Yes, You Can Make Plug-In Pendant and Sconce Cords Look Pretty Without Hiding Them — Here’s How

published Jan 18, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Kayla Shannon Brooklyn House Tour
Credit: Erin Derby

Anyone renting — or anyone who isn’t down for electrical work, for that matter — knows the struggle of properly lighting a home. While many designers sing the praises of direct and task lighting (table lamps, floor lamps, wall-mounted sconces), the fact remains that sometimes you need quality overhead lighting, especially for areas like kitchens and dining rooms, where you’d like to be able to properly see what you’re doing. If your home isn’t equipped with enough electrical boxes though, you’re forced into thinking of creative solutions.

That’s where plug-in lights come in. Since a home can only accommodate so many floor and table lamps, plug-in pendants and sconces are a great way to hack your way to better visibility indoors without doing serious electrical work. You can swag them from a ceiling with hooks or mount them to walls the same as you would hardwired sconces. Instead of the electrical cords being neatly tucked into a hidden box, though, you’ll need to run the cord to the nearest outlet. A few options exist for dealing with these pesky cords: You can cover them with plastic cord hiders aka cable raceways (which can then be painted to match your walls), leave them as-is and embrace the imperfection, or turn this visible electrical “work” into a deliberate design statement by pairing your chosen lamp with a brightly-colored cord.

Credit: Erin Derby

Kayla Shannon chose the bold route less traveled when it came to the dining area in her Brooklyn apartment, and it’s a genius move in my opinion. Since the entire apartment already features a bevy of punchy hues (hello, lime green dining chairs, terracotta walls, and vibrant blue velvet couch), what’s one more? A jaunty cord fits in even better than you might think.

In fact, the pendant over her dining table is just a simple IKEA shade paired with a bright red cord, but the statement it makes is one of intention. Instead of trying to hide the cord (which, to be fair, is usually pretty visible anyway), the loud color adds an industrial, unapologetic touch to an already unique space. Even better, colored cords don’t cost a ton, and they can really make a difference in the grand scheme of a space. The upshot? Why hide something utilitarian when you can turn it into a decorative moment instead? Well done, Kayla. Well done!