Light fixture for ceiling that has no hole in it
September 14, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

So we moved into a rental apartment intending to install my chandelier into the living room ceiling. Problem is, there's no "thing in the ceiling that a light fixture would be installed into." (Err...whats that called?) Is there any way we can make it so that my chandelier can run to the electrical socket in the room somehow? If not, what terms do I search for (or what websites are good besides urban outfitters) to find ceiling light fixtures that work from a cord kit?
posted by skjønn to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're looking for a junction box, but it sounds like one is not installed in the ceiling. No. You should not install one. Your landlord will likely not install one.

Find a friend who is handy (or consult google video) and properly attach a cord and plug onto the wires on the chandelier, get some chain, a ceiling hook + anchor for the hook (or drill into a wood stud in the ceiling if you have a stud finder) swag the cord and chain over towards the plug - and that's it!

Easy peasy. Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 8:25 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

make sure there's nothing in your rental agreement about the sort of drilling into the stud you'll have to do to make this work. in my apartment i'm covered against small nail holes, but anything bigger will come with a hefty fine at move out. screwing into the studs is considered a large change like painting or scratching up a counter top.
posted by nadawi at 8:29 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any home improvement store will have pendant style lights that can be plugged into the wall socket.

I wouldn't try to wire the light into the ceiling yourself, with or without a fuse box. Unless you know how to do it right, you would break all kinds of fire codes.
posted by Think_Long at 8:49 PM on September 14, 2011

first, grab a good-sized magnet. run it over the center of the ceiling. is there something in there? odds are, the junction box was just plastered over...this happens a lot. an electrician can uncover it for you and install the chandelier in approx. 1/2 an hour.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:08 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

If it is a crystal chandelier, you have to install it into a junction box that is specific for the weight of the chandelier. They are heavy enough to bring down the ceiling.
posted by Houstonian at 2:10 AM on September 15, 2011

Sorry, but this is a very bad idea. Either you'll have a VERY angry landlord (it's a rental: it's a pretty good guess that rewiring the electrical system is ain't allowed), or else you won't be permitted to take it with when you move out (anything 'attached' --- and that WOULD be attached! --- is now the property of the landlord).

Either way, it'll cost you either a big damage fee and/or the cost of the chandelier + installation --- possibly both.
posted by easily confused at 3:01 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

The easy solution which might not violate your rental agreement's damage waiver is to put a hook screw in the middle of the ceiling (make sure it goes into wood behind the drywall!), another hook screw at the boundary of ceiling and wall over a power outlet, and run a light fixture cord from the outlet, through the hooks, and dangling from the ceiling. If the cord is short, get a nice-looking extension cord to make up the length.

Add a nice light shade to the cord. You want something as light weight as possible. Ikea has some good paper shades.

When you're happy with the light's vertical placement, fix the cord to the hook at the junction of ceiling and wall. String, zip tie, duct tape, whatever looks good. This will help keep the cord running along the ceiling taut.

Then don't plug the cord into the wall. Instead, plug it into a remote switch cord, and plug that into the wall.

Now you have a power switch that you can attach to the wall, rest on a desk or shelf, or put in some other convenient place. It's not as nice as having a wall switch, but it gets you 95% of the way there without messing with the wiring.
posted by ardgedee at 6:08 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ha, this reminds me of the many unauthorized things I've done to run cords in tiny apartments.

But this advice is better than my stories, and less likely to lose you your deposit, so yeah go with that....
posted by emjaybee at 9:41 AM on September 15, 2011

There are also cord raceways that stick to the wall and contain electrical cords. Example they also make surface electrical boxes that you can mount on the ceiling where you want the chandelier. If you paint them with the same paint as the walls and ceilings they do a fairly decent job of making the cords unobtrusive.
posted by rtimmel at 11:38 AM on September 15, 2011

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