These $35 Plug-In Amazon Pendant Lights Saved My Sad, Dark Living Room

published May 24, 2020
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Studio apartment with swagged lights

When I walked into my dream apartment, it was a bright, sunny spring day and light bounced off of every wall. It was in upper Manhattan, cost $1400 a month (sadly, a steal for a studio in the city), and one of my best friends lived two floors above. I signed a lease as quickly as possible and then moved in one evening to almost total darkness. 

All the beautiful light that I remembered was gone in the back half of the apartment; the only lighting was two sad fluorescent bulbs glowing in the kitchen, which didn’t stretch to the depths of my now living room and bedroom areas. I plugged in a lamp and then started looking for a solution that didn’t involve calling an electrician. Luckily, the solve was just an Amazon search away: I purchased two rose gold hanging pendant lights with 15-foot cords that could be just plugged into an outlet.

The lights’ arrival aligned with my dad coming for a visit, and he helped me install them in about 15 minutes. We measured to the center of each “room” within my studio—it’s sectioned off using two couches and a coffee table on one side and my bed, dresser, and an ottoman on the other—and screwed in a small ceiling hook for each to secure them and keep them from swaying or falling. The braided black cords were a bit of an eyesore, so we used white matte gaffer’s tape to cover the area they were strung across the ceiling. We wound one cord around my closet door (and also covered it with white tape) to plug it into a power strip below, while the other was snaked behind my curtains and is only visible for a few inches before being tucked into a two-inch-wide divot that goes across my ceiling, also concealed by tape.

After installing the lights, the only small issue I had was turning them on and off—you have to lean down to find the switches each time. But I came up with a solve for that, too. When I was cleaning one day, I found an old Christmas light remote that I had used to control multiple string lights the previous holiday season. (This set from BN-LINK is a similar model with three plugs controlled by one remote, but if I could do it over, I would get Alexa-enabled, phone-controlled smart plugs instead.)

Now, not only is there light in all parts of my apartment, but I can also turn that glow on and off with the touch of a remote, even when I’m horizontal. I think of them as chicer versions of clap lights, but I won’t hold my applause.