Stylish Plug-In Light Fixtures Ideal for Renters
If you look at any of your favorite room designs (either in person or online), you will likely notice that most use a variety of light sources to illuminate the space and enhance its style. Sconces, lamps, pendants, and other light fixtures are in fact quintessential to a room’s overall aesthetics, adding light, texture, and sculptural details that are hard to achieve otherwise. The bummer thing about stylish light fixtures though is that so many require hardwiring, which presents a significant challenge if you’re a renter or not comfortable tackling electrical wiring. But don’t fret! There are now lots of stylish and affordable plug in light fixtures that can truly transform your space without the need for an electrician!
Style Meets Affordability
I first started down this rabbit hole of plug-in light fixtures while sourcing a basic reading light for my son’s bedroom. Beyond finding one that was super stylish, my other main criteria was that it not be too expensive. I mean…have you seen how expensive light fixtures can get?
In a forever home, I may not stress as much about spending good money on “just the right” light fixture. But since we are perpetual movers as a military family, there is no guarantee we will be able to use a light from one home to the next. Therefor, any light fixture I deem a good candidate for renters must not only be plug-in but also be reasonably priced.
Below, I’ve rounded up a bunch of stylish plug-in light fixtures in two difference categories: Sconces (for mounting to a wall) and Ceiling Lights (for mounting overhead). Additionally, most of the light fixtures I have here are in the $30-$100 range.
I just know you’ll love these awesome plug-in options for elevating the design in any space, temporary or otherwise!
Plug In Sconces
Sconces are small-ish lights that typically attach directly to the wall to provide task or accent lighting. They are often placed over bookcases, alongside bathroom mirrors, and next to or above beds.
While they don’t typically produce enough light to illuminate a whole room, they are great for lighting a small work space, reading corner, or nook; and they are an ideal way to add a light source when floor or table space is unavailable.
Stylish Plug-In Wall Sconces
Below are a bunch of affordable plug-in sconces in a variety of sizes and styles. While some can be hardwired if preferred, all of them come with a plug-in option, meaning that installation only requires attaching the light to the wall (usually with included screws) and plugging the cord into an electrical outlet.
Intrigued by the new “battery operated” wall sconces? See my experience here: Renter Friendly Wall Sconces…Without Hard Wiring or Puck Lights!
Plug In Ceiling Lights
In our experience, most rental homes and apartments don’t have sufficient overhead lighting. But just because you’re a renter or even an electrical-wary home owner, you don’t have to be in the dark! Hanging ceiling lights (e.g., pendants, chandeliers, and even track lighting) is NOT out of the question and something you CAN do (with a bit of creativity!)
Just like with a wall-mounted light fixture, you mainly need 1) hardware to attach the light to the ceiling (which usually comes with the light), and 2) connection to an outlet. But when it comes to ceiling lights, the distance the cord has to run will likely be longer, so an extension cord may also be needed.
Stylish Plug-In Pendant Lights
The term “pendant light” can mean any single fixture that hangs overhead. The collection below represents small pendant lights that would be ideal over kitchen islands or above couch and bedside tables.
Stylish Plug-In Chandeliers
Chandeliers and larger light fixtures are also mounted to the ceiling (usually on hooks or included hardware); but due to their size, they are best over large tables, in entryways, hallways, and large rooms.
Even if you can’t find a plug-in overhead fixture that’s just right for your space, there’s another alternative to consider. You can now buy a plug-in pendant kit to use with any large shade you like for a simple-but-custom look!
How to Deal With Visible Cords on Plug-In Light Fixtures
One of the main advantages to hardwiring light fixtures is that all the wires are on the inside of the wall, producing a cleaner and more professional appearance. Unfortunately, cords are an unavoidable reality with plug-in light fixtures, but there are a few options for dealing with them.
One option is simply to let the cord be (as I did in my son’s room). Depending on the color and length of the cord, you might not really notice it. Typically, a cord that blends in with the wall behind it will be less noticeable.
Make the cord decorative by either hanging it in a fun way or using a colored cord or decorative cord wrap.
Sometimes you can hide a cord behind the edges of furniture, along floor boards, or in wall/ceiling corners using clips, fasteners, Command Strips, or Velcro. In one home, we had attic access and were able to run all the cords from some plug-in pendants to the corner via the attic and then bring them down behind a tall bookshelf (below).
Finally, consider using cord covers to conceal the cord and make the whole arrangement tidier. There are now lots of options for covering cords including paintable white casing (that you can paint to match your wall) or metal casings (which match your light fixture). These covers can be used both on a wall (for sconces) and along a ceiling (for pendants). When done well, these cord covers can look really classy (here is a great example!)
If you’re ready to give this a try, see my full tutorial: How to Hide Cords Without Drilling Through the Wall.
Can You Swap It?
Finally, if your rental already has a hardwired light fixture installed (like over a dining room table or in a foyer), consider swapping it out for something you like more. Sure…you might have to hire a certified electrician, but as long as you have a place to store the original light fixture until you move out, adding your own light choice to an already-wired spot can go a long way in making a space feel more like your own.
(We recently did this my Virginia Office Makeover because the original light fixture was way too big and ugly for our tastes! This Brass Light Fixture with 5 Bulb was an impactful swap that took mere minutes, thanks to the hardwiring being already done!)
I always find that a special or unique light fixture has a transformative effect on a space, and I am so excited there are now lots of great plug-in options to try! Incorporating some fresh lights around our home recently has reminded me, yet again, not to overlook this detail; and I am excited to start incorporating more unique lighting into our future spaces. Whether you are a renter or not, I hope this post gets you thinking about new (temporary!) ways to add more beautiful lights to your home!