How to Add Sconces Without Electrical
Last week, I showed you the game plan for my mom’s bedroom refresh. Because she is upgrading her 19-year-old mattress, it spurred her to make a few more changes in her bedroom space. You can read all about our refresh plan in this blog post, but here’s a reminder of the few tweaks we’re making.
First, New Nightstands
My mom is the kind of person who likes to take action immediately. Once I had a design in place, she ordered everything that day. (Yep, we are very similar!) Her new nightstands arrived quickly; she put them together right away; and I sold her old ones on Facebook Marketplace. The room was already taking shape and we had only just begun!
I am really pleased with the new nightstands. They were easy to put together and they’re much more proportionate with her low-profile bed. The old wood nightstands were a bit too high and the scale was wrong for the room. These are perfect. Not to mention, I adore the color and brass detailing. With the nightstands in place, we could get the sconces installed…
Our Initial Gameplan
I often use the app Thumbtack to find professionals for odd jobs. (People always ask me how I find pros and this app has actually worked well for me!) I messaged an electrician, whom I’ve used a few times before, and he headed over to my mom’s house to install her sconces.
Because I recently had sconces installed in our bedroom, I assumed this would be a fairly quick project for the electrician and it would cost a few hundred dollars. But we quickly found out that that wasn’t the case.
First, there’s a random outlet cover floating on the wall in my mom’s bedroom. I thought we might be able to install one of the sconces right there, since there was likely electrical behind it. Turns out, it was just low voltage wiring for speakers that must have been there before my mom moved in.
Next, while there was electrical on one side of the bedroom to hook up one sconce – in the form of an outlet behind the nightstand – he wasn’t going to be able to install the other sconce and a switch without cutting into the drywall. And by cutting into the drywall, I mean digging a pathway from one side of the bed to the other, along with another path to the light switch. Yikes. That was going to be a HUGE project, because my mom would then have to hire someone to re-drywall and paint.
My mom called me, sounding defeated, and said we would just have to find some lamps for her new nightstands.
Determined to still use the gorgeous sconces she chose for her room, I asked her if I could try out a sconce hack that I had seen once before. She agreed and I filled her in on what we could do.
While we wouldn’t be able to hardwire the sconces, we could still use battery-operated LED lights inside the sconces to get the look, without the electrical. I would install the sconces into the drywall and then use these puck lights and a remote control so she could still get ambient light from the gorgeous light fixtures.
- Tape Measure
- Stud Finder
- Drywall Anchors
- Drill & Screwdriver
- LED Puck Lights
- Light Bulb Adapter
How to Install Sconces Without Electrical
The first step was to figure out where exactly we wanted to hang each sconce. Usually, I recommend sitting in bed and making sure the sconce isn’t too high. That means you don’t want to see the lightbulb when you’re sitting upright so that you don’t have a glare in your eyes as you read at night.
In this situation, we wanted to try to camouflage the large outlet cover on the wall with the lamp shade, so that determined our positioning. We ended up going 14 inches off the sides of the bed and 20 inches up from the nightstand.
Secure the Backplate
The sconces we chose are traditional sconces, meant to be hardwired into a wall. As you can see, this sconce has a metal backplate that is meant to be attached to an electrical box.
I removed the metal backplate from the sconce and unscrewed the green grounding screw because I didn’t need it for this project. I then checked the wall for studs, in the location where I wanted to attach the sconces. Lucky for me, I hit one stud. For the other area, I used my favorite wall anchors.
I only used two screws to attach the metal backplate to the wall and it was incredibly sturdy. That baby isn’t going anywhere!
Add the Sconce
With the backplate secured, I grabbed the sconce and screwed it on. This is exactly what I would do if it was hardwired, so I was just following the directions that came with the sconce.
I repeated these same steps on the other side until both sconces were secured to the wall over the nightstands.
Prep your Lights
Okay, the hard part is over! Now, time to light those sconces up. I ended up ordering this 3-pack of LED puck lights, after reading lots of reviews online. They’re fairly bright at 55 lumens (remember from this blog post that lumens = brightness) and they come with a remote control. The remote control turns the lights on/off, adjusts the brightness, and it even includes a timer. Pretty cool.
My original plan was to hot glue the puck light to the top of the light bulb adapter, but the puck lights actually came with a round sticky strip, so I decided to use that instead. I simply took the sticky 3M strip, attached it to the back of the puck light, and put it on top of the adapter.
Next, I took my light contraption over to the sconce and twisted it into the light bulb socket.
Jan’s New Bedroom Sconces
It worked like a charm! You would never know that these sconces aren’t hardwired into the wall and that they’re battery-operated! Plus, the sconce camouflages that ugly outlet cover on the wall, which was a win for us. My mom plans to paint the cover the same color as her walls (using my tutorial), so it will look even better after that.
I know the biggest question I’ll receive is about the brightness of the pucks. They do a pretty good job of lighting up the room at night. However, I wouldn’t rely on these to be the sole light source in a space. Instead, they’re good for ambient light at night, when reading and relaxing. And the remote control is super handy!
I’m pretty pleased with our sconce hack. We didn’t have to hire an electrician for an expensive project and we still attained the look we wanted for the space. This is an AMAZING idea if you’re a renter. You can simply install the sconce where you want it and then remove it and take it with you to your next home. If you can hang a picture on a wall, you can do this project!
We are still waiting for a few more items for my mom’s bedroom refresh, but I’m hopeful we can wrap this project up in the coming weeks. We have the nightstands in place and the sconces installed, so we are in the home stretch of this mini-makeover.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.