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Chandelier/Ceiling Light but no fixture? Answered

I recently bought a 50s house and there is no light fixture for the living room or the den and the venting makes it difficult for someone to come in and install wiring. So... does anyone have a good DIY lighting idea where I could hang a big light and run the cord along the ceiling/wall to plug it in?



7 years ago

 Have you decided what kind of style you want? If you have that "shabby chic" look--or even a post-traditional look, I see a lot of fabric-covered wires (with the latter, it would be a solid, silky fabric--similar to a poly- or acetate- satiny coat lining), though I don't particularly care for the look.

A swag chain along he wiring would be great--but you mentioned the distance to the wall is significant, so it's probably not an option you want to consider.

If you are handy, you might consider hiding the wiring across the ceiling and down the wall. Here's a couple of ways to do this:

Requires some skill with drywall patching:

1) First, ensure the wire to the fixture is long enough to run across the ceiling and down the wall, + about 4"-6" from the wall-socket, plus two extra inches if you have to custom-install the electrical plug at the bottom of the electrical wiring (this is very easy. You can get them at the hardware store, and they offer you the option of cutting the electrical wire, rather than have any excess sloppily hanging about somewhere).

2) Cut a shallow trench along your drywall from the light fixture, across the ceiling and down the area joining the ceiling and wall, directly in line with the wall-socket.  

Cut it the  deep enough to run your wiring through, and also wide enough to allow for heavy-duty staples to secure the wiring flat in the trench . End it at the top of the wall-socket.

3) Next, run the wiring along the groove, using heavy-duty staples about 1/4"-3/8" to secure the wiring flat inside the trench. The last staple should be placed about 1" above the wall-socket. Leave about 6-8" of wiring before the plug, so you can easily plug it in. If you have to add a custom plug at the end of the wire (very easy to do--they sell them at hardware stores and contain clear, easy directions), you need to leave an extra 2" from the end.

4) Patch the trench using a non-cracking, paintable spackling or window-flashing compound (usually, a vinyl- or polymer-based one), or a paintable silicone caulk such as DowCorning 795 or Novaflex (HIGHLY recommend the Nova-flex, particularly this one: http://www.novagard.net/images/techspec/APP.pdf

Do this in 2-3 layers, allowing the each to dry completely before applying the subsequent layer. With the last layer, use a flat-edged spackling trowel, to ensure you get a flat surface that is flush with your wall.

You probably want to do this in sections, ensuring you end each section tapered not-quite to the surface of the wall, so that when you do the next section, you can fill in the rest of that space to create a seamless and non-cracking line.

With every section, be sure to a) trowel it completely flat and deep as the wall surface, and b) with a damp rag, wipe the surface of the wall outside the trench to remove any excess caulk or spackling.

5) End at the last staple, then underneath the protruding wire if necessary.

6) Allow to dry completely (I actually recommend leaving it to dry a week or so), then paint.

Requires much less skill:

1) Follow steps 1-3 as above.

2) Instead of patching the trench, cut pieces of wood or vinyl moulding wide enough to hide the trench, long enough to run the length of the ceiling and wall, and shallow enough to not protrude beyond the baseboard or even socket-plate (depending on where you choose to end it), unless you have a compound miter-saw and want to cut the bottom end at a 20 degree or so down-sloping angle.  I also recommend cutting the pieces of moulding at the ceiling-wall joint using a compound miter-saw; cut the end of each 45 degrees at end, from the length of the width of the drywall.  Does that make sense?  This will give you a nice, quality corner-fitting. 

3) Run it to the electrical socket, then (optionally) finish off below the wall-socket to the baseboard. Cut a half-round groove at the end of the moulding, to accomodate the wire. Sand well and, if painting it, prime the moulding. You could paint it to match the wall (preferable) or a contrasting color or even, if it's wood, stain it.

I also recommend, for symmetry, cutting another piece of moulding to place the same distance from the opposite end of the wall, but run it to the baseboard.

Hope this helps!  Will you let us know how you chose to tackle it? And maybe even post some pictures!


If you are going to go to all that trouble, why not just cut through the drywall and mount a fixture and run the romex to install the light correctly. and to code. Also would be worth installing bracing in the ceiling for a future ceiling fan.

Sure, but most people don't have the patience or the skill to install wiring to code. With a pre-wired lamp, you can still trench out an area for the cord (or otherwise conceal it) and use a pre-wired socket.

Personally, I know how to do wiring. I'd assume many people here might not know how, and coding varies from state to state. Working with electricity can be intimidating to many, so I can appreciate someone not feeling capable of making permanent, hard-wired changes to their electrical system. This is just a more "custom-looking" alternative.

Wow... That's a lot of info!! I feel bad you typed all that. I ended up just getting a big paper lantern and hung it in one corner

Lol no worries! Maybe it will help someone else. I just do a lot of home upgrades/repairs, so I've had a number of challenges to deal with myself. Glad you found a solution that works for you! Cheers.

make the cord a decorative item. wrap the cord in something you don't mind looking at and drape it in an interesting way.

or you could make an interesting light fixture that would make the cord make more sense. my wife is wanting me to make a "pulley lamp" (i'm not sure what you'd actually call the damned thing but it's a more antique looking one of these ) where you basically hang a pulley from the ceiling, then run the cord of a simple lamp kit (with an interesting bulb hopefully) through it. you could wrap the cord in rope (like take the core out of a sheathed rope and run the cord through the sheating maybe?) or something.

A surface mounted electrical raceway such as Wiremold is often used in applications where the electrical boxes and wiring cannot be concealed within walls and ceilings. This product is a 2 piece raceway or conduit that is attached to the ceiling and or walls that will conceal the wiring. It comes in several colors and is UL approved for this application. This is what is most often used in historic rennovations to avoid damaging plaster walls, decorative trim, and textures ceilings.


what are swag lamps? Please keep in mind that this is a large living room, so running a lot of cords across the ceiling isn't gonna be very pretty. If I could do one or two, that could work.

. Click the link I provided. You can get decorative cord and chains.

Oh, sorry! I didn't realize it was a link.