Our front room (living room/foyer) is the only room in the house without an overhead light and no light switch near the entry way to turn on an outlet. When it’s dark and you come in the front door, you can turn on the porch light to light your way, or fumble around between the couch and the radiator for the lamp switch. We were not liking this. But tearing up the wall and ceiling to wire up a new switch is just not in the budget. What was in the budget was a DIY-solution. And of course, we made it as eco-friendly as possible.
First, we found at the hardware store a wireless outlet switch. These are great options when you want the ability to turn any plugged in light in a room into a switch control one.
While slightly uglier and thicker than a normal light switch plate (to accommodate the wireless transceiver and the battery that powers it) it is not completely obvious. (We bought something similar to this one, but not this model… I can’t find ours.) You plug the lamp you want controlled by the switch into the outlet adapter that contains the wireless receiver. Once the switch is flipped to ‘on’ electricity is allowed to flow from the wall into the plug and your light goes on. As for the light, we decided that we wanted to make one, and make it pretty, as a cord was going to be visible snaking up the wall from the outlet to the ceiling… and most other swag light options I was seeing weren’t great.
So we got to making. As we do. We bought a length of yellow-wrapped cord and wire bulb cage from Color Cord. The plug and socket were from the hardware store. A few snips and wire strips and we had a functional working light. While I really wanted a vintage-looking ‘Edison’ bulb, those are outlawed in this house (grumble grumble) because Damon works for an LED light company (grumble grumble) and because energy efficiency (grumble grumble). See, even a self-professed eco-whacko like myself wants to occasionally forgo the most eco-friendly option for the sake of design. But I lost this battle, and the light still looks great.
As this is in the entry way of the house and sets the tone for what our whole ‘thing’ is about, I wanted to suspend and loop our light through a branch. Not going to lie- it was kinda hard finding a branch. Especially with all the branches around these parts covered under a foot of snow. So I bought a manzanita branch from this Etsy seller. In the end, this really was the right decision as manzanita trees are oily and thus the wood won’t dry and crack over time. They also have a nice smooth finish when the bark is stripped off. For a while I was considering spray painting it a metallic color, which I think would make it look like something you’d buy at West Elm, but I think I’ll leave branchy (that’s his name-duh) au naturale for now.
Hanging it was a pain. One hook was drilled into the ceiling right next to the wall to guide the cord up from the plug. Another hook went in the middle of our entry way area, which suspended the light where we wanted it. We looped the cord a little through the branch itself, both for support and aesthetics. Next, using two smaller hooks and some thin jewelry thread (20 pound test- or fishing line) we stabilized and hung the branch from the ceiling. It took a lot of playing with it to make it even. It was getting late, our hands were up above our heads fiddling knots for an hour, it was frustrating, but as soon as it was done and we stepped back, we instantly loved it.
And our entry way is looking more like an entry way. Coming home from work, it was so great to be greeted by a functional and beautiful light that we made ourselves. (Oh, and don’t mind the slap-dash thrown up art on the wall held up by green lab tape, we’re in the process of filling in that wall.) Over all the project was pricier than we wanted, but mainly due to winter-time keeping us from foraging our own stick. (Cord & light cage: ~40$. Wireless outlet control: ~ 20$. Branch: ~35$…mostly shipping cost. Plug & socket: ~5$) But compared to what nice statement ceiling lights are (or the price of adding an outlet and electricity up there) I think we made off pretty well. Plus, it’s something that no one else has and will be a great way to welcome guests into our home.