Most interior designers agree that one of the best ways to change the feel of a room is through lighting. But, if you’re working with uncomfortably bright overhead lights or poorly placed outlets, options might seem limited, unless you can hire a pro.
Lucky for us, in the age of easy DIY hacks, suggestions abound for ways to add lighting without calling an electrician. Whether you're adding lights or working with what you already have, we're sure these hacks are the way to create the ambiance of your dreams.
Install a Dimmer
Dimmer switches seem intimidating, but they’re very easy to install. However, if you’re not comfortable installing them yourself, you can still hire a handyperson instead of a professional electrician, which could help save on costs. Interior designer Amy Youngblood definitely encourages it.
"Lighting is a bigger deal in your space than you'd think," Youngblood says. “Having the appropriate amount of lighting makes a big difference. For example, general overhead lighting can be put on a dimmer to appropriately give your room the overall look and feel you want, depending upon the mood or time of day."
TREATLIFE Smart Dimmer Switch 4 Pack
Add Lights to the Places You Can’t Hardwire
As Sheva Knopfler, co-founder, decor expert, and creative director of Lights.com, notes, “People often overlook lighting in places where they cannot hardwire. Sometimes, it’s just a closet or a hallway, but other times it can be a functional space like a bedroom or office. You shouldn’t give up on fabulous lighting just because you can’t hardwire.”
TikTok user @laurenmariiiie certainly didn’t let it stop her with this easy bathroom vanity project. Using LED strip lights, she created a whole new vibe in her bathroom using battery-operated strip lights. Other users get the same effect with puck lights—which Youngblood notes are ideal for any under-cabinet solutions.
"Lighting found under cabinets and spotlights on pieces of artwork are often forgotten,” Youngblood notes. “This type of lighting not only gives your space ambiance but also attention to items you want to highlight."
Brilliant Evolution LED White Wireless Under Cabinet Light
Choose a Plug-In Sconce
Wall sconces have become increasingly popular, but hiding wires inside walls is almost always a pro-job. As an alternative, however, you can either embrace the wire and pick a wall light that incorporates it into the design or use battery-operated puck lights as an ingenious hack.
“One of my favorite and easy ways to add lighting is utilizing sconces,” Drew Scott of Lone Fox Home says. “Instead of having to deal with wiring or an electrician, you can add puck lights to the sconces in place of light bulbs."
A puck light is a bright, round LED light that's easily mounted to the surface of an object and is operated with a remote—or even with an app on your phone. They are easily found on Amazon or at your local hardware store.
"I actually have 2 sconces in my bedroom that both have puck lights, and no one would ever know," Scott continues. "You have additional lighting and can add fun fixtures around your home.”
Cadrim Puck Lights
Use Speciality Light Bulbs
As Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin points out, fixing a room's lighting design can seriously be as simple as picking the right bulb.
“We just installed TUO lights for a client worried about their circadian rhythm," she explains. "They are just light bulbs that you can screw in yourself—super simple. The same goes with red light therapy bulbs or bulbs that change from warm to cool.”
TUO LED Smart Bulb
Upgrade Your Ceiling Lights
Overhead lighting might seem like an impossible thing to upgrade easily, but Low assures us that’s not true.
“Get a light kit on your ceiling fan, or do a swag with a hanging light,” she suggests. “When swagging and hanging a ceiling light, always make sure you adjust the length and connect to a ceiling mount. You will want to hold the cord in place and screw it in. Then, just screw in your bulb and you're ready to go.”
Licperron Industrial Pendant Light
Set the Mood with Candelight
Burning a ton of candles doesn’t exactly require an electrician, but it might not be a viable solution to impacting your room's ambiance. Knopfler suggests leaning into the look of candlelight without the potential dangers.
“Nothing sets the mood of a room like candlelight,” she says. “LED candles are ideal for romantic candlelit ambiance without dangerous flames or messy wax drippings. The best part? They’ll last forever!”
Lights.com Signature White Flameless 3x6" Melted-Edge Wax Pillar Candle
Don’t Ignore the Great Outdoors
“Hard-wiring lights can be difficult and pricey for your outdoor space,” Knopfler says. But, you don’t need to call an electrician to install expensive outdoor plug options. Instead, go solar—it’s cheaper and more eco-friendly.
“We recommend solar lights for outdoor lighting that won’t run up your electric bill,” Knopfler says. “Solar bricks are great for porch steps, gardens, and pathways for safety and style through the night. Solar lanterns can be placed by the door for extra lighting at night, and they will elevate your porch decor while it charges during the day, and string lights are a romantic option for ‘overhead’ lighting on your porch or balcony.”