How to Rewire a Ceiling Lamp With the Ground Wire to a Plug in Lamp

You do not need to trash every light fixture during a remodel. Rewire attractive or unusual ceiling lamps to become plug-in lamps. Use these recycled fixtures to maintain a sense of the character of the home before it was renovated.

An attractive ceiling lamp hanging in place

Turn off the electricity to the ceiling lamp. Use a ladder long enough to allow you to reach the ceiling comfortably. Unfasten the lamp from the ceiling by using a screwdriver to remove the screws that anchor into place. Clip the wires that power the lamp with wire cutters or disconnect them where they are attached to the house wiring. Save as much of the original wire as possible when removing the ceiling lamp. If you can salvage as much as five feet of wire coming from the lamp that has not been spliced, it will make the job much easier. A shorter wire can add an extra step to the process.

Make sure the ground wire is attached to the body of the lamp. This wire is usually attached to a screw near the area where the rest of the wire enters the lamp. The ground will be separated from the rest of the wire and secured under this screw. It is often a green wire. If it is loose or unattached, fasten it to the lamp before beginning.

Attach an additional piece of wire to lengthen the lamp wire if it is too short. It is best to trim the original wire enough so that the connection is hidden behind the lamp. This will make the job look cleaner. Use wire strippers to strip the insulation from the ends of all of the wires back about 1/2 inch. Holding the matching wire ends together, screw a wire nut onto each connection until the nut is tight. This should make the connection safe and secure. Seal the connections by wrapping them with electrical tape.

Strip the other ends of the lengthened wires, or the ends of the original wires with the wire strippers if they were long enough. Use a good-quality three-pronged plug and thread the wire inside of it. With the plug cover pulled back, three screws should be apparent. One of these is the extra ground. It will be attached to the round tine. Attach the extra ground wire to this screw. The other two wires should then be attached to the two remaining screws.

Put the plug cover back into place and tighten the security screw at the upper end of the plug, if there is one. Make sure that everything is well connected and secure. The lamp should be ready for use.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire
  • Three-wire plug-in
  • 3 wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • Ladder
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers


  • Using wire strippers will keep your wire in better shape than stripping it with a knife.


  • Take special precautions when working on a ladder to remove the ceiling lamp.
  • Make sure the electricity is turned off before removing the ceiling lamp.

About the Author

Allen Teal was first published in 2002 in the "Adult Teacher" and "Adult Student" books for the Assemblies of God Sunday School department. He has also been published on various websites. He received an Associate of Arts in business from Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo.

Photo Credits

  • lampshade UFO image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from Fotolia.com