I am trying to replace an ceiling light fixture on my rental apartment with a new fixture from IKEA and I am confused about how to wire things now.

When I removed the existing/previous fixture I discovered that all 3 cables in the box were white, so was careful to mark the "black" cable with painter's tape:

wires in box

(tap here to see full picture)

Here's an image showcasing how things were wired before:


(tap here to see full picture)

At this point I am a bit confused with how to wire everything together:

IKEA + Box

(tap here to see full picture)

Do I wire the two whites back as they were before? What should I do with the ground cable ?

Please let me know if you need any more information on my end to help with this.


  • The images do open a new view when tapped, but it's not bigger, and it's hard to tell what's going on at the size and cropping they are now. Try again?
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 20, 2022 at 18:45
  • Hey @Ecnerwal I added links below each image to open them in imgur. I could not find how to setup the images to open the actual fullsized image with markdown.
    – dornad
    Feb 20, 2022 at 18:49
  • There is a way, but it's overly complicated. ;-)
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 20, 2022 at 18:53
  • ...and poorly documented, when I go to look for documentation for it. Got your basic vanilla "put up a picture" post on Meta (which does not dicsuss that trick at all) and nothing else.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 20, 2022 at 19:08
  • 1
    If you're renting and in the US, I don't think you're allowed to do electrical work like this. If you're the landlord, you're not allowed to do it, either.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 20, 2022 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


The previous fixture worked.

The black goes to the wire you removed from the black on the previous fixture.

The white goes to the (3, evidently) white wires you removed from the previous fixture.

The ground:

You appear to have a metal box up above that hole in the ceiling.

If so, it should have a threaded hole which you can attach a ground screw to. It's a bit hard to infer what's going on in there. Alternatively, you can use a grounding clip to the exposed edge of the box.

Grounding clip image from supplyhouse.come, no endorsement implied.

  • Thank you! I am a bit confused about what to do with the ground wire. Is it a fire hazard if I just insulate it with electrical tape and leave it disconnected ? Or should I just get an electrician to take a look at this ?
    – dornad
    Feb 20, 2022 at 19:13
  • Obviously your previous fixture either wasn't grounded or was only grounded by the screws, assuming the screws go into the junction box (a bit unclear since there seems to be quite a lot of plaster in between the junction box and the fixture.) Connect your ground lead to the metal box using either a screw into the small threaded hole it should have, or a clip onto the edge of it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 20, 2022 at 19:38
  • @dornad assuming the mounting screws actually go into the metal box, the fixture base should ground via the mounting screws. You only need a separate ground wire if power comes down a chain or something non-metallic. Feb 21, 2022 at 2:09

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