How in the world do i hang these ?
March 4, 2008 7:32 AM   Subscribe

How did they hang these lamps evenly against the ceiling if there is only one J-box opening ?

I asked this question earlier, but focused on the electrical part of the installation, and the answers were definitely helpful.

But the problem is, how do i hang 4-5 ikea regolit paper shades neatly and cover the hole in the ceiling left by the junction box, as shown here

is there a canopy or other decorative ways to get this done ?
posted by hboogz to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some ikea lamps are not hard-wired - their cord ends in a regular plug.
Yopur best bet would be to convert the box into an outlet - possibly a quadruple outlet - and then plug all the lamps in there.
posted by GuyZero at 7:49 AM on March 4, 2008

Sorry, as for hanging them - they have long cords. Just put some hooks into the ceiling. The lamps should be light enough (har har) to be supported by drywall.
posted by GuyZero at 7:58 AM on March 4, 2008

i was thinking about using the hooks, yes, but i still need a canopy or something to cover the j-box hole.

Putting an outlet in the ceiling limits the amount of lamps i can use, where, if i can cut the cord and hard-wire them, i can use the amount i'd like. I've heard of setups where 12 of these lamps where connected to a single j-box.
posted by hboogz at 8:15 AM on March 4, 2008

I was going to say this is a double but then I read the [more]...

I think the key is to separate the two problems: (1) pretty up the junction box, (2) hang the lights. They don't have to be the same problem. A junction box painted over the same as the ceiling would be pretty invisible, especially in a visual sea like that.

You can also get some very thin electrical wire in whatever color you need for camouflage. Clip it to the ceiling. Paint everything. Twist-in lights.
posted by rokusan at 8:23 AM on March 4, 2008

Connecting 12 lamps that have had their cords cut off in a single j-box may not meet electrical code so I can't really offer that as a solution. But yes, that would work.

Most hardware stores sell box covers that have a punch-out hole in the middle that you could run the cords through. But most of these covers only have a hole big enough for maybe 2 or 3 cords.

Assuming it doesn't catch fire, you could cut the plugs off, wire all the cords together using huge wire nuts and then cover the box with a normal or Decora square double-gang outlet cover and just run the wires out through the (large) holes. It would be better than nothing but you might still see some of the innards of the box through the hole.

My serious suggestion is to a) put a normal double outliet in the j-box and b) attach two inexpensive powerbars to the ceiling somewhere behind the lamps and then plug them all in there. That would probably meet code and is unlikely to burst into flames due to installation errors (I assume you are not an electrician).

If you absolutely cannot stand looking at it staple some white cloth loosely over the powerbars to hide them.
posted by GuyZero at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2008

right, i'm not an electrician, but i have hired an electrician to do the work. I'm just not sure if he has done an unconventional setup like this before.

Granted, the outlet idea is good and probably more practical in terms of code, but i presume doing this removes the option of dimming the lights, which is not a possibility for me. out of curiosity, what are powerbars ?

could you link me to the normal or decora square double-gang outlet cover ?

rokusan -- how do you "pretty up" the junction box ? cover it and paint it ?
posted by hboogz at 8:46 AM on March 4, 2008

A powerbar? I guess some people call them power strips... one of these. I suggest it because it will work, not because it will look nice to have a couple of these attached to your ceiling.

Dimming should still work - you can dim an outlet and the lights will dim. Just make sure the dimmer can handle 700+ watts if you're really going to use 12 lights. I assume you'll use 40W or 60W bulbs - 12 100W bulbs will be a) a lot of light b) about the limit of a single household circuit and c) too much for most home dimmer switches. (Although I did find one such switch for a mere $82)

And an outlet cover won't work unless you use outlets - the screw holes are wrong. Sorry about that. You'll have to get a junction box cover (available in white in ANY hardware store, but I can't find a picture online) and make the opening yourself. Running 12 cords directly into a box isn't a typical setup.

DISCLAIMER I am not a real electrician but have done enough electrical work to know that it's dangerous stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 9:01 AM on March 4, 2008

it's not going to be 12 cords, it's going to just be 5.

can you tell what the size of the j-box through the picture, so i can get the right junction box cover ?

here is a close up of the j-box

so, the two options right now are:

a) hardwire and run through j-cover plate and use swag hooks to disperse lanterns across ceiling and hang accordingly.

b) install a quad outlet, and only use 4 lanterns and have them all hang independently. I already have a lutron single pole 600w dimmer installed.

So it's confirmed i can still dimm the lights even if they are plugged into an outlet ?
posted by hboogz at 9:11 AM on March 4, 2008

You could put a lighting track on the J-box and then use these to put as many outlets as you want along the track that you can plug your globes into. Then you'll have flexibility in the future to plug different lights into the outlets or use the many kinds of track lights out there.
posted by zsazsa at 10:33 AM on March 4, 2008

the track sounds like a good idea, butt not sure if i can get the "clustered" look get...
posted by hboogz at 10:46 AM on March 4, 2008

I did not think of tracks, but you can definitely get tracks with outlets. That may be the thing to do. zsazsa's example would be perfect and much more pleasing than powerbars.

As for a straight box cover, there is one standard size of junction box, which you seem to have. Any junction box cover should fit.

And yes, you can hook the dimmer to the outlet. For lights it will work fine. Don't try to plug a blender or computer in there.
posted by GuyZero at 10:54 AM on March 4, 2008

As an alternative, you could put hooks in the walls and run strings radiating from the jbox to the hooks. I would use some low stretch material, like polyester, if you do that.

But as for hiding the jbox, why wouldn't you just put a light right over it?
posted by d4nj450n at 11:26 AM on March 4, 2008

1. Get something like this:
I have them in my office to plub computer gear into. Simple. Cheap. Unobtrusive.

2. Use hooks in the ceiling surrounding the power strip to hang the lighted balls in a decorative cluster, dense enough to conceal the strip.
posted by dinger at 11:34 AM on March 4, 2008

D'oh! My link looked fine in the preview. At any rate go to and search for "TrippLite 12-outlet power strip".
posted by dinger at 11:38 AM on March 4, 2008

That TrippLite also looks awesome for this application.

Now I want this same light setup just as an excuse to do electrical work.
posted by GuyZero at 11:39 AM on March 4, 2008

thanks dinger --i've used those strips in the past, but aesthetically on the ceiling for my bedroom ? personally, not quite the look i would want to achieve -- although could be a cool in a utility room.

if i do go that route, it's in or around the same price to get a 2ft track,canopy/transformer and 4-5 convenience outlets -- but they would all hang in a str8 line -- not cool.
posted by hboogz at 12:04 PM on March 4, 2008

It's a studio setup, and those lanterns are hanging from a frame or truss. What would be cool is some sort of cool mobile/chandelier frame that will support them in the position you want, yet direct their cords to a central outlet.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:47 PM on March 4, 2008

I think its against most electric codes to install a dimmer to control an outlet as it would wreck havoc with any non-dimable device plugged into it.

That said, I've modified several IKEA lamps to be hard-wired. These have been single light setups using various lamp parts and canopy purchased at my local hardware store. Things to consider are the use of a strain relief of some sort to take the pressure off of the connections and having enough room in the box to safely make the connections.
posted by buttercup at 4:35 PM on March 4, 2008

My daughter loves the IKEA lamps and wanted them at various positions and heights depending on her mood. I ran a single power cord from a dimmer switch to a plastic electrical junction box. I spliced in the three lamps after running their cords through different lengths of 3/8 inch plastic water pipe and 45 degree connectors.
The pipes are fastened to the wooden disk (resale shop cutting board) with conduit clamps allowing them to be brought nearer or further from center.
The wooden disk is held to the electrical box by a bolt fastened through the center.

Extra wire from the three lamps can be wound around the electrical box for when she wishes to raise or lower the lamps. The electrical box is for insulation and is merely fastened to the ceiling with drywall screws. The wood, electrical box and pipes are painted the same color as the ceiling.

(Still to be found is a more decorative fastener to replace the wingnut after the bolt is shortened!)

See photos at:

and here

posted by tronec at 4:33 AM on March 5, 2008

tronec - very , very creative. I defintely like the idea. But im going to go ahead with installing a two-foot track, but instead of the conveinience outlets i am going to use line-pendant adapter's
posted by hboogz at 7:35 AM on March 6, 2008

« Older Cell phone for Japan/HK?   |   Fall down seven times, get up eight. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.