Raise your hand if you currently have or have ever had one of these ugly lighting offenders in your home. Ok good, so it’s not just me.
I’m not entirely sure why builders insist on these boob fixtures as their lighting of choice, but I’m going to guess it has something to do with their general blandness and low cost. We used to have a whopping 8 of these mounted throughout the house. But now we’re down to 7, thanks to a “reduction operation” (sorry for the continued reference, but seriously, how can you not see it).
Songbird’s room definitely needed some lighting with more personality. I debated for a long time between a pendant light or a ceiling fan, but ultimately the shade pendant won me over. All the worthwhile fixtures I found online were well over $200 and therefore clearly outside my budget.
If you can’t buy, then DIY!
*** Before you begin any electrical project, be sure to turn off the appropriate breaker. Not just the light switch, but the actual breaker please! ***
1. Remove the
boob flush-mount light with care, disconnecting it from any wires in the ceiling.
2. Unbox your “hanging light swag kit” from Lowes (I looked for it at Home Depot, but no luck). You’ll notice that this kit is actually designed to be plugged into an outlet. So if you wanna just plug your light in, than it’s ready to go. However, this tutorial covers how to hard wire it instead.
3. Use your wire cutters to snip the cord just above the light toggle, removing the toggle and the plug end. This photo makes it look like I’m leaving only a small length of cord, but there’s actually several feet left.
4. I picked up this lovely over-sized lampshade at Home Goods/ TJ Maxx for $16. You can use any lampshade you want, but it must have harp hardware on the top like this and not the kind that goes down inside.
That’s because the swag kit is designed to screw onto the small center fitting like this! Neat, right?!
4. Next, open your canopy kit and spread out the contents. You’ll only be using the canopy, support bracket, and the 4 silver screws (2 of which have white caps on them).
5. With the bend of the bracket facing up, slide the cut end of your cord through the hole. Hold the bracket up to the ceiling and adjust the cord length to your preferred shade height. Use a Sharpie to mark the cord just above the bracket.
6. Take the bracket back off and attach the long screws with the white caps to the inner most holes on each side.
7. Slide the canopy onto the wire, followed by the bracket (bend facing up) and tie a tight double knot where you made your Sharpie mark.
8. Cut the cord about 3″ past the knot. With your wire cutters, snip between the two wires at the top and gently pull them apart. Then use your wire strippers to carefully remove the plastic from the last 1″ of the wires to expose the metal filament.
9. A quick lesson in electrical work… There is always a live wire and neutral wire. Match the two up and you’re in business. Match the wrong ones together and it won’t work. But how do you know which is which?
Typically a live wire will be red or black and neutral wire will be white or grey. A ground wire is used as a safety net for an electrical short, but they aren’t necessary for low voltage lighting. The ground wire will be bare copper, green or yellow.
In my ceiling I had 4 wires because it was able to accept a ceiling fan as well as a light fixture. The RED is my live wire, COPPER is my ground, WHITE is my neutral, and BLACK is an additional live wire to work a ceiling fan from a separate switch. Don’t be afraid to touch the wires, as they have no current running to them because you turned off the breaker, right? Riiiiight?!
Since I do not need the ground or the black fan wire, I tucked them back into the ceiling hole. Be sure and keep a wire nut (red cap) on any additional live wires.
10. Unscrew the shade from the swag kit. It’s easier to hook this up with less weight hanging off your wires.
The cord you stripped also has a live and neutral wire, but it isn’t color coded. One plastic tube will be smooth and the other is slightly ribbed. The smooth wire is live, the ribbed is neutral. Another way to tell for this cord is that the black writing is on the live wire. Stick both raw ends of the appropriate wires together in a wire cap and twist until it’s tight.
11. Go turn on your breaker and your light switch to check your work!
12. Flip the switch back off. Use the two short screws to attach the bracket back to the holes in the ceiling.
13. Slide the canopy up the cord and stick the two long screws down through the holes. Secure with the white caps.
14. Re-attach your lamp shade and you’re done!
Already a vast improvement; no more body parts on the ceiling, yay! All said and done, this beauty cost only $39!!! That bargain price alone should be motivation to try it in your home too.
She’s a bit of a plain jane right now, but check back for my idea on how to up the spunk!