In a Jetsons-like future, our homes will have flexible, changeable electrical lights. Moving or adding a light will be an easy project. Until then, we are stuck with our antiquated system of wires sealed up behind drywall.
But there is a selection of ceiling and wall lighting options that feel just as permanent as traditional hard-wired lighting, but without pesky hidden wires.
01 of 04
Pendant lights are single lights that hang by a cord from the ceiling. Typically, this cord is hard-wired directly into the ceiling electrical box.
But what if you don't have a box where you want to locate the pendant? Running new wiring through ceilings is messy and buttoning up ceiling drywall (and mudding and finishing it) is a major pain.
Plug-in pendant lights give you the look and feeling of a hard-wired pendant, all without having to make a single cut into drywall.
Instead, they plug... into your wall outlet, with thin, barely-noticeable wires snaking up the wall and across the ceiling to the designated drop point.
Pure modern lighting in just a few minutes--no cutting of walls and ceilings involved.
02 of 04
Imagine the impossible: a wall switch that turns on a real ceiling light that is powered by your house's electrical system. Yet this switch has no wires that run to the light.
Let's make this even crazier: the light switch has no batteries. It gets its power from the motion of your finger pressing the switch.
Even harder to believe: you can have one switch or as many as three switches, all controlling the same light. And you do not have to worry about funky wiring or buying three-way... switches, like you do with traditional in-wall systems.
This is called the Leviton WSS0S-P0I Wireless Self-Powered Remote. The remote attaches to the outside of the wall--no cutting involved. A radio receiver is wired into your light fixture. When you press the switch, that physical action generates a small amount of electricity which is just enough to power the radio transmitter.
03 of 04
Sconces are small single or double-bulb accent lights that attach to the wall and draw power from in-wall wiring. They attach directly to the electrical box, and their decorative housing covers up the box.
But if you do not want to run power through your wall, you can use an existing wall outlet. An electric cord runs--exposed--from the sconce down to the outlet.
The feature that gives this light permanent status is the cord cover. With some lights, it is a thin metal tube. With other... lights, it is a flat plastic or metal covering (pictured). The back cover screws to the wall, the cord is placed in that section, and then a top cover is snapped on top.
04 of 04
Battery powered interior lights are at the other end of the spectrum from hard-wired lights.
Inexpensive and ultra-easy to install, battery lights are ideal for dark infrequently visited areas like coat closets, pantries, and storage closets. But they also have two problems: they use batteries and they are not very bright.
If you do decide to go this route, at least make sure you are buying a top-quality battery-powered light. The Mr. Beams motion sensor ceiling light shines a healthy 100... lumens to help you find the Campbell's soap or to bring out the cross-country skis for the season.
Though it uses 4 C-cell batteries, energy drain is kept to a minimum because of its miserly LED bulb.
If you live in an area prone to power blackouts, Mr. Beams lights are almost a necessity.