I am new to the forum and this is my first major project.

I am looking for some help for adding a vanity light above my sink, and wiring it to the existing switch that controls the ceiling light so that both the vanity and ceiling light turn on at the same time.

I know that i need to run some cable and mount the vanity light.

My question is about how to wire the vanity light to the existing outlet/switch receptacle.


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  • 4
    You get points for taking pictures before you disconnect everything, which is what we usually get.
    – JACK
    Mar 27, 2020 at 21:39
  • It seems to be dangerous, because the 2 bare copper wires for Ground could come near to the hot screws with the dirty surroundings. If the outlet and switch are pushed back into the blue box, the bending of the Ground wires can not be completely controlled. They could act like a spring and touch the dirty parts close to hot metal parts and could start to let flow some leakage current, which could become bigger depending on vibrations, moisture levels, temperature etc. finally starting a fire? Is there always a mandatory panel GFCI and/or AFCI with this type of wiring to avoid that danger?
    – xeeka
    Mar 28, 2020 at 12:38

2 Answers 2


You're pretty close to color-coded here, so I'd get some colored tape and mark stuff up.

The cluster of 4 hots on the wire-nut is all always-hot. It comes from supply, goes onward to some other outlet, and then there are two pigtails going to the 2 switches. I like black for always-hot, but it's not mandatory. I would change that red pigtail out for black, merely for OCD reasons.

The other wire on the existing switch is switched-hot to the existing lamp, and red is preferred for switched-hot, so recolor that wire red.

When you bring your cable down from your new lamp, also mark that hot wire red, since you want it switched also.

Now, you just join up all like colors. Note that you can't put 2 wires on that kind of switch, so you'll need to pigtail that also, with another wire nut. And look! You just freed up a red pigtail, how convenient!

Also, that switch uses backstab connections. Firmly pull while twisting those wires out of the backstabs, then never use backstabs. Shaping a J-hook and using the screw terminals is harder, but 10 times more reliable if you take the time to learn it. Backstabs are notorious for failing "open" and creating puzzling wiring problems that are very hard for novices to troubleshoot. Those problems get posted here every day.

Lastly, you can get a "double switch" that fits in the single gang, which would allow you to switch the two lights independently. Then you put always-hot/black on the common (typically black) and then a switched-hot/red on each of the screws on the other side (typically brass colored).

P.S. Note how the warning tape has been left alone on the GFCI receptacle. That is correct. That is how every GFCI install should look (except when the installer actively intends to extend GFCI protection to additional points on the circuit).

  • thanks for your response. so you are basically saying that the red wire should be black, and the black in the existing switch should be red? Apr 1, 2020 at 20:52
  • @luisenriqueguzman Yeah, it's not legally mandatory, but it'll help a great deal. Apr 1, 2020 at 21:12

You're going to run a new 14/2 (plus ground) cable* down from the light and connect it to the same points as your current light's cable:

  • The white wire goes to the bundle of whites
  • The black wire goes to the screw on the switch that has the black wire now
  • The bare ground connects to the ground bundle

It looks like that switch can accept multiple wires under its clamp. If that's the case, you're golden. If not, remove the black wire and bundle it, the new black wire, and a 6" pigtail in a nut, then connect the pigtail to the switch.

Good luck. If you haven't already done some reading on basic house wiring, please do. There's a right and a wrong way to do even simple things, and your safety is at risk.

*It looks like you have #14 wire now, even though modern code calls for #12 wire on a 20A circuit. If I'm wrong, match what's there.

  • Yeah, until recently all Romex was white. Mar 27, 2020 at 21:48
  • 2
    Why not just connect it to the existing fixture? Routing the cable might be easier than connecting to the switch box. Both fixtures are to be controlled by the same switch, so I see no reason to get into the wall and connect there. Mar 27, 2020 at 22:02
  • 1
    @GeorgeAnderson This would be a better comment for the OP. His question was how to wire the new light to the existing outlet/switch receptacle. Stay safe out there.
    – JACK
    Mar 28, 2020 at 0:31

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