Maybe you’re not very handy with tools. Perhaps you’re living somewhere temporarily and want to avoid unnecessary electrical work. It’s possible you have an elderly family member who has moved into a residence where electrical modifications aren’t allowed yet they need more light to see. Or maybe you’d like an alternative to the time-consuming and costly endeavor of hiring an electrician to rewire your older home.
There are many reasons why more Americans are interested in adding lighting to help beautify their rooms without the complications of rewiring. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for installation-free lighting.
Tight on Space? Use Your Walls
There are several benefits to brightening a room by fastening a “plug-in” or “pin-up” sconce to the wall within reach of an electrical outlet. The placement keeps the lighting out of the way of people moving around in the room — a plus for elderly residents as well as for small rooms. The additional illumination that’s provided by placing the sconce at approximately 5 feet (60 inches) from the floor can make rooms seem larger by banishing shadows and making the space appear brighter. Sconces and wall lights that are marked “pin-up” or “plug-in” have cords long enough to reach a nearby outlet.
In bedrooms, wall lights on both sides of the bed are a popular solution with interior designers whose clients want a clutter-free aesthetic, making room for other essentials on the nightstand. While table lamps – the typical bedside choice – are popular, adjustable-arm wall lights are gaining popularity for their flexibility in allowing people on both sides of the bed to position light exactly where they need it without disturbing their partner.
Pin-up/plug-in wall lights are also ideal for seating areas where reading or tasks such as knitting/crocheting or doing crosswords take place. In this scenario, an adjustable arm is especially handy for best positioning the light most effectively as well as either dimming or multiple light levels available to complement different uses.
Providing visual drama to a favorite piece of artwork can also be accomplished with either battery-operated picture lights or pin-up versions. In each case, no rewiring is necessary to enjoy the same effect provided by a hard-wired picture light.
Note that installing plug-in lights may require you to make holes in your walls during installation. If you rent, keep this in mind and decide for yourself if you’re willing to patch up the holes before you move!
Table Lamps Add a Cozy Feel
One of the best ways to create a sense of warmth and inject personality into any room is to place lamps at different levels — on a console, coffee table, mantel, or end table. Bringing light to various viewing “heights” is a subtly sophisticated solution that interior designers rely on to make a space feel more inviting and more spacious.
There are lamps in a variety of sizes, from the larger “sofa” lamps standing anywhere from 28 to 35 inches high that many of us are familiar with, to diminutive accent lamps measuring a mere 12 to 25 inches high in many decorative styles to suit most décors.
Floor Lamps Have Presence
There are several types of floor lamps, and each can help you in a different way. For example, a torchiere is a type of floor lamp where the light is directed upward. In rooms with lower ceilings, the light bounces off the ceiling and reflects it downward, illuminating a wider area below. The secondary benefit is that it draws the eye upward, making a low-ceilinged room appear taller. Torchieres are a good choice when placed in the corners of a room to make the space seem bigger and brighter.
There are also floor lamps that serve double duty by offering an uplight on the top as well as an adjustable arm closer to the middle that is used as a task or reading lamp. This 2-in-1 type of floor lamp is especially helpful next to an armchair or sofa.
How to Create an Overhead Light Effect Without a Junction Box
No junction box, no problem. If there isn’t an electrical connection (or junction box) on the ceiling where you would typically find an ambient light or ceiling fan, you can still have the look of a light source overhead by applying a few design tricks.
The first technique requires a simple hardware hook. Referred to as a “swag” light, these “swag lights” or “plug-in pendants” come with long cords that allow them to be suspended from above by a hook that is screwed into the ceiling. Placing the hook over a casual dining table, breakfast nook, or even centrally over a coffee table or sitting area is an easy way to offer the benefits of overhead illumination with minimal effort.
The second technique is a particular style of floor lamp called an “arc lamp.” Developed in the 1960s, this style of floor lamps was designed to recreate the effect of a ceiling light without the need for overhead wiring. These arc lamps are so named in reference to the sweeping reach of illumination that is achieved up to several feet away from their base due to the pronounced curvature of the stem. For example, an arc lamp can be placed at the side of a room and have its shade positioned above a coffee or kitchen table. By design, the base is conveniently out of people’s way as they move in the space, preventing a tripping hazard.
Yes, There Are Non-Electric Options
While there is not truly a practical alternative to electricity when it comes to general purpose lighting (unless you enjoy scraping dripping wax off a surface from candle-powered chandeliers), there are a variety of candle accessories that add ambiance and accent lighting, such as “hurricane lamps” and candlesticks for table surfaces, and candle sconces that can be attached to walls. In addition, there are the “flickering” pillar candle accessories that look like wax pillar candles but are powered by batteries.
The bottom line is that you don’t always need to hire an electrician to improve the look of your home or the enjoyment of your rooms with lighting. All it takes is a little knowledge of what is out there on the market and some ingenuity in placement. Naturally, you can find all of these forms of lighting at LightsOnline.com.