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Ability Bathe | January 17, 2024

How To Change Bathroom Lights

How To Change Bathroom Lights

Lights in your bathroom starting to flicker or fade? Pull cord string not bouncing back like it used to?

Just like you don’t always need a plumber to unblock a bathroom sink, you don’t always require an electrician to repair those everyday bathroom troubles. 

With a couple of tools and some simple steps, you can give your bathroom a much-deserved makeover.

From how to change a bathroom light to fixing that pull cord, our guide will teach you how to bring the light back and add a personal touch to your space.

But remember, stay safe:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for any product you buy
  • Determine whether you’re capable of undertaking the task
  • Inform yourself of relevant water and electrical works regulations

The information below is intended for guideline purposes only. Always take precautions when electricity is involved and if you’re not confident about what to do, or DIY isn’t your strong point, call an expert.

How to change bathroom lights

Step 1: Safety first

Before you begin, turn the power off at your fuse box!

Step 2: Preparation 

So, the power’s off – great. Next, get your ladder out (if required).

You’ll need one that’s secure and stable. Better yet, get someone to hold it in place for you.

Step 3: Cool down time

If the light was on recently, let it cool down for a while. The last thing you want to touch is a hot bulb!

Step 4: Identify the old bulb and take it out

Different lights mean different bulbs. Some of the most typical bulbs you can get your hands on include:

  • Bayonet (BC/B22) – Push gently, then turn anti-clockwise to remove.
  • Large Screw (ES/E27) – Just unscrew anti-clockwise.
  • G9 – Remove with a firm yet light pull.
  • GU10 – Push downwards and turn anti-clockwise. This takes a little more effort but nothing you can’t handle!

Step 5: Insert your new bulb

Top tip – switching to LED lights uses up to 90% less energy and lasts much longer than those old-school bulbs. So, you save on your energy bills and help save the planet at the same time!

Step 6: Reassemble

So, you now have the bulb in place. Next, reverse the steps to rebuild any plates or covers. 

Finally, turn the power back on and reap the rewards of your work. 

How to change bathroom light pull cord string switches

Step 1: Power off

As you did for changing the bathroom light, switch off the power at the fuse box.

Step 2: Remove the cover

Take off the cover of the pull cord switch. You shouldn’t find this too tricky but don’t force anything.

Step 3: Discard the current cord

Remove the old cord. You might notice a clamp or knot – remember, be careful but firm. 

Step 4: Replace it with the new one

Insert the new cord, fastening it just like the old one. Make sure it isn’t too long or too short – it needs to be precise.

Step 5: Test, test, test

Give it a couple of pulls, then when you feel happy about it, put the cover back on!

A deeper look at changing bathroom lights

Different lights, different methods

Aside from the standard bulb changes, you can get your hands on various fixtures, including:

  • Flush ceiling lights: These lights typically feature covers held by clips or nuts. Gently remove them, replace the bulb, then put everything back together. Try not to misplace those nuts!
  • Downlights and spotlights: You can usually find these in contemporary bathrooms, and they introduce a sophisticated touch. You’ll need a twist and lock-type bulb, placement is key when fitting these lights.
  • Bathroom wall lights: You need to unscrew or pop off the covers. Put the cover back in place securely following the bulb change to protect the bulb from any dampness.
  • LED strip lights: These offer exceptional accent lighting. All you need to do to change them is carefully remove the strip, usually held by an adhesive backing, and then switch it to a new one. If you want a sleek look, always ensure the new strip is tightly attached and straight.

Once you’ve got that new bulb ready to go, give the fixture a good clean to eliminate any dust— you’ll notice that sparkle once the light is on. 

And avoid throwing the old bulbs in the bin, particularly those compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). They contain material inside that shouldn’t be chucked out with the leftovers. Read up on how to dispose of them correctly. 

Finally, flip that switch and make sure everything lights up in the right way. Not a lot beats the feeling of a job done well when you see that light shining bright and clear.

More about pull cord string replacement

Selecting the right cord

Before choosing a new pull cord for your bathroom, consider how long you need it to be. It needs to be just right so you can reach it easily without it getting in your way.

And given we’re talking about a bathroom, with all its splashes and steam, ensure the cord you plump for is designed for this sort of environment. 

Look for something tough that won’t be bothered by a little moisture. Your best bet is a cord that lasts and doesn’t leave you fumbling. 


Even though you’ve swapped out the pull cord, it’s still playing up. Don’t worry – there’s normally an easy fix.

Firstly, double-check the cord is snug and secure inside the mechanism – it needs to be just right. If everything seems in place, but you’re still not having much luck, the issue may be the switch mechanism itself. 

If this is what’s happening, you may need to have the entire thing exchanged.

We know, we know – the thought may have you rolling your eyes, but honestly, it isn’t as terrible as it sounds. Best of all, you’ll be fixing it for good, saving you the bother again later down the line.

How to change bathroom lights – a few top tips 

  • Stay shock-free: Always use tools with insulated handles, like pliers and screwdrivers, to safeguard yourself from any electric jolts.
  • Dry zone: Keep the floors and your hands dry when you’re working on electrical equipment. Water and electricity are a dangerous duo.
  • Match it up: When you’re on the lookout for a new bulb, take the old one with you to the shops so you’re guaranteed an exact match. 
  • Quality counts: Buying better-quality bulbs and cords means fewer replacements and more peace of mind.
  • Ask for help: If something doesn’t seem right, it never hurts to get professional guidance. Better safe than sorry!

Final thoughts

So now, you should have all you need to tackle those light changes and pull cord fixes in your bathroom.

In our selection of informative guides, we’ve also covered the following recently – how to replace a bathroom tap and how to remove silicone sealant.

Remember, it isn’t just about making things work. It’s about adding a personal touch to your home. 

And always prioritise safety – there’s no shame in calling on a professional if you experience any difficulties. 

Thinking bigger than just a bulb change? Looking to redesign or install a new bathroom that reflects your taste and needs?

We are Ability Bathe – bathroom fitters in Devon – and we can modernise your bathroom with our walk-in showers and wet rooms. Please get in touch for more information about our services.


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