How to convert hard wired light fixtures into a plug in
Do you have a sconce or a light fixture but no electrical receptacle for it? Read on as I share how to convert hard wired light fixtures into a plug in fixture using one switch!
Remember back when I built the custom library wall unit in my living room? Click HERE to see the full tutorial for my built in Bookshelves. Well I used this handy trick to install 3 hardwired sconces to the bookcase. The lights really finish the bookcase off and give it that custom look! They even turn on and off with one switch… and I’ll explain how!
Its actually really really easy, although I have to throw in a DISCLAIMER that I am NOT an electrician. I may be a gal with some handy skills, but I am certainly not a certified electrician. This project is completely at your own rick and I take absolutely no responsibility for any crazy mishaps you may have. BE CAREFUL… and consult a certified electrician if you have any questions or concerns.
Whew! Now that I got that out of the way, lets move on to the tutorial.
- Wire cutters & strippers
- Extension cord
- Electrical tape
- Wire nuts (wire connectors)
- power strip with a remote (If attaching more then one light to a switch like I did)
- Hard wire light fixture. I got my sconces HERE
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Click HERE If you want more fun lighting options like mine. I have a whole round up of great hardwired lights ranging from $25-$50.
How to convert a hard wire light fixture into a plug in
Step One: Prepare your light fixture and gather your supplies.
Step Two: Remove the female end of the extension cord using wire cutters. The female end is the plug in side…where another plug is inserted. (Now you know why its called female lol)
Step Three: Determine the length you want your cord to reach. My cords had to be quite long (I did 3 cords 15 ft in length- 3 light) and I hid them inside the library unit. If yours will not be concealed by a bookshelf or furniture, I would suggest hiding the wires behind some Cord covers found HERE. This will give the overall look a cleaner finish.
Step Four: Strip the cord casing off the extension cord exposing about a 1/2 inch of wire. My extension cord had the 2 different wires encased separately (as shown above). I simply cut the cord down the middle about 1 inch the used my fingers to pry the 2 wires apart another 2-3 inches. Then I stripped each wire individually.
Step Five: Connect the wires of the light fixture to the extension cord wires.
My light fixture had 2 wires, one black and one white wire. Usually if you are wiring a regular fixture you match the black to black wires and white to white… but in this case my extension cord came with two white wrapped wires so I didn’t have that colour guidance. Hold the ends of the matching wires together so they are parallel and then twist them clockwise using your fingers.
Step Six: Thread the connected wires into a twist-on wire nut, making sure that all the exposed wire is covered by the nut.
Step Seven: Test your new light! Plug in the extension cord (aka your new light) into the wall socket to ensure it is working. Yay… We have light!
How to Mount the hard wire lights and attach them to the Remote control Power strip
- If you have just completed steps 1-7 and plan to mount your light fixture to a bookcase or furniture piece like me, Keep reading. You will need to detach your extension cord wires from the light fixture wires to mount your light fixture. It’s always good to know everything is working correctly before you mount the light! Once you have separated your wires, continue!
Step One: Detach the metal mounting bracket from the back of the light fixture.
Step Two: Mark the screw holes on the wall or unit you will be mounting the light too. Make sure your screw holes are level ahead of time. Using a level I drew a line where I wanted my light to hang and marked my screw holes accordingly.
Step Three: Drill 3 holes. The middle hole is where the wires from the light fixture will go through. The 2 side holes are the screw holes where the light will be mounted to the metal mount and wall unit (bookcase).
Step Four: Attach the metal mount to the backside of the bookcase or wall unit. I’ve attached the screws to the metal bracket then threaded the screws from the back of the bookcase to the front. You can see just the screws from the front like shown below. The second photo is taken from the back side of the unit. Bad photo sorry.
Step Five: Mount the light fixture. Thread the light fixture wires through the center hole and screw on the mounting nuts to the mounting screws.
Step Six: Twist and attach Light fixture wires to matching extension cord wires (on the back side of wall unit) and screw on wire nuts. (Basically repeat steps Five & six from above tutorial). Wrap each nut and wire with electrical tape to ensure they do not separate over time.
Step Seven: Gather your extension cords into one place and plug into your power strip. Follow the set-up instructions on your power strip to activate the remote control to your power strip.
Step Seven: Turn your lights off and On and enjoy your handy work!
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If you found this tutorial helpful, please pin the image below to remember it. Lighting is such a great way to take a well designed space to the next level! Converting Hard wire lights into plug in lights is such a cost effective way of making that happen! For more tutorials and DIY’s, and design ideas, be sure to subscribe to my blog to have all of my handy tricks sent right to your in box! And if you’d like to follow the day to day around my house you can find me HERE on Instagram!
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Hi there! LOVE THIS. Where did you get the shelving/built in?
Hi Ashley, I shared the link to my bookcases right at the beginning of this post. Click over and check out the tutorial. It will give you all the sources! Thanks for stopping in
Stunning! Could you re-tag the extension cord concealer that you recommend using, the link did not work.
Hi Latawnie, I just updated the link for the cord cover on my blog. Sorry about that and thanks
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I’m using your billy hack as my inspiration for my own library/billy hack and I want to add the lights just as you did so this is so helpful. Thanks for the inspiration!
Hi Heather I’m so glad you found my ikea hack as an inspiration. Good luck on the wiring…its so simple really. Also I’d love it if you pinned the images and marked them as “tried it”. Thank helps me out too. Thanks and can’t wait to see your finished product!!!
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