In my entryway, there is a lighting fixture box that is sticking out of the ceiling drywall. (See attached image below) The box is 4 inch by 4 inch. I assume that it came with some kind of ceiling light that included the box as part of the hanging fixture. I assume this because I can't find any ceiling light in stores today that would fit over it. But I also can't find any ceiling light that comes with a box like this.

When I bought the house, there was no light here, but now that I am selling it, I want to put a light up. If I can find a light that works with the existing box, that would make things easier. Otherwise I guess I have to take that box out and put in something else to put up a new light.

Anyone ever seen lights that use this kind of box for hanging? Is this more of an old style light that is no longer made? All the lights I see now are either recessed or flush/semi-flush which wont work with this box as it sticks out of the ceiling.

enter image description here

  • 1
    @DanielGriscom I disagree that it is a shopping question. He’s asking if fixtures were made that would fit this situation, not where to buy one. My opinion is that the previous owner hacked something together.
    – DoxyLover
    Jul 25, 2019 at 18:09
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    Looks like a lazy retrofit (rather than cutting into the drywall and messing with insulation). I'd put a flat ceiling rose over it and mount a simple dome fixture through that.
    – isherwood
    Jul 25, 2019 at 19:03
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    Looks like the wires are loose and they just routed them through the knock out without any conduit. Jul 25, 2019 at 19:26
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    @Platinum Goose wow. i didn't even notice that. I'm not much of a DIYer, but the outer sheathing is supposed to go all the way into the box before separating out the wires, right? I guess I should get an electrician in to check this out.
    – L Fitz
    Jul 25, 2019 at 20:47
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    Yes there should be a fitting on the box to secure it. May be a simple fix if there is enough slack, if you're not comfortable with electric then an electrician is the way to go. Jul 25, 2019 at 20:56

3 Answers 3


...ever seen lights that use this kind of box for hanging?

No, because that box is not made for directly attaching anything to it. The box needs an adapter ring attached to hang a standard fixture (or to mount switches, receptacles, etc.)

By itself that is just a junction box called a "4-S" (for 4" square). Look for a 4-S to 4-O plaster ring.

enter image description here

It goes without saying that it should not be sticking out of the ceiling like that.

  • Actually, protruding/exposed boxes are merely an aesthetic issue :) Code simply cares if the box is set back excessively, due to the potential for sparks to get into the wall and ignite materials there in the set-back case. Jul 27, 2019 at 4:43
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    And yet you did say it ? It should go without saying, that to say something that goes without saying is contrary to the use of the phrase "it goes without saying" Just Saying. :)-
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 9, 2020 at 22:34

There are several problems with this installation already that need to be changed to met NEC, I would say, remove the square box and start fresh. [Make sure the power is off at the breaker before you start] Back in the day when I was in the trade, I had a 3 1/2" dia deep cut hole saw, Electrical supply companies make an "Old Work" ceiling box that will pop right into the hole sawn by the 3 1/2" hole saw with several different anchoring options available. The main thing is to get it securely mounted and the Romex correctly routed and clamped to the new (old work) outlet box. Having the box flush to the finished ceiling level makes fixture installation so much easier and more professional-looking. If you are uncomfortable with this a good Electrician could do this in less than one hour, the cost of a service call and a couple bucks for the box. Good Luck.


Not sure this is appropriate to your situation, but the typical way one hangs a lightweight light fixture on a box, is typically with a crossbar of some sort.

Here is an example of a general purpose fixed one. There are a variety of these type things out there. Often provided with a fixture.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-3-7-8-in-5-in-Adjustable-Cross-Bar-81765/306197046 Comm Electric Adj Cross Bar

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