Artful way to snake power cord up the wall to a light fixture
November 20, 2007 3:24 PM   Subscribe

One of the rooms in my apartment has no ceiling lighting, so I'd like to hang a fixture (paper lantern, very lightweight) from the ceiling. There are no power outlets on the ceiling. Is there an artful and attractive way to snake the power cord for this light up the wall from the outlet, onto the ceiling, finally leading to the fixture? The ceiling is 9 ft high, the cord is fairly long, extension cords are OK, and the light will be placed in a location that is maybe 4 or 5 feet away from the wall, and 2 or 3 feet from the ceiling.
posted by jroybal to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Use a cord cover?
posted by jocelmeow at 3:26 PM on November 20, 2007

decorative chain from the floor, up the wall (a corner works well), and hung from decorative hooks from the ceiling (with a bit of curve between the hooks, not flat to the ceiling) to the point where you have the terminal hook that you hang the lamp from.. the chain, of course, goes all the way down to the lamp. The cord is woven in the chain...

we called them swag lamps, i believe, back in the 60's!
posted by HuronBob at 3:31 PM on November 20, 2007

Cable covers mount using small brackets screwed to the wall/ceiling and a long plain cover snaps on, Lowe's has them in the electrical area. Corner units make it work well and it looks OK.
posted by Freedomboy at 3:32 PM on November 20, 2007

Might you find a battery-operated lamp or lantern? I think they are out there. A quick search for "battery hanging lamp" yielded some rather unaesthetic results, but you could put a paper lantern or shade around one.
posted by amtho at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2007

A friend of mine has done this and turned the cord into what looks like a flowering vine. She got a green extension cord, wrapped some fake leaves, shoots, and flowers around it artfully, and attached it to the wall with green sticky-tack behind various leaves so it just looks like it creeps its way up to the lamp. It's a pretty nice effect and took her all of a couple of hours to get perfected, shopping included.
posted by Rallon at 3:40 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

The cord cover option looks attractive for the exposed cord from the ceiling to the light. For the rest, you might consider what I did to run coaxial cable in my apartment. I use cord "staples" to run the cable from the outlet, up the wall to the moulding, around the perimeter of the room to the side where my computer sits, then along the baseboard to the modem.

For a light hanging from the ceiling, you could tack the extension cord with electrical staples. If your walls and the cabling are white, it might not be so obvious. I tried to find an interior cord conduit like my school uses to drop network cables from the ceiling and along concrete walls, but had no luck in my area.

There are products designed to hide and protect cords I found just found online: link and link. It seems that home entertainment center installers would be a good source for these raceways.

Hopefully someone has some more attractive ideas.
posted by bonobo at 3:49 PM on November 20, 2007

I concur with the swag lamp approach.

Extension cord? You can do better than that, if you're a little handy. For this task you will need a flat-head screwdriver and wire strippers.

First, take apart your light fixture and see if it's reasonable to undo the wiring with a the screwdriver. If it is (don't do it yet!), you're golden. If not, skip this reply entirely. Most fixtures are standard and haven't changed in design for decades.

Measure the distance that needs to be covered and add 3 feet. Get thee to a hardware store and buy "lamp cord" a "wheel switch" and a replacement plug. Should set you back a whopping 6 bucks.

Take apart the lamp and look carefully at how the wiring goes into the socket. You're going to match that. Without knowing your particular lamp, lamp cord is two wires together you're going to insert the cord through a bottom piece of the light socket, then split the lamp cord probably a few inches and strip off 1/2" of insulation on each wire, then twist the wire ends so they don't fray, and screw them down where the old wires were, making sure you don't have any stray frayed ends.

Then you'll weave the wire through the chain (or whatever cover) across the ceiling to a wall. At a nice convenient height, you'll install the roller switch. This will involve more cutting and stripping and following the instructions on the packet (if there are no instructions and it's not obvious, ask a clerk at the store). Finally, trim the last of the wire to reach your socket plus some slop and install the plug you bought on the far end. Many replacement plugs are put together without even stripping, so bonus there.

If you're at all squeamish about this. DON'T DO IT. I would do it in a heartbeat. Then again, I ignore the words "No user serviceable parts inside".
posted by plinth at 4:53 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can buy most of what you need in a "swag lamp kit".
posted by dhartung at 5:54 PM on November 20, 2007

I like the vine effect Rallon suggested but if you are using a paper lantern I'd do it up to look like live bamboo curving up to the lamp.
posted by clanger at 8:14 PM on November 20, 2007

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