Would you like to hang a lamp on the wall, but the ceiling or wall doesn’t have a pre-wired lightbox? What good are sconces or ceiling light fixtures if they don’t have any outlets for them?
You don’t need to do any major wiring. You can simply plug the lamp into an available wall outlet after rewiring it with an extension cord.
Honestly, it’s not hard at all. Even people without an electrician’s background can do it. The following is a guide for converting hard-wired fixtures into plug-in lights so you can use them anywhere.
I would like to make it clear that you are fully responsible for any crazy mishaps you may have while working on this project. In case of concerns or questions, you should consult a licensed electrician.
A hardwired lighting fixture can be converted into an electrical plug-in fixture using the following materials:
- A Lamp Cord With A Switch
It could also be used with an extension cord if the female end is cut off. The cord of these devices has a switch, so you can easily change them.
- Connectors For Wires
These are typically terminal boxes or wire nuts with electrical tape.
- Stripper/Wire Cutter
Utility knives or sharp scissors will work in a pinch.
And finally, hardwire light fixture.
Changing A Hardwired Light Fixture Into A Plug In
Here I’ll demonstrate how easily you can convert any hardwired light fixture into a plug-in light. The process is so easy to follow, not to mention that you will be proud of yourself for being so resourceful. So, let’s get started.
Light Fixture Selection and Preparation
A good light fixture is the first thing you need! Measure the length of the lamp wire required to connect to your swag hook by measuring the area in your home.
Open and unscrew the plug. The exposed lamp wire should be curved with needle-nose pliers. Each lamp wire should be securely fastened with a screw. The screw should not be overtightened, then the plug should be closed and secured.
Decide On The Length Of The Cords
You must leave yourself enough room to trim and connect without obscuring too much of the cable beneath the cover. You should also consider the placement of the switch if your lamp cord is equipped with one; you should be able to reach it!
Make Sure Your Cords Are Cut
The fixture cord and the lamp cord should be cut 1/2″ longer than they are needed using wire cutters.
Separate Your Wires
Pull out the two wires *1-2″ from the lamp cord and fixture cord with your fingers. It is not necessary to separate the wires from the fixture if they have already been separated.
Strip Your Wires
Wire strippers (or sharp scissors) are useful for removing plastic sheathing without cutting copper wires. Each cord will require two wires to be removed.
Wiring The Fixture
Grounding wires should be present on fixtures. A bare wire or one covered with green plastic will serve as the ground. There is likely to be a grounding pin in the extension cord, so you will need a three-wire extension cord. If necessary, a two-wire extension cord will also work.
- Step 1
Remove the female plug from the extension cord, then reduce the length of the cord by about 4 inches with a utility knife. The ends of white and black wires should be exposed about half an inch with the splicing tool.
Extension cords with two wires may only have a plastic coating without any sheathing. You first need to separate about 6 inches of wire with a utility knife and then expose about 1/2 inch of wire end with the splicing tool.
- Step 2
Turn the light fixture and cord white wires clockwise with the pliers while holding them parallel to one another.
Attach a wire nut to the ends of the wires, making sure that the nut covers all exposed wires. Make the connection extra secure by wrapping electrical tape around it. Make the same connection with the black wire.
- Step 3
To ground the fixture, twist the ground wire of the cord with the fixture’s ground wire.
Make Sure Your Cord Has A Way Out
As the wires for a wall or ceiling fixture typically go into said walls or ceilings, you will need to make sure that the wires will come out of the cover and hang down the wall without causing any problems. Use the plate cover however you like. It can be cut or bent, drilled, or even designed in some way.
I was fortunate that these fixtures included a plastic insert that was removed from the wall plate, which made it very easy to have them removed before I started my project. My final step was to replace the switch directly under the lamp when I was done.
Mounting The Fixture
Look behind the new location of the light for a stud or rafter inside the wall. Use the holes on the outermost side of the adaptor plate to screw it to the wooden piece. For drywall without studs, drill a small hole for the anchor screws, pound the anchors into the drywall, and attach the fixture.
Assemble the fixture and attach it to the plate with machine screws. If you want to exit the cord through the wall or the fixture, cut a small notch. Plug the cord into the nearest outlet as inconspicuously as possible and test the light.
Notes And Tips On Connecting Your Wires
Some wires are color-coded; if this is the case, match your wire colors. Unless otherwise noted, most cords have a slightly ribbed side and a smooth side.
- Match Up Your Wires
Smooth to smooth if possible and ribbed to ribbed if necessary. In my fixtures were these cool terminal boxes you could attach the wires to by tightening the screws.
To align your smooth wires and your ribbed wires in the terminal box, make sure the wires facing each other are facing out. Be sure that the wire nuts you use are the appropriate size if you are using wire nuts.
Your main priority is to make sure that your smooth and ribbed tops or your white and black ones never touch. When you plug in your fixture, it will short out if they do. In this case, you should enclose the entire wire portion in the terminal box. Wires should never be exposed!
The hot and neutral wires are located at the base of the light fixture. In the future, loop the ground (also known as green wire) into the base. To the hot and neutral wires of the lamp, connect the remaining lamp wires. Use electrical tape to tightly secure the connectors around the lamp wires.
The plug-in style light can be used as a lamp, swagged fixture, or a portable light once the plug has been fully reassembled and fitted back together without any bulges, misfits, or exposed wires.
The hardwired light fixture can be converted into a lamp that can be placed anywhere an extension cord can reach (dry and safe).
There are many dangers associated with electricity! The following instructions are provided for your convenience. Nevertheless, if any of the instructions do not speak to the details of your light fixture.
Or if any of them seem unclear, consult an electrician or licensed contractor right away. Even if you are unsure about anything in these instructions, call an electrician.
For a hardwired light fixture to be converted to a plug-in, you don’t need to be an electrician to know how to change it. It only takes a few minutes to do it. Just five minutes is all that is needed to convert a hardwired light fixture into one that plugs directly into an outlet.