How to add an extra pendant light to an existing switch

A quick and easy guide to adding a second pendant light

If a single pendant fitting isn’t giving you enough light, you can always add another controlled by the same switch without too much trouble. The one limiting factor is the number of lighting outlets already powered by the circuit – so don’t risk overloading it.

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Before you start... switch it off

Before starting any electrical work, remember to switch off the mains power at the consumer unit. We recommend purchasing a voltage tester, as they confirm whether circuits are dead and safe to work on. Check all finished work with a voltage tester before using.

For your safety, these products must be installed in accordance with local Building Regulations. If in any doubt, or where required by the law, hire a professional. Further information is available online or from your local authority. Never take risks with electrical safety. Before you start any type of electrical work, follow these safety precautions:

  • Switch off the main power at the consumer unit / fuse box. Isolate the circuit you plan to work on by removing the circuit fuse. Put this in your pocket to avoid losing it.
  • Or switch off the breaker and lock it if you can - put a note on the unit to advise you're working on the circuit.
  • Check the circuit is dead with a socket tester or voltage tester / meter for lighting circuits.
  • Pendants can only support a very lightweight bulb and shade – fittings over 2 kg must be chain supported.
  • Fittings with metal parts must be earthed with a three-core flex unless labelled as double insulated.

Identify your circuit type

Once you have switched the power supply off, your first task is to find out what circuit type you have: junction box or loop-in. With the power turned off, remove your ceiling rose cover. You won’t be able to tell from the design of the rose – instead, you’ll need to count the cables entering it. If there’s only one cable then you have a junction-box wiring; if there are two or three, then you have a loop-in system.

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A single cable entering the rose

This indicates junction-box wiring.

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Two cables entering the rose

This indicates a loop-in circuit. The last rose on the circuit will have one circuit cable plus a switch cable.

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Three cables entering the rose

This indicates loop-in wiring; an intermediate rose on the circuit will have two circuit cables plus a switch cable.

Let's start!

Flex can only support a very lightweight bulb and shade, so fittings over 2 kg must be supported by a chain. Ceiling light fittings with metal parts must be earthed via three-core flex unless they’re labelled as double-insulated.

With junction-box wiring

1. First, double check the circuit is dead.

2. Then cut the feed cable to the original light at a suitable position to install a three-terminal junction box.

3. Run a length of 1 mm² two-core-and-earth cable from there to the new fitting.

With loop-in wiring

1. Double check the power is off.

2. Run a spur cable from the original ceiling rose. This connects its brown core to the same terminal as the switch drop blue core (which should carry a length of brown PVC sleeving to show it can be live) and its blue core to the neutral circuit cores. The earth core goes to the earth terminal.

3. At the new rose, connect the brown core to the terminal marked ‘live’ and the blue core to the terminal marked ‘neutral’.

4. Take the earth core to the earth terminal, covering it in green/yellow sleeving.

5. Connect the live (brown) core of the pendant flex to the live terminal and the neutral (blue) core to the neutral terminal.

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Running a spur from a loop-in rose

With a loop-in system, you can add a spur cable at the original ceiling rose to give power to a second light controlled by the same switch.