Every once in a while, I am looking for a pendant light and I find the perfect one…only to realize that it is supposed to be hard-wired and I want to be able to plug it in to an outlet. I used to continue my search trying to find the perfect plug-able pendant light until I learned this trick…and it is so easy, you don’t need to be an electrician to make it happen.
Click Next to find out how to convert a hardwire fixture to a plug in pendant.
What You Need
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Lamp cord switch (optional)
Step 1: Prepare the Wire
1. If there is no exposed copper, use the wire stripper to remove about a 1/2″ of the wire outer covering to reveal the copper.
2. If the wire is made up of multiple wires, twist them together to make it easier.
3. Make a hook in the wire end.
Step 2: Attach the Plug
I like this plug design because the wires are screwed onto the casing. This is a more secure design than some of the plugs that are available…if someone happens to pull the cord, the plug should stay attached.
1. Undo the screw on the plug casing and open plug casing.
2. Wrap the hooked wire around one of the screws on the inside of the plug, and tighten the screw.
3. Repeat this process with the wire and screw on the other side of the plug.
4. Make sure the wires are lined up in the slot at the bottom of the plug.
5. Close the plug casing and tighten the screw closed.
6. Plug the light in and make sure that it works.
Step 3: (Optional) Add A Switch
I like to install a switch so that I don’t have to plug and unplug the light every time I want to turn it on and off.
This type of switch works better than than the little ones with the rotating wheel because the wiring is securely attached to the switch…in my experience the little rotating wheel switches are difficult to install and do not always work consistently.
NOTE: Make sure the light is unplugged before doing this step!
1. Cut the hot wire in the location where you want the switch to be. The hot wire will either be black or smooth (not ribbed…you should not feel bumps when you run your finger across it). Strip both ends of the cut wire, twist it and make a hook in the wire similar to step 2 above.
2. Open the switch cover by undoing the screws.
3. Attach one of the cut wires to one of the screws inside the switch and tighten the screw.
4. Repeat the process for the other wire and the other screw.
5. Feed the non-cut wire through the other side of the switch. Then make sure the wires on both ends line up with the open slots at each end of the switch casing.
6. Put the switch casing back together and tighten the screws on the outside.
7. Plug the light back in and test that the switch is working.
Step 4: Hang the Light Fixture
Hang the light fixture from the ceiling with a hook. I usually try to install it close to some curtains so that I can run the cord down behind the curtains where you can’t see it.
Enjoy your new light fixture!
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This post was originally published on October 7, 2015 but was updated with new content on October 21, 2022.