How to Get Overhead Lighting Without Wiring

Is it possible to get overhead lighting without hard wiring? Many apartments and older homes don’t have enough overhead lighting this can be a hard problem to solve cheaply. It is expensive to have an electrician add ceiling lights and you might not even be allowed to if you’re renting. There is a more creative solution to your lack of lighting.

There are ways to get overhead light without adding electrical wiring. If you don’t own your home, or you have a tight budget you have to get more creative with lighting because you can’t change what’s there. There ARE ways to add new light. beyond table lamps. If a room doesn’t have enough overhead light I have four ways to add a light source that FEEL more like overhead lights.

1. Use Plug In fixtures For Overhead Light

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. All you need to use one of these is a hook that you screw into your ceiling.

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  • This plug in pendant (not technically a chandelier) comes in 10 different colors. ‘
  • Bronze plug in (comes in two colors) .
  • Lamps Plus has tons of designs like this drum swag in every color and pattern.

You can do this with any chandelier or pendant that has a chain. If you want to find a style you like search for “swag light fixture.” The only requirement is that the chain is long enough to reach a plug. If it isn’t you can extend the wire with a kit like this (even if you are a novice).

If you already own a chandelier or pendant that is meant to be wired into the ceiling, it’s easy to convert it to a plug-in light. You just need a kit like this. You can also use a more modern ceiling hook like this.

Large Arc Floor Lamp

Arc floor lamps aren’t overhead, but if you get one with a large enough arc it can provide the same benefits that overhead light does. Arc lamps are a great alternative to table lamps because they get light out into the room away from the wall outlet. Here are a few examples of these used in a living room and a few that I like.

Torchiere Lamps Can Light Up a Room

These are not technically overhead lights, but they act like them because they send light up and bounce it off of the ceiling. Torchieres are often overlooked because there aren’t a lot of them and many look old fashioned. Keep looking! There are MODERN versions available and they add tons of light. These lamps are not good for task lighting, but if you get the right light bulb they provide as much light as recessed lights.

They also take a pretty high wattage bulb, which makes an even better source of light.

Use String Lighting

This type of light is not right for every home, but it can be used creatively. String lights are similar to overhead lights if you use them the way interior designers do, which is either invisible or as an accent.

String lights can more invisible if you hang along the top of a mantel to shine light up or around a doorway. Another great way to make a statement with string lights is to use them in a dining room over a table. This is not the perfect solution for traditional decor but it works in modern designs.

Check Wattage On Your Fixture

Be sure to look for the largest wattage bulb your chandelier, pendant or lamp will hold. If you are confused about what type of bulb to use, check out this article about different LED and incandescent light bulbs. Your fixture will tell you the max usually right near where the bulb screw in.

learn more lamps and lighting, check out these posts that cover all the details to make sure you get the right lamp for your space.

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  1. These are great options, Andrea. I am headed up to Maryland on Memorial day weekend to help my daughter get settled in a new apartment. It will be interesting to see what we have to work with as far as lighting goes. I may be revisiting some of these to give her ideas!

  2. We have a few of these style lamps because we do actually have a room that never had any lighting put in. Crazy right?!!! Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  3. I love the options you have shared here Andrea. I’m trying to figure out something for an area in my guest room and will look at these ideas.

  4. I would like to create recessed lighting (over art work) without wiring. I wonder if battery operated lighting exists to fulfill this objective.

    1. Sue,

      I’ve added this to the list of posts to write. Yes there are “recessed” lights that you could put up that are battery-powered for art. They aren’t really recessed, but have that same feel. Here’s an example one one on Amazon.

      When you shop be careful to make sure it is battery powered, even when you search for that google brings up mostly wired lights. I hope this helps.


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