Home Improvement

Converting A Lamp Into A Pendant Light

After over a year of living without one, another bedroom has been upgraded to have a ceiling light fixture – and this time it’s Teddy’s room. Woo to the hoo guys. It’s the best thing ever. I know that sounds like an overstatement, but you don’t know how convenient ceiling light fixtures are until you buy a house without any in all of the rooms upstairs except for the bathrooms.

When I saw this stick light on Joss & Main I thought it was fun and beachy-yet-geometric. And call me crazy, but I immediately looked at it and saw a ceiling pendant. To make sure I wasn’t being weird, I ran the idea of converting this plug-in table lamp by John. Thankfully he was right there on the stick light train with me.

When it came, we turned it over to see what we were working with. There was essentially a small screw that held the cord down so it could sit on a table, so that was the first thing I removed.

Once that was out of the way…

… it allowed me to gain access to this bolt that held the existing cord kit and shade on. We debated just keeping this plug and turning it into a ceiling fixture (often you can cut the cord of a plug-in fixture to expose the inner ones you need to hardwire it), but it happened to have one of those very small bulb sockets – you know for teeny bulbs? We wanted a little more light and a standard sized bulb in there, so off it came.

To remove the rest of the original wiring, we were able to unscrew the socket from below…

… which freed it up.

Finally, we were left with just a shade, which we could convert into a hanging fixture thanks to the ring on the bottom which would easily hold a standard light kit (with a standard sized bulb).

So all that was left was to grab one of these white pendant light kits from Home Depot.

All we did to make it work with the shade was to thread the pendant cord up from below the shade (through that little white ring of the top of the shade) so that rests on the curved white bulb holder, which puts the light bulb right in the middle of the arched stick shade.

But wait, isn’t something made of kindling with a light in it a giant fire hazard?! Glad you asked. Paper lampshades and lanterns (as well as basket shades) are commonly used, so there’s no fire hazard as long as heat can escape out the top and bottom of the shade, and the bulb has ample clearance (i.e., it isn’t super close to or pressed up against the shade). And even though a normal bulb should work in this arrangement, we used an LED bulb which doesn’t cause as much heat buildup as an incandescent bulb (it still needs ample ventilation though!).

So Teddy’s room is now all hooked up with a warm white LED that should give us about 25,000 hours before it needs to be replaced. Also, it looks like a robot eagle is holding the bulb. John digs that part the most.

It’s nice to finally have something up there. And the sticks even subtly reference the driftwood mobile and the white lines in our T-wall.

Here it is all lit up. So glowey (say that the same way The Soup says “so meaty”).

And if you’re observant you might have noticed a little side table action going on, thanks to this yard sale find.


The $1 price tag was too good to resist.


Especially since it’s the exact same color as our old school rocking horse (another secondhand find of ours). So Teddy’s room is pretty much done for now, I think.

Also, Clara is in here way too much. But it’s sweet. That girl can make that rocking horse look like it’s going to catapult her right out the window, but so far there have been no rocker-related injuries. Now I have to go knock on wood.

Oh wait, and speaking of lights, there were requests to see our bedroom fixture all lit up and glowing at night, so here you go.

We love that it tosses out soft shapes on the ceiling.

Psss – As many of you have noticed, our collection at Target is now on sale (in stores). There’s about a week left of it being sold, so whatever’s left on the shelves is getting the ol’ mark down. Thanks so much to everyone who has picked up something from our collection. We’ve loved seeing all the pictures, and still feel so in awe that this whole thing happened. 



Adding Overhead Lighting & Extra Outlets

Yes, that’s an electric slide reference. And I’d bet money that it’s cracking my mom up while my brother is rolling his eyes and vowing never to read this blog again.

Let’s talk about electrical updates, like hanging a new capiz chandelier in the bedroom, and putting our heads together to gain a few bonus outlets and cut down on drywall holes while running electrical wiring. After last week’s post about our four new outdoor sconces, we mentioned we had some other wiring work done inside at the same time, so here’s the rundown on everything we added, where it went, and how much it all cost.

We’ll start with the prettiest result so far – the new light in our bedroom.

We had the electricians add ceiling fixtures to all four of the upstairs bedrooms, since we like the look and convenience of overhead lighting, but all the bedrooms were without it. Thankfully there was no drywall-disrupting work necessary other than the hole in the ceiling for the fixture box because they could takeover the existing switches, which used to just operate various wall outlets in each room. So not only did we not have to add additional light switches, we no longer accidentally turn off random things like the cable box or the sound machine as we leave those rooms.

We don’t have fixtures for the kids rooms or the guest room picked out yet, so we’ll just add white metal covers to minimize the whole blue-circle-with-wires-in-it look until we find some. But we did have the master bedroom light ready and waiting. It’s this Large Lotus Pendant that we ordered from World Market waaaaay back when we bought our hallway lights. It was going out of stock and we got the same 25% off deal on it as the other three lights, so it was $112 instead of $149 with free shipping.

Our only gripe upon receiving it was that it didn’t include a light kit (we somehow missed that bullet on their website). Then we noticed that World Market’s light kits only come in black or silver, so we hunted down these two bronze options from Home Depot and Lowe’s. They’re the kind they make so you can pair them with their decorative glass shades (like the ones they show on the packaging) but we thought they could work for this application too (fingers crossed). We liked that they had a few finish options and came with all the other hanging hardware (and a ceiling canopy) that we’d need.

The “aged” finish of the Portfolio brand pendant from Lowe’s (it was $18) was a better match to the fixture, which was lucky because it was the only one that ended up fitting. The ring on the capiz fixture was slightly too small to screw it on normally, so instead it rests on the flared part of the light kit like so:

Once we realized that nesting the cord and shade that way would work, the installation process was pretty straight forward. In fact it might be the quickest light install we’ve done here so far, clocking in at under fifteen minutes yesterday morning. Bingo. Bango. And not once did John poke himself in the face with a metal flower petal. I was not so lucky.

It takes one 60-watt bulb so it’s nice bonus lighting on top of the two bedside lamps that we’ve been surviving with so far in this room (since we’ve lived with only those for over a year, we knew anything on the ceiling was just icing on the wattage cake for us). But can I just tell you how incredibly novel it feels to walk into a bedroom and flip the light on from the doorway. Seriously, it’s almost akin to living without a dishwasher forever and then getting one. Suddenly you feel like royalty.

But let’s switch gears to a quick overview of the whole electrical job. Here’s everything that was accomplished in the three mornings they were here (it was too hot to be in the attic or crawl space later in the day, so they spread out their work across the cooler morning hours):

Update: You guys are asking for more office floor outlet details, so here they are: it was a really simple addition since they could come up from the crawl space. Didn’t take them too long at all. They just wired it up from below and drilled a small hole in the floor from above and popped the outlet cover on. You can see the finished result below:

We got the bill this weekend, which totaled around $1,500. The breakdown was $270 for materials and the rest was labor/time. It was definitely one of the larger electrician bills we’ve received, but we paid around $900 for the lighting in our first kitchen, so getting nine fixtures across six rooms and three new outlets was a lot more work/time, and we were pleasantly surprised to realize that it calculates out to an average of about $100 per item, not including all of the switches they converted or the intercom they terminated. If we had electricians come out to tackle these rooms individually instead of bulking them all, it would likely have been a few hundred bucks per room each time (they’d be in and out of the attic a bunch of times instead of being able to do everything all at once). So efficiency = saved money, especially when you’re paying by the hour.

Besides passing along the try-to-combine-lots-of-jobs-if-you-can tip, this was also a good reminder that it helps to be available if at all possible when this type of work is being done. In this case, it saved us from lots of unnecessary holes in our office ceiling. Thanks to being there, we were able to put our heads together to come up with an alternate wire route than the first one they proposed, which ended up causing a lot less drywall destruction:

Instead of going through multiple joists and making tons of ceiling holes, we realized if the wires were run parallel to the fixture box joist, it could be snaked down that wall, and fed over to the wall switch via the crawl space instead of the ceiling (they’d be down there anyway adding that floor outlet). That option only required one small hole in the ceiling (near the tip of the blue arrow above) instead of nearly ten holes had we gone with the first method. It also meant there would be a few down the wall, but those would have been made near the light switch if we went with the other method anyway, and patching walls holes feels much less perilous to us than ceiling ones anyway (ceilings just tend to catch the light more and show every last imperfection, whereas wall ones are more forgiving).

Another little bonus that we came up with after putting our heads together was gaining this outlet right under the surface of John’s desk:

When the electrician told us a hole would end up around that area as he snaked the wire down, I asked if we could place that hole below the desk line and put an outlet there to fill the hole (instead of having to patch yet another area). He said no problem, and now John can keep his cords out of sight better (the original outlet he was using was behind one of the shelves that we anchored to the wall, so a big power strip had been resting on the floor beneath the desk).

We did the same thing on the wall under the light switch where he was going to have to make a hole anyway. That extra hole-filling outlet meant we could plug in our printer and that lamp without the cords having to snake out to the outlet under the window. So being home and talking through options might add up to more functional outlet/switch placement and less spackling & sanding.

Oh, and that’s a painting of a monster that Clara brought home from art camp last week. I think it’s our new favorite creation of hers, so it might just get a permanent home there eventually. One that doesn’t involve masking tape.

So obviously you’ll be getting some light fixture updates for the office and the rest of those upstairs bedrooms sometime in near (ish?) future as we find fixtures for those spaces. Now if only we could punch our ceilings up a foot or two to give us more options. #8ftceilingproblems