I live in a small, newly built flat in London. The walls are plasterboard. In our bathroom, the only lights are two halogen down lighters on the ceiling. I would like to install two new lights on the wall either side of the mirror.

To make things harder, I don't want to go upstairs and ask the guy who lives there to pull up his carpet.

Is this something I can attempt myself? How do I get the wire from the ceiling light across the ceiling and down the wall to the new lights?

Added: I own this flat. The lights are proper bathroom lights, from a bathroom shop. They are not within reach of the shower, but they are obviously within reach of the sink. There is no actual bath in the room.

Please don't be distracted by the fact that this is in a bathroom. Really I would like to know how to get the wires from the ceiling light to the wall light.

  • get some battery operated lights you can mount on the walls without running wires.
    – Jason
    Aug 25, 2012 at 19:34
  • 2
    @Jason - No thanks. That sounds like a total pain. Aug 25, 2012 at 20:05
  • You think that sounds like more pain than tearing up the walls to run new electrical?
    – Jason
    Aug 25, 2012 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


One thing I've been surprised at doing my house is that getting a plasterer is easier and cheaper than you might have thought. So, be brave.

Take down the bits of ceiling and wall that are in the way, drill proper holes in the joists and noggins for the cable runs and lay the cable in. Wire up the other end of the cable, then tape over the ends of the cable where the wall lights will go.

Next get some plasterboard -- B+Q usefully sell it in half-size sheets that fit in a car -- cut to the size of your holes (with little holes for your cables), and nail to the joists in the ceiling and the noggins in the wall. Don't worry too much if there's a few mm around the gap, it doesn't need to to be too precise.

Then have a plasterer put a "skim coat" over the top of the lot. He or she may even say it's cheaper and easier for them to do the whole ceiling or the whole wall. Stand back open-mouthed while they do the lot in a few minutes!

Oh, and I'd take @Tim Baker's suggestion of picking up the power from the switch. Given that you're in the UK, if the wiring was done in the last forty years this is going to be a pull switch on the ceiling, no?

(Usual disclaimers apply: be careful mucking about with power in the bathroom, it makes sense [and is required by the Building Regs] for a circuit that's going to a wet area to be protected by an RCD.)

  • Thanks. I think this is the most helpful answer so far. "Just cut the hole and get a plasterer". Cool, I'll get a quote. I'll still probably go from the ceiling light rather than the switch because it's much closer. The switch is a wall switch outside the bathroom and on the other side of a shower. Aug 28, 2012 at 9:29
  • 1
    Suggest you get /three/ quotes -- some trades will try to stiff DIYers. I've had wildly different quotes for this sort of thing. Aug 28, 2012 at 12:53

It all depends: Firstly just to check is this your flat? If you are renting I would stop right there because you don't have permission.

I'd personally stay very clear of bath room lights, there are too many risks involved. But if you do decide to take that risk then make sure the lights are suitable for bath rooms (All that steam means they need to be appropriately water proof). Dependent on what is behind that wall you could (if suitable and safe!) drill through that wall and put the cables straight out the back, as if say they are covered by a wardrobe then that will be fine - just repair the hole before you leave. Lastly if its a tiled wall don't bother trying to drill, in my experience without patience and the right kit tiles will just break like biscuits. :)

I don't know the laws, but if the person who lives in there after you gets a electric shock you could be liable, so think about that as well.

This post provides a great deal of information: What are the building regulations in the UK for fitting a light in a bathroom?

  • Thanks for the answer. Yes we own the flat outright. Yes these are proper bathroom lights. My question was more about how I actually get a cable from the ceiling light to the wall light. Aug 26, 2012 at 0:03
  • Ok, thats a bit of a relief, with difficulty to be honest. Opposed to taking the power from the ceiling lights, I would suggest taking it from the switch point. If the switch is on the wall (even out side the bath room) your cabling will be easier. If the switch is on the ceiling (rope switch) it will likely be much closer to the wall than the original lights, again easier. You'll need to drill a hole about 40mm where you want the lights, then use a cable chaser to fetch the cable through if possible, but you may struggle as I've already said!
    – tim.baker
    Aug 26, 2012 at 9:20

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