How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (2023)

This simple tutorial shows how to add a ceiling light without the expense or hassle of altering existing wiring inside your walls and ceilings.

It’s a perfect solution for renters in old homes- and it’s a great way to add a fun light fixture in a room with harsh lighting (i.e. like many professional offices where fluorescent lighting is the only overhead light source). Keep reading to learn how you can hang a functional ceiling light in this beginner-friendly tutorial.

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (1)

Ceiling Lights in Rooms with No Overhead Electrical Box

In older homes, builders usually didn’t install wiring for an overhead light in common spaces like living rooms. It was fashionable at the time to have lamps warmly lighting a living room. In today’s multi-purpose living room, most people prefer a mix of lighting options. We use lamps for setting a mood and overhead lights to fully illuminate the room on demand.

Hawk Hill’s living room is of the former persuasion. My living room did not have existing wiring for ceiling lights. Instead, I had to walk around and turn on and off multiple lamps. What I really wanted was one switch near the door. While smart plugins offered an alternative, I find it frustrating to have to fumble for my phone just to turn on the lights when I enter a room!

The obvious solution was to call an electrician, but I wasn’t ready to deal with the cost of having an electrician run new wires through Hawk Hill’s 100-year-old plaster and lathe walls.

It took a bit of research and creativity, but I figured out how to have my cake and eat it too. I hung a ceiling light in this room without existing wiring by using the quick DIY method described below.

Combined with a smart switch, I now have the best of both worlds: a mechanical switch on the wall and an app-controlled overhead light! – All without needing to call in an expert.

Now, when the wall switch is flipped in Hawk Hill’s living room, a chandelier and lamp both switch on and brightly illuminate the room. Thrilled with the results for a few months now, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share the instructions for installing a wireless switch for illuminating your own lair of darkness.

(Video) How To Install a Chandelier

How to Hang a Chandelier in a Room without Ceiling Light Wiring:

Supply List:

Step 1: Choose a Ceiling Light Fixture:

I picked a chandelier (of course!) but any light fixture designed to hang should work (i.e. a modified pendant or drum shade style fixture should work).

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (2)

Step 2. Convert wiring connection

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (3)

I already have a popular blog post on how to convert a light fixture to a plug-in style lamp, but for optimal safety, you’ll want to convert this light fixture a bit differently from that method.

Since you’ll need a long cord to reach from ceiling to outlet, you’ll actually need to splice the wires of the light fixture to the male end of a heavy-duty extension cord. An electrician can help you with this project, or you can consult an expert guide (which I am not!) on how to splice electrical wires and cords.

(Video) Install Pendant Lighting

As you can see in the photo above, heat shrink tubes make it easy to splice wiring for a smooth, safe, single cord.

Step 3. Install a Sturdy ceiling hook

You’ll need to install a hook on your ceiling for your new light. Because light fixtures can be heavy and especially dangerous if they fall, it’s very very important that you use a good quality hook and anchor it to a ceiling joist or beam. I like the easy install heavy duty ceiling hook I linked above.

Ceiling joists are basically just like wall studs, but in the ceiling. You can find and mount things to a joist just like you would for a wall stud. Any stud finder can help you locate a joist to install a hook for your light.

If you can’t find a stud or there isn’t a stud where you want your light,ceiling hooks with “toggle wings” should be able to hold any light fixture under 20 lbs if installed properly on plaster and lathe or drywall.

Step 4. Hide or Disguise the Cord

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (4)

Once you have your light rewired and ceiling hook installed, installation can be as simple as just hanging the light fixture, however, I prefer to put some thought into how to mask or cover the cord. With your light hanging from the ceiling, the cord will be very visible. For this project, I chose a Velcro-On Chandelier Cord Cover to make my extension cord a bit less of an eyesore.

Option #2 for hiding the cord: use one of the amazing extension cords disguised as manila rope available from Haddock Industrial.

Conceal Remaining Cord

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Next, you’ll want to put some thought into how your cord will be disguised as it runs down your wall and to an outlet. Can you conceal it behind window molding? Tuck it around a picture frame? The exposed section of my cord is painted Wythe Blue to match the walls.

🎨💡🔌 You may wish to paint your extension cord to help it blend in. To easily paint a cord, just place a plastic sandwich bag over your hand, place an old sock over the plastic bag, and then place a few tablespoons of paint in your gloved palm. You can paint an extension cord in moments by pulling the cord through your paint-filled mitt.

Step 5. Adding & Setting up a Wireless Switch

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (6)

By step five, you’ll have a ceiling-mounted light in your formerly lamp-lit room, but you’ll be limited to turning the new overhead light on and off by plugging it in and unplugging it. To add an easy wall switch, I scoured Amazon and found this gem (which I now have 3 of, around the house!): Westek RFK100LC/RFK101LC Wall Mounted Switch and Plug-in Receiver (linked above).

This product comes in two parts: a wireless switch (basically, a remote control) that you attach to your wall, and a remotely-controlled outlet which turns the light on or off according to the signal sent by the wireless switch.

Smartphone Control: For control from a smartphone, use a smart power strip instead of (or in addition to) the switch.

Here are a few views of how the setup works in my living room to control two lights. First, the zoomed out view:

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(Video) How To Install An Iron Hill Pendant

Here’s a more detailed view of the setup:

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (8)


And here’s a panorama of the room without furniture, scrunched up so you can see the entire setup:

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (9)

I still consider my living room a work in progress (those couches were out the next week! yikes!), but love how it’s coming together. Here are a few work-in-progress shots.

How to Hang a Chandelier without Ceiling Light Wiring | Hawk Hill (10)

Summer 2022 Update: Using this method for auxiliary lighting

In 2015 I made the big plunge into tiny living, and two chandeliers made it past the “love-inventory” and were packed into my downsized life. Although my 280 square foot apartment in downtown Seattle had overhead lighting, it never seemed bright enough to push back the gloom of Seattle winter enough to work on the art, craft, and DIY projects that I love.

So I hung a chandelier in my apartment and repeated this method once again, this time with one change: instead of mounting the wireless remote as a light switch, I hung it with velcro-style command strips. This allows me to carry the remote to bed with me on nights I want the room fully lit as I get ready for bed, and turn the light off- without getting up- when I’m ready for bed. This has been such a small luxury- and such a delight to settle into bed with a book by the warm light of a chandelier.

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FAQs

Can you hang a chandelier on a sloped ceiling? ›

A chandelier does not need to be at the center of the ceiling to hang correctly. Chandeliers on chains can be installed on a slope because gravity will help the chains hang straight naturally.

Can you put up a chandelier without wiring? ›

If you have an outlet and you can screw a hook into your ceiling, you can have a chandelier or a pendant light anywhere. These plug-in lights swag chandeliers and plug-in pendant lights are a really easy way to add overhead light.

How do you find the angle of a sloped ceiling? ›

Calculate the angle formed between the bottom line and the sloped line on the right, using the protractor. Place the center point of the protractor on the endpoint on the right side of the bottom line and see where the sloped line lines up on the protractor. This is the angle of your ceiling's pitch.

How do you hang lights on a ceiling sloping? ›

Pendant lights and ceiling fans that use downrods can be modified to hang straight from a sloped ceiling by installing a sloped ceiling adapter. The adapters are designed to be used with some of the light's original hanging hardware and are typically installed between the canopy and the downrod.

How do you hang a chandelier without electricity? ›

Install a Sturdy ceiling hook

Because light fixtures can be heavy and especially dangerous if they fall, it's very very important that you use a good quality hook and anchor it to a ceiling joist or beam. I like the easy install heavy duty ceiling hook I linked above.

Can you hang a ceiling light without existing wiring? ›

Installing plug-in lights does not need existing electrical wires, you can do it as long as you have an electrical outlet and can install a hook in the ceiling joists wherever you need to fix the lights. The hook is just to hold the fixture in place.

Why do older homes not have ceiling lights? ›

Simple answer. The National Electric Code did not require ceiling lights in living rooms so many builders opted to save the few dollars by not putting lights and their associated wiring in to any room not required to have lights.

How can I add light to a room with no light? ›

The most effective way to light a room with no overhead lights is by using a range of different types of lighting. From wall lights and sconces, to floor lamps and table lamps, by combining multiple light sources you can provide plenty of practical light while also creating depth and atmosphere.

What is a flush mount? ›

Flush mount lighting sits directly against the ceiling and shines light downward. Because there's no space between the ceiling and the light itself, flush mount lights are ideal in rooms with shorter ceilings and for keeping dust and debris away from the bulb and shade.

What is a sloped ceiling called? ›

While in traditional architectural design, the term “vaulted ceiling” originally referred to ceilings with a self-supporting arch, it is now often used to describe any angled, high ceiling.

How do I work out the angle of a slope? ›

Angle of slope represents the angle that's formed between the run (remember it's an idealized flat surface that ignores elevation change) and your climb's angular deviation from that idealized flat surface. To calculate this, you divide the rise divided by the run, and then obtain the inverse tangent of the result.

What is the minimum height for a sloped ceiling? ›

For rooms with sloped ceilings, the required floor area of the room shall have a ceiling height of not less than 5 feet (1524 mm) and not less than 50 percent of the required floor area shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).

What is the best lighting for a sloped ceiling? ›

Recessed lighting is an ideal solution to provide lighting in rooms with sloped ceilings. It allows you to maintain the open feeling that a room with a vaulted ceiling has, and doesn't interfere with the architectural lines.

How do you light a high raked ceiling? ›

Lighting shed/angled ceilings

If you have an angled ceiling, it's best to opt for adjustable downlights if you're heading down the minimal path. Alternatively, if your ceilings are high enough you may like to look at installing a pendant.

Do I need a sloped ceiling adapter? ›

Many ceiling fans are designed to fit sloped ceilings with angles, also known as a pitch, up to 15 to sometimes 45 degrees. However, if your ceiling has a pitch greater than the slope your desired ceiling fan's in-box mounting kit works with, you will need a sloped ceiling adapter for a proper and secure installation.

How do I get cables through my ceiling? ›

If you need to pull a new length of cable through a ceiling or floor void or down a wall, using electricians fishing tape is one of the best, quickest and most cost effective ways of doing this as the only other alternative is really just to rip the floor up or wall down and this is a huge amount of work and expense.

How do I extend the wire in my ceiling? ›

Extending a wiring circuit gives you more freedom to choose where to place light fixtures or a ceiling fan.
...
  1. Turn Off the Power. ...
  2. Remove Existing Fixture or Junction Box. ...
  3. Install New Cable and Box. ...
  4. Strip the Wires. ...
  5. Connect Wires. ...
  6. Cover the Box and Turn On The Power.
29 Apr 2022

What is the easiest way to run a wire through a wall? ›

Drill Two Holes to Turn a Corner

Running wire around corners isn't as hard as it seems; the key is to cut holes on each side of the corner. With a spade bit in an angle drill, or an angle attachment, drill a hole in each of the corner studs. This will give you a path to pull wire through.

How do you make a light work without electricity? ›

Oil lamps are another good option for lighting your home without electricity. They can be fueled with kerosene, lamp oil, olive oil, and even animal fat. You must be careful to have a room well ventilated when burning kerosene due to the strong odors it puts off, which isn't always practical when it's cold outside.

Can you install a light fixture without an electrical box? ›

For example, if you have a light fixture that doesn't need a box for mounting, but the wiring connections are not protected by some kind of cover, then you can't use the fixture without a junction box. Or, if a fixture meets all of the criteria of a box but lacks a cable clamp, don't use it without a box.

Do all chandeliers have ground wire? ›

Chandelier made up of 100% plastic or 100% glass does not need to be grounded. If glass or plastic chandeliers have metal parts within, then one should ground that fixture as metal might be connected with the faulty wiring. Metal, wood as well ceramic chandeliers should always be grounded.

How do you cover exposed electrical wires? ›

Stick electrical tape over the exposed wire and wrap it around once. Peel up the end of the tape from a roll of electrical tape and center it over the area of the cable with the exposed wire. Press it down on top of the exposed section and wrap it tightly around the damaged area 1 full revolution.

How do you hide wires to stick to the wall? ›

Use a Wall Cord Raceway Kit

This type of raceway usually has an adhesive backing, so you can stick it to your wall without damaging it. Then you can hide your TV wires and other cables inside it before snapping the cover on.

How much does it cost to install a light fixture without existing wiring? ›

Most electricians charge between $35 and $100 per hour, and it takes an average of two hours to install a light fixture, so you're probably looking at a cost of $70 to $200 to finish the job.

How much does it cost to install a ceiling light without an existing wire? ›

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ceiling Light?
  1. Average installation cost: $85.
  2. Installation with existing wiring: $30-$100.
  3. Installation without existing wiring: $85-$220+
  4. Average materials cost: $240.
29 Sept 2021

How much does it cost for an electrician to install a ceiling light? ›

Ceiling Lights

The cost of ceiling light installation is typically between $180 to $460, but it can cost as little as $75 or as much as $1,200. This job takes an electrician one to two hours per fixture, and you can cut down costs by using an inexpensive ceiling light.

Why do apartments not put lights in bedrooms? ›

Apartment ceiling lights are not required by the building codes regulated by the government. Therefore, engineers and architects often exclude permanent ceiling fixtures in the design to save the building owner money.

Are Wall lights out dated? ›

Wall lights might not be the headliner of many trend setting homes but they are very much still here, stylish and suitable for a variety of home decor styles. Wall lights come in a variety of different styles to suit your home decor style as well as being suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Why were ceilings so high in old houses? ›

Because it was (sometimes) more efficient. In warmer climates, with no A/C systems, a high ceiling allowed hot air to rise, leaving a (slightly) colder one at the people level. It was specially useful for the last story of the buildings to provide insulation from the heat radiating from the ceilings.

What can I use instead of light? ›

  • flash,
  • glimmer,
  • glint,
  • glitter,
  • scintillation,
  • shimmer,
  • sparkle,
  • twinkle.

How can I increase my indoor light naturally? ›

Ways to increase natural light in your home
  1. Install larger windows or glass sliding doors.
  2. Add more mirrors and reflective objects.
  3. Paint walls with lighter colours (nothing beats white)
  4. Replace heavy drapes with transparent curtains or white shutters.
  5. Swap dark timber furniture for lighter pieces.
30 Aug 2019

What are two things designers can do to maximize natural light? ›

Applying white paint on interior window frames is an easy way to amplify the sunlight streaming in. For the home's walls, choosing a lighter palette goes a long way for brightening the space naturally, as lighter shades reflect light better.

What lighting makes a room look bigger? ›

Every small room will look larger when it's well lit, whether naturally or artificially. Therefore bright light is the best for 'how to make a small room look bigger with lighting' as it will open up a space.

Can you put a flush mount light on a sloped ceiling? ›

Flush mount lighting is lighting that installs directly against the ceiling. While you can use this kind of lighting for a sloped ceiling, it's usually not be the best choice because sloped ceilings tend to be taller than normal, and this kind of lighting is most effective on low ceilings.

Which is better flush mount or downrod? ›

Flush Mount: Use this option in rooms with low ceilings where a low profile is wanted or required. These ceiling fans are mounted flush to the ceiling, with no extra attachment. Downrod Mount: This option is made for rooms with high ceilings, typically 8 feet or higher.

What is the difference between surface mount and flush mount? ›

Differences between the two styles:

The surface mount series and flush mount series are exactly the same with one exception. The surface mounts' top has a rounded edge, and the flush mounts' top has a straight edge.

How can I add more light without wiring? ›

There are plenty of ideas for lighting without wiring that can change the look and feel of your living space with ease.
  1. Light bulbs and Lampshades. Start with something simple, like changing out your light bulbs or even your lampshades. ...
  2. Plug-in pendant lights. ...
  3. Plug-in wall sconces. ...
  4. Wireless LED motion sensor lights.

How do I install lights without a ceiling? ›

Use Plug-in Wall Sconces for Room without Ceiling Lights

Plug-in wall sconces give out enough light to brighten up the rooms with no overhead lighting. They require installation however, it is quite simple and does not require wiring like ceiling lights.

How can I add light to a room without attic access? ›

Cutting a hole in your wall will help you install the housing and wiring if you don't have access to an attic. If you can't get to the joist spaces, then you will need to remove about 12 to 16 inches of drywall from your ceiling with a hand-held drywall saw. Your joists should be in your lighting design plan.

What kind of light can you put on a slanted ceiling? ›

You'll need to specifically use a recessed light fixture designed for sloped ceilings to make sure the beam of light shines in the correct direction. A recessed light designed for flat ceilings would shine in your eyes.

Can you hang a chandelier on a vaulted ceiling? ›

Sloped and vaulted ceilings are angled which affects how a chandelier hangs. Chandelier with chains are easy to install because gravity will take control, allowing the movable chains to naturally hang straight. Be sure to place your chain or cord inside a junction box.

What is the difference between a sloped ceiling and a vaulted ceiling? ›

While a cathedral ceiling has equal sloping sides that are parallel to the actual pitch of the roof, a vaulted ceiling does not follow the roof's pitch, with more styles to choose from.

What is it called when a room has a slanted ceiling? ›

This house style is famous for its sharply pitched roof, so as a result, many rooms on upper floors have slanted ceilings. According to House Beautiful, a sloped ceiling is sometimes called a vaulted ceiling in modern construction.

Can a chandelier be too heavy for ceiling? ›

Will It Need Special Support? Most chandeliers are heavier than other light fixtures, and chandeliers with crystals can be particularly heavy. If the chandelier you want weighs more than 15 pounds, you'll need to install a special electrical box, just as you would if you were going to install a ceiling fan.

What holds a chandelier to the ceiling? ›

The ceiling box, commonly called an electrical box, holds a room's light fixture or a ceiling fan and any connected wiring. It is securely attached to a joist or wood block. Most ceiling boxes can hold 50 pounds to 75 pounds, so make sure the box is rated to support your chandelier fixture.

How do you make a sloped ceiling look higher? ›

A vital component to making a room with slanted ceilings feel bigger is light. Take advantage of natural light by hanging sheer curtains, or curtains made of light-colored fabrics on windows that allow sunlight through. Hang mirrors to reflect light and make the space look larger.

What should I put against a slanted wall? ›

Contrasting Colours. One way to ease the disparity of a slanted wall is to do colour blocking in contrasting colours. You could do stripes, or geometric patterns or even blend the colours from one into the next. It may serve to accentuate the wall and make the room feel less closed in by the slant.

Can you turn a regular ceiling into a vaulted ceiling? ›

If your home is a modest-size, single-story tract home with standard, 8-foot ceilings, it's an ideal candidate for vaulting a ceiling. Depending on how steep your roof pitch is, vaulting a 20-by-20-foot room creates a new ceiling that's 11 to 12 feet high at its peak. The price isn't low, though.

What is a raked ceiling? ›

Raked or vaulted ceilings are an incline ceiling, where the roofline soars upwards to merge at a single point. Unlike your usual 'flat ceiling', raked ceilings make use of the unused space above you and provide additional height to select rooms in your home.

How expensive is it to vault a ceiling? ›

The cost to vault a ceiling can range anywhere between $10,000 to $25,000 depending on if electrical and/or HVAC needs to be moved, or if additional support is needed for the roof's structure.

Videos

1. How to Put up a Chandelier
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2. Recessed Lighting Install with No Attic or Prior Wiring
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3. How to Install a Ceiling Light Fixture Step by Step
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4. Super Simple & Affordable Way to Add a Light in Any Area - Without Wiring or Electricity
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5. Recessed Light Converter Chandelier - How to install
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6. DIY Install LED Shop Lights
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