How To Paint Light Fixtures (DIY With & Without Removal)

Learning how to paint light fixtures can be a great way to transform your space from drab to fab in no time.

But knowing how to get started, what you can and cannot do, and the correct procedure to follow can be tricky - so we have put together everything you need to know about how to paint light fixtures. Read on to be inspired! 

Painting your light fixtures offers a fast and easy way to totally transform the entire vibe of your room without breaking the budget.

However, you may be wondering if it is safe to spray paint a light fixture, or is this an activity to be avoided? The simple response to can you paint light fixtures is a resounding yes - this is a fairly simple task, as long as you remember a few basics. 

The good news is that almost any light fixtures can be sprayed - and in most cases, you can even spray paint light fixtures without removing them from the ceiling to make the task even easier. You are also free to paint almost any type of light fixture. 

So if you are wondering how to paint a metal light fixture, how to paint over a metal light fixture, curious about how to paint outdoor light fixtures, or have questions about painting glass light fixtures, then you will be pleased to know that all of these surfaces can be painted and upgraded as you wish.

You will just need to take care to stay safe and follow the required processes while completing your project. 

Painted Light Fixture

Tools, Supplies & Safety Gear Needed For The Job

One of the most important considerations to bear in mind when updating light fixtures is keeping yourself safe, which means having the right tools on hand. There are a few must-haves that you will need to collect before painting a light fixture, and these include: 

  • Spray paint for your light - this will depend on the material that you choose. Remember that you will need to choose a heat resistant paint for light fixtures.
  • Sandpaper 
  • Painters tape 
  • Screwdriver (if you plan to take the light fixture off the wall) 
  • Voltage detector 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Safety gear for the painter - this can include goggles or glasses to protect your eyes, gloves, and rubber shoes. 
  • Stepladder to reach the light 
  • New bulbs, if desired 

It is important to collect all of the tools that you need before starting, to ensure that you have them to hand for ease and convenience. 

How To Paint Light Fixtures After Taking Them Down

There are two options when it comes to painting your light fixtures: you can leave them up or take them down. We will cover both options, starting with taking down your light fixtures, and this requires just a few simple steps: 

1. Turn Off The Electricity 

The most important thing to ensure is that you turn off the electricity before you paint light fixtures, whether you are leaving them up or taking them down - if you skip this step, you could end up with a nasty electric shock! 

2. Remove The Light Fitting 

Next, use the screwdriver to remove the light fixture from the ceiling - this usually has a few screws and, depending on how new it is, should be fairly easy to take down.

However, if this is the first time you have removed the light fitting, or it has been a while, you may find this step a struggle. In the worst case, you could bring down plaster and paintwork, and may need to sand and possibly repaint the ceiling before you reattach the fixture. 

3. Clean The Light Fixture 

Once you have your light fixture down in front of you, it is time to give it a good clean. You can use rubbing alcohol to wipe over the surface of the light fixture to prepare it and make sure it is clean and neat - this will help the paint to adhere. 

4. Add The Tape 

The next step is to add tape to the places you do not want to paint - use painters’ tape to block these off. 

5. Sand the Light Fixture 

Now, go over the surface of the light fitting with the sandpaper - don’t worry too much about scratching the surface, as these will be painted over. 

6. Choose Your Paint 

The next stage is to choose the paint you want to use. We have established that the answer to “can you paint a light fixture?” is a resounding yes, but you may be wondering - can you spray paint a light fixture?

The answer here is once again yes; you can use both spray paint and brush paint, such as chalk paint, to revamp your light fitting - the most important thing to establish is that you use heat resistant paint. 

7. Allow The Paint To Dry 

It is important that you allow the paint to dry completely before reattaching the light fixture - try and leave it somewhere well ventilated. 

8. Reassemble The Light Fixture 

Once the light fixture is dry, you can reattach it to the ceiling, turn on the electricity, and then sit back and enjoy your stunning new look! 

Painted Lamps

How To Paint Light Fixtures Safely Without Taking Them Down

In some cases, taking the light fixtures down to paint them may not be possible - you may lack confidence in your DIY skills, not have the time, effort or resources to remove the light, or you may be living in a rented home, and worried about the risk of taking things down. 

If any of these are the case - or you just can't be bothered to take the fixture down - then all is not lost; you can also learn how to paint a light fixture without taking it down in just a few simple steps. 

1. Turn Off The Electricity 

As before, you need to ensure that you turn off the power before painting light fixture models of any type - and this is particularly important if you are not taking them down, as you are likely to have increased contact with the current and with the power. 

2. Remove Any Shades 

Remove any shades from the light fixture, and set these aside somewhere safe. 

3. Loosen The Fixture 

Use the screwdriver to loosen the light fixture just a little bit - this will allow you to place tape underneath and around the bottom of the fixture to prevent the paint from getting on the ceiling.

When you remove the fixture, this could cause a little damage if you have never removed the light fixture before, so be prepared for this. 

4. Protect the Ceiling 

You can also choose to tape sheeting or covers across the ceiling around the outside of the light fixture if you are worried about making a mess - just make sure that the edges are neat and sharp so that you paint all of the light fixture. 

5. Choose Your Paint 

Just as before, you will need to choose the right type of paint for your needs; both spray and brush paint can be used here, though spray paint is likely to be easier if you are not removing the fixture, as this is less delicate and intricate.

If you are using spray paint, take extra care to protect the ceiling around the light. 

6. Spray The Light Fixture 

Once everything is in place, you can spray paint the light fixture with spray paint or use the brush to apply your chosen paint. Leave it to dry completely before using the light again. 

7. Remove The Tape 

Once the fixture is dry, remove the tape and reattach the fixture to the ceiling. 

8. Turn The Power Back On 

When everything is done, turn the power back on and enjoy your stylish new fixture! 

Different fixtures will have different requirements, and you may be wondering how to paint outdoor light fixtures without taking it down?

The process for this is almost identical to the steps above, with two main differences: you will need to remove any rust before you apply the paint, and use both a primer and a sealant to make sure that the paint stays in place. 

This extra step will also be necessary if you are painting bathroom light fixtures. 

Can of Spray Paint

Painting Light Fixture FAQs 

What is the best heat resistant paint for light fixtures? 

Any paint that you choose for light fixtures must be heat resistant, so it is imperative that you double-check the product you select to ensure that it meets this criteria. Brands such as Rust-Oleum and Martha Stuart tend to rank highly in these areas. 

How long does it take for paint to dry on light fixtures? 

As a rule, you should wait for around 24 hours after painting your light fixture for it to be fully dry. While it may seem ok to touch before this, we recommend waiting for the full period to be sure that the paint is totally set and ready. 

How long before you can use the light after painting it? 

As mentioned, it is best to wait for 24 hours between painting the light and turning it on for the first time - this will ensure that the paint is completely dry and set. 


Painting your light fixtures is a great way to transform your space and add a new lease of life to any home without breaking the bank or experiencing the drama of a total revamp. With our top tips, you will have stunning new light fittings in no time!