I have a master bedroom that has three switched outlets (top outlet only on each) that is switched from two locations in the room. I want to add a ceiling light (no fan- just a ceiling fixture with two 60 watt sockets. I don't mind the switched outlets being switched if that makes it easier for install. What do I need to look for and what is the easiest way to connect so that I can utilize both switches without having to open up walls and run lots of wiring. I have access in the attic to install the light and run wire to the wall in which the the switch leading into the bedroom is located. I figured I could drill a hole in the top plate and fish the wire down into either the switch box or one of the switched outlets that is located below the switch. In the switch box there appears to be three blacks wired together and three whites wired together with a red going to the switch at the bottom. I have not taking out the switch yet to look and see what other wires connect to the switch, nor have I pulled out the outlet to see what's going on in there. Any help you can give me in hooking up the light would be appreciated. Would like to get it installed as a Valentines Day present to spouse.

So I guess my question is: Do I run the wire to the switch from the light or does it need to go to the switched outlet. What wires do I need to connect so that the light is switched at both locations in the room and becomes part of the switched outlet run. I'm assuming that everything I need is in the box for the switch leading into the room and that if I group the black and white with the combined ones that are already in the box that it's already set up with wires ponytailed off to switch. What is the best way to go about connecting the light to the switched outlet run. –

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    You have a good plan. What's the question? Please edit to make that more clear (and add some paragraph breaks).
    – isherwood
    Feb 14, 2017 at 17:58
  • Do I run wire to the switch from the light or do I run it to the switched outlet. What wires do I need to connect to so that it's switched at both locations and part of the switched outlet run. I'm assuming everything I need is in the box for the switch and that if I group the black and white with the combined ones that are already in the box that it's already set up with wires ponytailed off to switch. What is the best way to go about connecting the light to the switched outlet run. Feb 14, 2017 at 18:26
  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Please edit this new information into your question so that it becomes clearer (and, as @isherwood said, paragraph breaks would really help). Feb 14, 2017 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


You could run a cable from the light fixture to a switched outlet and just put the ceiling light in parallel with the switched outlet and leave the outlet switched for a corded lamp, or you could disconnect the switched cable in the receptacle box so that the switch only operates the the new ceiling fixture. You'd put in a new receptacle with the metal tab connections intact so the receptacle would be powered without being switchable. This would leave no abandoned wire in the wall. but it might be more difficult to fish a wire to a receptacle low on a wall than to fish into a switch box higher on the wall.

Alternatively, you could run a cable from the ceiling light fixture to a wall box with a switch and this might be easier than working lower on the wall. You would probably want to disconnect the old wire to the receptacle, but you could have the switch control both the overhead light and the receptacle.

The problem with either might be overfilling the box. If either of the boxes is the smaller size, you might have to replace it with a deeper box. Replacing the box will make fishing the wires much easier. I have seen experienced electricians in a team fish into an existing switch box in place, but I have never done it.

  • I was up in the attic yesterday taking a closer look. After clearing away the loose insulation it looks like the power is coming down to the switch and then off to the outlets. If I pull the wire from the fixture down to the switch box (there seems to be quite a lot of room left in the box). If this is providing power to the switches, is it possible to still provide power to the outlets within the box while not having them be switched outlets and allow the switch to be used strictly for the light? How would I go about doing that? Feb 15, 2017 at 16:43
  • If you have a split duplex receptacle with one receptacle always powered and one switched, there are two cables to the receptacle box--one to the switched receptacle and another to the powered receptacle. This latter cable can power both receptacles. You would disconnect the cable from the switch and put in a new duplex receptacle and leave the metal tabs intact on both sides. You should see that the connecting metal tabs are broken off on both sides of the duplex receptacle you have in place right now. Feb 15, 2017 at 19:34
  • The above manipulations are in the receptacle box. To power the new ceiling fixture from the switch box you will have identified the switch that formerly controlled the receptacle that you converted to not switched and you will disconnect the black wire at the switch that went to the receptacle (and cap it). You will also disconnect both the neutral (white) and the gnd (bare) WHICH IS PAIRED TO THE HOT (BLACK) THAT YOU JUST DISCONNECTED. The cable from the ceiling light is connected hot (black) to the switch; neutral (white) to white, gnd to gnd. Feb 15, 2017 at 19:53
  • To make what I wrote above clearer I point out that the manipulations described will result in the length of cable formerly going from the switch to the switched receptacle is being abandoned. You could just cut the stripped portion off the ends of the black and white conductors. Leave the ends folded in the box. Don't cut off more of these wires than necessary. I don't think you would need to put wire nuts on. If you wanted to, you could put a little electrical tape on the ends. Feb 15, 2017 at 21:49

Two long for a comment, I usually run 12/3 or 14/3 to switched outlets. In this case the supply neutral feeds 1 side of the switch and I use the red wire as the switched hot and the black as the always hot for the outlet. If this is the case only 1 side of the outlet will have the connection tab broken, you can remove the red and cap it then jumper the hot to both sides of the outlet. At this point you can fish the wire to the switch box or the outlet for your light. The only problems I run into doing this is if fire breaks are in the wall then a long drill bit is required to punch a hole through the fire break. The second is insulation, insulation can be a pain in the back side, I use "glow rods or fish sticks" to feed down walls, these are ~1/8" fiberglass rods I tape the wire to this helps get the wire down the wall to where it can be grabbed with a coat hanger. With 2 people this is easier but it can be done by 1 person it usually just takes longer unless you get lucky.

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