How many people does it take to change Tom Dixon’s light bulb?



This afternoon my boyfriend and I stopped off for some yummy dinner at Yo! Sushi on Clarendon Street in Dublin. While we were tucking into our tasty plates, I was taking note of a minor design crisis to the left.

What had happened was one of the light bulbs had gone in one of the Tom Dixon Mirror Ball lights. No biggie, it happens. But what I found interesting {to the embarrassment of my boyfriend} was that it took 3 staff members to try to change the bulb. After 20 minutes and countless attempts of trying to get into the light fixture, they all gave up.

I’ve commented on the lights in Yo! Sushi many times, as I am a fan of Tom Dixon. I’m really hoping, for Tom’s sake, that there’s a certain knack to changing the bulbs. I will now save you all from a rambling rant about the lack of a manual which, if the bulbs are that difficult to change, should have been on the premises.

After witnessing the ordeal the staff went through to try to change one light bulb, I can’t help but wonder how practical these specific light fixtures are. Again, I’m hoping for Tom’s sake that there’s a lot less involved in changing the bulbs, and that there’s a trick to it. I’ve never worked with or encountered one of Tom Dixon’s lights up close, but going forward I’ll need to figure one out before I suggest using them in the future, after what I’ve seen today.   They’ve since managed to change the bulb. Or maybe it was easier just to replace the light?

Dear Tom,
I have not yet lost faith.

2021 EDIT: I’ve received so many comments and emails recently about how near-impossible it is to change these lightbulbs so I think I’ve lost most of my faith in these fixtures at this point.

2021 UPDATE: It only took 11 years, but we have a solution! Special thanks to Helen for solving this design mystery:

2022 UPDATE: Another helpful answer from Tom below! Maybe … Tom Himself?


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  1. Louise
    September 23, 2011 / 11:07

    I love this. You've made me feel better! I am currently mid mirror ball crisis with no sign of enlightenment!

  2. February 14, 2021 / 21:25

    I too am trying to change my bulb…but can’t figure it out, almost 10 years after your original post!

    • February 21, 2021 / 11:32

      Hah! That is amusing, however I feel for you. It’s a serious design oversight. I hope you get your beautiful fixture sorted soon.

  3. ray gange
    April 12, 2021 / 13:06

    i posted my travails with this issue today on my social media pages and a friend forwarded this to me, nice to know i wasnt the only struggler. cheers

  4. DL
    April 25, 2021 / 08:41

    I’ve been wanting to upgrade the lightbulbs in my Mirror Ball to LED for YEARS but am too afraid to bc I don’t want to disrupt it. It’s impossible to get the lid back on once you open it!!!

  5. Helen Harris
    July 11, 2021 / 07:24

    Hey – just found this as I was looking for info on how to change the bulb on MY light. Didn’t give up though. Found there’s a little screw on the attachment of the wire to the bulb housing on the top of the ball. Unscrew, arms holding top to ball retract slightly. Voila. Job done.

    • August 17, 2021 / 12:27

      Ah Helen this is excellent, thank you! I’m going to add your comment to my original blog post as I get a lot of people still wondering about how to replace their bulbs, 11 years after my original blog post.

    • Jane
      October 13, 2021 / 02:56

      Hi Helen,
      I still cant work out how to change the bulb! I can slightly unscrew the main top screw, but the ‘plates’ that sit under and over the glass ball dont move aside far enough to access the bulb. Any further tips would be much appreciated!

  6. Tom
    February 26, 2022 / 15:33

    – Undo the Little grub screw on the silver part at the end of the cable
    – Unscrew the That silver but and lift up onto the cable
    – Lift Cover Plate
    – Rotate inner sideways and use the not h for easy removal

    • karim
      September 19, 2022 / 14:39

      Hi tom, how do you access the grub screw? I unscrewed the chrome lamp shade, but because the the light bulb is still screwed in, I can’t access the grub screw ( I can see it)

      Thank you.


  7. J the housewife
    May 10, 2022 / 13:37

    Oh my I’ve been stock with Tom’s mirror ball without a new bulb for over 3 years because I couldn’t figure out how to get into that thing. Not entirely understand Tom’s direction but I will give it another try. Can’t thank you enough for posting this. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who doesn’t know how to do this.
    I’m also in disbelieve that there hasn’t been a YouTube video done on this subject.