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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

How to add lighting to a room without wiring: 8 tricks

If hardwired lights are a no-go, there's no need for FOMO with these lighting hacks

Round wall mirror and candle wall lights in white living room with wall panelling

Knowing how to add lighting to a room without wiring will serve you well in many scenarios. The 'big light' has fallen hugely out of favour these days as people want layered lighting to set the mood and create ambience for the space. However, creating soft lighting or adding statement lighting designs to a room used to require an electrician callout and hardwiring which simply isn't practical for many.  Whether you're renting and can't make changes to the wiring, or your budget is tight and won't stretch to the costs of an electrician, or perhaps you have artex ceilings or walls and don't want to drill through them to install new wiring for fear of asbestos, having a few lighting tricks up your sleeve will save the day.  

I regularly restyle my rooms and want to change the position and style of the lighting, so learnt all the best ways to add non-wired lighting along the way. I have a particularly soft spot for wall lights in my living room. Recently, I earmarked a few locations where I really wanted them and got our electrician on the case (naively) thinking it would be an easy job. Wrong! It transpired that the locations I’d picked had a combination of ‘challenging’ factors like solid walls, the need for double insulated light fittings, proximity to the main fuse box (RCD, I think?!), tiled floors above the ceilings in question… you get the idea. So it was back to the drawing board and time to get creative and employ a few 'wire-free' lighting hacks. 

In this post, I'm going to share my top tips for how to add lighting to a room without hardwiring or electricians so you can start cheating too! 

modern neutral room with plug-in lighting

Table lamps and floor lamps offer flexibility in placement and style, providing ample light without the need for electrical work. Plug-in wall sconces and plug-in lights offer convenience and versatility, serving as a great option for illuminating dark rooms or areas. For those seeking a statement piece, arc lamps and plug-in pendants can instantly enhance the ambience of a room without the additional cost of electrical runs or ceiling wiring. Remote-controlled options add ease of use, allowing individuals to adjust lighting levels from anywhere in the room. 

How to add lighting to a room without wiring 8 ways...

Whether illuminating a new space or updating existing lighting, these alternatives provide great ideas for achieving sufficient light and creating a warm glow throughout the entire space, all without the hassle of wiring or high energy bills.

1. Plug-in wall lights

lighting home decor hacks showing plug in wall light

This was a total bargain from the H&M website as it was only £49.99 at the time of purchase and I used a discount code to buy it for £41. I noticed recently that they had snuck the price up to £69.99, which is still not a bad price as the whole light is able to swing left and right so you can position it in the most convenient place to read for example and then swing it back to the wall afterwards.

These are great because…

  • They don’t need batteries

  • You can adapt the colour and strength of the light by varying lightbulbs

  • They can be easily moved around.

  • There are lots of cool options available

The downsides are…

  • They have a visible trailing cable down the wall

  • They need to be installed close to a plug socket (or need an extension lead which means more cables)

  • There isn’t quite the same selection available as for hardwired wall lighting.

2. DIY vase lamp…

I’ve shared this hack before but here’s a reminder in case you haven’t seen it…

I made this fun lamp from a vase I'd bought last year from Dunelm and a ceramic shade I found in a charity shop. I added a remote control battery-operated puck light and it became a small stylish lamp without any cables messing up the look of my built-ins!

I probably had a bit too much fun with this DIY project, but that's the great thing about decorating in your own home you can make it as mad as you like and luckily Mr D approves!

3. Battery-operated puck lights in wall sconces

This little hack just requires normal wall lights that you would usually wire in and a set of remote-controlled, battery-operated puck lights which are readily available from Amazon.

home decor hack light on the wall

The pros

  • You can adapt most wall lights meaning you have a huge selection to pick from (steer away from clear glass styles as you’ll see the puck light through the glass).

  • Battery-operated lights often have a variety of settings meaning you can change the strength of the light each time you turn it on.

  • You can turn it on and off with a remote control giving you flexibility from the comfort of your armchair.

The downsides are that battery-operated lights require batteries (funnily enough) which is an ongoing cost & maintenance consideration and remember not to lose the remote control as they can be tiny!

Here's the (aff) link for the wall lights in case it's useful.

4. Battery-operated puck lights in ceiling bar light

Minimalist kitchen with black ceiling bar light

This is the same idea as for the sconces above but the puck lights are fixed into a ceiling bar light instead. The ceiling bar pictured has light fittings with a smaller diameter than the wall lights earlier so requires a smaller puck light to go inside, here's a suggestion.

Here's the (aff) link for the ceiling bar light in case it's useful as it was a bargain at under £30.

Dark corners and areas without nearby outlets can benefit from puck lights or battery-operated fixtures. These versatile lights can be placed anywhere you need extra light without the hassle of wiring. Stick them under cabinets, inside bookshelves, or along the ceiling joists for ambient or task lighting. Battery-powered options are especially convenient for spaces where electrical access is limited. Look for lights with adjustable colour temperatures to create the perfect ambience for your living room.

5. Plug-In Pendant Lights for Flexibility

plug in pendant lights for lighting without electrical wiring

In a living room lacking ceiling wiring, plug-in pendant lights can be a game-changer. They provide overhead lighting without the need for electrical work. Hang them strategically over specific areas like the dining table or cozy reading corner for targeted illumination. They come in various styles and lengths, allowing you to customize the lighting according to your preferences. Consider options with remote controls for added convenience, and affiliate links can help you find the best deals.

6. String lights for a boho vibe 

rustic living room with string lights

As we saw with campervan lighting ideas, you can transform your living room into a warm and inviting space with string lights. These easy-to-install lights can be draped along walls, wrapped around beams, or hung from the ceiling to add a soft glow to the entire room.

Plug-in string lights are a great option for providing ambient lighting without the need for ceiling wiring. Experiment with different heights and arrangements to elevate your room's aesthetic to the next level. Additionally, consider using a dimmer switch to adjust the brightness and create the perfect atmosphere for any occasion.

7. Battery-operated or rechargeable lights

cordless lamp on garden table

Battery-operated lights are the best option for adding light to rooms without nearby electrical outlets, such as attics or corners of the room or when you don't want trailing power cables. They provide an easy solution for illuminating spaces where electrical wiring or access is challenging, like outdoor lighting or areas without ceiling fixtures. Rechargeable cordless lamps are all the rage at the moment, with many of the larger lighting designers bringing out rechargeable or battery-operated versions of their popular ranges. 

Let me know in the comments if you found any of these tips useful or are going to try them.

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling, and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page).

Where next?

Why not check out some of my other lighting-related posts...


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