Lamp with a base plugged in
September 2, 2015 4:55 PM   Subscribe

I live in a rental with a strange dining room lighting situation. No lamp is provided, but there is an electric socket high up on the wall controlled by a switch. Ideally, I would plug in an overhead lamp and swing it through a ceiling hook, but I'm not allowed to drill into the ceiling. The alternative is to get a lightweight sconce that I don't need to mount, but simply attach to the socket. I might be searching for the wrong terms, because I can't find anything like this. Help?
posted by redlines to Home & Garden (23 answers total)
Would a plug-in pendant light solve your problem? (Random examples; maybe searching the phrase "plug-in pendant light" will pop something that appeals to you.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:59 PM on September 2, 2015

Response by poster: MonkeyToes: that was my first plan, but I would need to put a hook in the ceiling to suspend the wire from.
posted by redlines at 5:02 PM on September 2, 2015

I have seen setups like this; They make plug-to-bulb sockets, in which you could plug in a huge, awesome Edison-style bulb.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:05 PM on September 2, 2015

I think you should ask for a waiver on the "no drilling" rule so that you can hang a light properly. It seems unreasonable that they wouldn't accommodate this (or provide an actual light).
posted by vunder at 5:06 PM on September 2, 2015 [6 favorites]

What sort of ceiling is it? If it is concrete, maybe try picture hooks like these? They are just hammered in, no drilling required. I have used them to hang quite heavy pictures and while they do leave holes, the holes are very small and very easily concealed upon moving out. I think you could hang a lightweight plug-in pendant from them.
posted by AnnaRat at 5:09 PM on September 2, 2015

"Plug-in sconce" popped some possibilities (but oooh, huge Edison-style bulb!).
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:10 PM on September 2, 2015

Look in the.ceiling where the last hook hole was spackled over. Put in your hanger hook, then spackle over the hole before you move. Paint store can exact match paint any more. So get yourself a pint made up, take note of the finish, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, or glossy. Keep it to use when you move out.
posted by Oyéah at 5:19 PM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you use a pendant light that isn't too heavy, you can hang it from a pretty small hook (and then spackle the hole over before you leave). Technically, if you use a thin hook and just screw it in directly, you haven't drilled anything (of course, this requires you to find the joist so you can screw directly into wood, because if you need a drywall anchor, then you will need a bigger hole). But in reality, the least destructive method is to use a small drill bit to make the hole in the drywall first.

If your ceiling is not drywall, maybe you could let everyone know what the ceiling is made of and perhaps there is another solution.

I wouldn't rely on anything that just plugs into the socket to hold itself up on the wall. Electrical plugs aren't designed to carry loads and you run the risk of the thing falling off at any time.
posted by ssg at 5:32 PM on September 2, 2015

Like Oyeah, I have typically solved this conundrum by just drilling anyway, and patching it on move-out.
posted by Miko at 5:53 PM on September 2, 2015

The other alternative is presumably an uplighter or standard lamp that stands on the floor, or a table lamp on a small table or set of shelves?
posted by Segundus at 6:04 PM on September 2, 2015

I would not drill anyway: ceilings are painted with flat paint, which makes any defect on them just scream out. It's not unusual to have to repaint an entire ceiling just to hide one hole ... in a rental, just don't touch the ceiling.

Ikea has several floor lamps where the cord doesn't come out of the base, so you could coil the cord up high at the outlet that is switched.
posted by Dashy at 6:10 PM on September 2, 2015

Do you have a windowsill or a bookshelf or something upon which you could clamp a light like this?
posted by sockermom at 6:29 PM on September 2, 2015

Also depending on the configuration of the plug, this plug to socket adapter may work.
posted by sockermom at 6:31 PM on September 2, 2015

Depending on the width of the dining room, could you try hanging something off a tension rod between two opposite walls? This one from Amazon goes from 6 feet to 9 feet.
posted by alphanerd at 6:44 PM on September 2, 2015

It's not very pretty, but this plugs straight into a wall plug.
posted by kjs4 at 7:05 PM on September 2, 2015

Maybe try a large night light with a sconce, along these lines.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:11 PM on September 2, 2015

I'd totally drill a small hole for a hook. It will be fine. Patch it and dab it with a bit of paint.

Alternately, ask them to install some kind of ceiling light fixture. It seems bizarre that you'd have a dining room without any kind of ceiling or wall light fixture at all.

The 3M hooks eventually come down because of gravity. They're ok for the very light paper lanterns but not much more than that.

What about buying an arc floor lamp to go over your table, like this? How long are you planning on staying there?
posted by barnone at 7:12 PM on September 2, 2015

Command Adhesive hooks will hold up many of the ikea plug in lights. I like a combo of the hooks with a metal loop that will hang straight down and the cord minders with double loops to hold the cord. The key is to let the hooks set for at least an hour before putting any weight on them.
posted by saradarlin at 8:29 PM on September 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you remove the outlet cover, you might be able to use that small screw hole to mount a plug-in sconce of some kind. Or maybe some additional threaded holes in the wall box might be usable with the outlet cover removed.
posted by reeddavid at 11:32 PM on September 2, 2015

> Command Adhesive

This was my first thought too. A heavy-duty one should be able to easily handle a lamp.
posted by Gev at 7:07 AM on September 3, 2015

bear in mind your ceiling might contain or be suspected of containing asbestos and that might be why you're banned from drilling into it! Asbestos was a common ceiling ingredient! It's fireproof and fire spreads sideways through ceilings, floorboards etc which are the last wood not eliminated from most modern houses...
posted by maiamaia at 2:06 PM on September 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

could you bear to eat by the light of a standard lamp? Pricey new (in UK) but as you can't give them away (British for 'can't sell them') cheap secondhand. Only the wiring needs to be safe, and you can stick your own plug, bulb and wire on an old one to be sure
posted by maiamaia at 2:08 PM on September 3, 2015

a quick search on link has revealed that 'standard lamp' means 'wall fitting' across the pond, and that 'floor lamp' means 'standard lamp'... one day we will speak the same language!
posted by maiamaia at 2:10 PM on September 3, 2015

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