluorescent lights are about function, not aesthetics. Use them in garages, studios, offices, and workshops where you need bright light at a low cost. Most fluorescent lights are a pair of 36-inch long bulb holders that mounts to the ceiling with studs. Depending on the electrical wiring available in the room, installation takes one to three hours.
Some companies charge by the light. For recessed lighting, the per-light charge includes the light housing, wiring, lamp and trim, LED bulb, and labor for installation. For rooms with existing lighting, one Thumbtack Pro and lighting installation specialist in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, charges $65–$85 per recessed light, including materials and labor. The company charges an additional $100–$125 per room, for rooms without an existing electrical source. Price variations reflect the height of the ceiling.
All light fixtures need wiring, junction boxes, and switches. If you're replacing one with a new light fixture that's the same style, you probably have the necessary wiring and power supply. If you're building new, or changing to a different type of fixture–say from a sconce to recessed lighting–the electrician will need to add wiring, a box, and a switch as well as cut into the drywall, adding to labor costs.
The cheapest option is to simply replace an old lighting fixture with a new one in the same place. Moving fixtures is pricey.
The average nationwide cost for additional lighting installation electrical work:
- Add a dimmer switch or regular switch: $104
- Add a ceiling junction box: $75 to $250
- Pull out old wire: $2.65 per square foot
If your home is more than 35 years old, your electrical wiring, panels, outlets and amperage may need to be updated before you can install that new chandelier that uses 1,000 watts of bulbs in the foyer.
In older homes, you might need to fix one of these common electrical problems:
Insufficient power supply: $1,300-$3,000
Modern homes needs a lot more juice than older ones. Before the 1970s, homes had 60 amps of power, total. In the 21st century, the typical home has 200 amps, more than 3x the amount power that old houses do.
Upgrading your power will make your home safer as well as more convenient. Increasing the amperage will require changing out the electrical panel and rewiring the home.
Outdated wiring: $1,500-$10,000
Rewiring a home costs $1,500-$10,000, depending on how big the house and whether you need to replace the panel as well.
- Knob and tube wiring, used in homes built between the 1880s to the 1930s, is a system that dates to Edison's day. It can only handle 60 amps of power for a house, so the system is easy to overload. Suffice it to say knob and tube is not safe or up to modern codes. You'll need to completely rewire the house and install a new panel.
- Aluminum wiring, used on house in the 1960s and 1970s, is straight up dangerous. Homes with aluminum wiring are 55x more likely to have “fire hazard conditions" than houses with copper, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. It also wears out at the connections, so if you can't rewire the entire house, at least get your electrician to add a short section of copper wire to the end of each aluminum wire.
Costs for permits vary by location, but range from $20 to $100+. Installing a light fixture won't require a permit, but if you end up having to alter the wiring in a structure to accommodate the new lighting you may need a permit for the project.
Most electricians will charge an hourly rate of $40 to $95 on average nationwide. Some charge flat fees for small jobs like installing ceiling fans, installing light fixtures, or adding outlets and switches.
How to hire an electrician for light fixture installation
Before you get started remodeling your kitchen with brand new recessed lighting, or swapping out your old sconce for a new, more modern one, make sure you're hiring the right pro for the job:
- Look for a licensed electrician. Don't let your brother-in-law install a light fixture, no matter how handy he is. An incorrectly installed light can be a fire hazard. Find licensed electricians in your zip code on Thumbtack.
- Check the company's past work. Read reviews on Thumbtack to see what other homeowners have to say about working with a particular electrical company before you hire them.
- Get free estimates from multiple electricians and ask exactly what's included in the quote. Will they charge you extra to remove the old fixture? Will they need to add a junction box or switch, or cut holes in the drywall? If they need to open a wall or ceiling to run wire, will they patch it up or will you need to call in a drywall specialist?
- Bundle multiple projects together. It's more cost-effective to have multiple electrical projects, like adding a new outlet and lighting, done at the same time.
If you're ready to see your room in new light, find a lighting electrician near you on Thumbtack who can install lighting and make your room Instagram-ready.