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How to Swag a Light Fixture

How to Swag a Light Fixture


Do you have a chandelier that is a little “off” in your dining room? Do you curse the electrician that didn’t bother to think about centering a hanging light fixture? Yeah, me too! I  had this problem in our laundry room.

Granted, “most people” don’t hang chandeliers in their laundry room, but I wanted to do it. Except there was one problem. The confounded light fixture box was no where near centered on the room or the washer and dryer. Grrrr.

How to Swag a Light Fixture

No worries, if you have enough wire and chain, you can simply swag your light fixture by installing a ceiling hook.


How to Swag a Light Fixture

  • Flashlight
  • Straight Pin
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Ceiling hook (screw in type)

Difficulty: Easy

How to Swag a Light Fixture Instructions:

The first and most important thing you have to do is locate the studs or ceiling joists.

Start by taking the flashlight and peeking beside the fixture box. Typically ceiling fixtures are mounted to a stud. But, some may have a brace installed (this is the case if the electrical box was installed with the intent of holding the weight of a ceiling fan or other heavy light fixture.)

How to Swag a Light Fixture

In my case, the joist was right there (see photo above.) Locate the direction the joist runs, and then measure 16″ out from the joist on either side. This is a good location to start looking for another stud.

How to Swag a Light Fixture

(I do have a stud finder, but half the time I can’t find the stud finder. Yes, I probably need a stud finder finder!) Next try rapping your knuckle on the ceiling around where the next stud should be. If it helps, close your eyes and feel for solid wood under the drywall as you knock. When you think you found that elusive stud, use the pin trick.

Insert a straight pin. If it goes all the way in, there is no stud there. If it goes in a little bit and then stops no matter how much you try to force it in, you found yourself a stud (let’s hope he’s a well mannered guy as well. Ha ha ha.)

How to Swag a Light Fixture

Take your ceiling hook and screw it into the hole where your pin was. Pull down to test the strength.

How to Swag a Light Fixture

Hang your chandelier onto the hook at the desired height.

How to Swag a Light Fixture

Rewire your fixture to the electrical box (you can follow my tutorial for installing a light fixture if you need to.)

Voila! You now have a chandelier hanging exactly where you want it.

How to Swag a Light Fixture

Do you like my adorable sunny yellow chandelier? Would you believe that she used to be a dated brass chandy? Do you have a Habitat ReStore near you? Check them out for inexpensive light fixtures.

How to Swag a Light Fixture

See y’all later!

How to Swag a Light Fixture


33 replies
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  1. Maria
    Maria says:

    “I do have a stud finder, but half the time I can’t find the stud finder. Yes, I probably need a stud finder finder!” Girl, you had me laughing for a while.
    Was online looking for instructions on how to swag a chandelier. Moving to a house with exactly the same problem. My husband laughed when I told him that a man must have done it. They somehow do not care if things a centered or not, my 10 year old heard me and sad it does not make a difference. See? He is a future non centering installer. My own son!!! LOL Also the medicine cabinet is off center above the sink, INCREDIBLE!
    Have a lovely, blessed day !

  2. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Your chandelier totally looks like Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast. ^_^
    It’s most noticeable in the photo where the light is hanging from the hook but the electrical is just dangling down.

  3. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    I need help! We are moving and my girl’s room doesn’t have a ceiling light. I am looking for a fun girly lamp shade(that’s $50 or less) that will fit on a swag kit that plugs into the wall outlet and a swag kit that will plug into a wall outlet. I really hope someone can help!

  4. Emilytwinmom
    Emilytwinmom says:

    I love your site!! Quick question – the original light looks like the wires and chain are much shorter than your end result, how did you lengthen them?

  5. Candice
    Candice says:

    I did this same thing to a Goodwill find a few year’s ago. I painted mine flat black. Spent a total of maybe $10 for the light and paint. I still love it.

  6. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    I put a new chandelier in my dining room a few months ago to replace a lovely 80s gold special. It needs to be swagged since the fixture is off-center but I’ve put it off this whole time because my stud finder is broken. I’ll try the pin trick this week! My boyfriend can finally stop hitting his head (since it hangs right over his chair). I also look forward to seeing your tutorial on refinishing that old chandelier. I would love to do that to the one I took down, and put it in my bedroom.

  7. seansmom
    seansmom says:

    We had the same problem in the bathroom in our guesthouse. The only electrical box was over to one side above the sink while the rest of the room was dark. We solved our problem the same way you did….by swagging a chandelier over to the middle. The only problem we ran in to was the old plaster(the house was built in the 1880’s). Don’t know what they used to make it, but that stuff is like hammering into iron! Even nails bent when we tried finding a stud!!

  8. Felicia Kramer
    Felicia Kramer says:

    You hit on one of my pet peeves: finding studs. (The wood kind, not the guy kind!) They are SUPPOSED to be on 16″ centers … HA! Some builders must not know how to measure. And maybe I’m just a weakling, but I don’t know how you can push a straight pin in the wall. I tried that, and the pin gave up before the wall did. Hmmmm … anyway, love your laundry room!

    • Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl)
      Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) says:

      Oh Felicia, yes, that can be annoying. If you have a much older house they can be less standard and can be as wide as 24″ apart. That plus, if you think about it, if you are building a wall or ceiling, you room won’t always be devisable by 16″ so there may be a stud that is closer near the walls. Do you have lathe and plaster walls? That would be another issue with finding studs.


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  1. […] other day I showed you how to swag a chandelier. I think many of you fell in love with my sunny yellow light fixture (painted Summer Squash by […]

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