How to add a light anywhere without electricity

May 13, 2021

This post is all about adding lighting...where you didn't think you could! I used this easy hack on my wall of office built ins. 

If you remember, in our old house it took me forEVER to find the lights I wanted. I finally went with outdoor lights because everything else was crazy expensive:
DIY built ins with lights above

They worked perfectly! 

Thankfully now that sconces have become more popular, they are much more affordable. There are a ton more options now too. 

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I wanted that look again, and found a brass and black sconce I love that I've used before -- you can see it here in our mud/laundry room
Lights without electricity

I used this little hack on that light too! You can find the black sconces here -- they are affordable and you get two in the order. 

Usually when I build bookcases, I have electrical run to the lights to the header. This time, because I know of this lighting trick...I didn't pay for that part. There are pros and cons to this trick so stay tuned for those! 

The trick is using these puck lights inside the fixtures: 
Trick for adding lights without electricity

I used this little hack in our dining area as well -- it's a way to add soft lighting without running electrical
Bookcase lights without electricity

It would have been really difficult to wire them on these skinny shelves, so this trick worked great! Make sure to check out the post to see how I made those specific sconces work! (Hint: it was even easier than what I'm sharing today.)

This time, I needed to secure them to the sconce because it was facing down. ** I've found an even easier and more secure way to do this so I'll share that option first!

I discovered this little hack when working on our laundry and mud room makeover. When we had the cabinets moved, I later noticed that some task lighting would be nice on the new counter. I would have run electrical before I started this project, but I hadn't planned on adding sconces. 

Enter these pretty sconces with the puck lights!: 
lighting black sconce above cabinets

This time though, the sconces had a shade that narrowed a bit too much at the top, so I knew the pucks would probably not fit. 

I noticed something when I was ordering the lights -- as a suggested item at the bottom, it showed these handy outlet adapters
outlet adapters add outlet to light fixture

These are great if you don't have outlets outside, especially for something like holiday lights. You can screw this into your outdoor lights and use them as an outlet instead. Cool, right? 

I decided to use them to make it easier to change out or charge the batteries in our non-electrical light fixtures. And I knew I needed to bridge the gap between where you screw in the bulb and where the shade gets too narrow on our sconces.  

I took some scrap dowel rod, cut it down and spray painted it to match the light. Then glued it on to the adapter: 
adapter hack for lighting without electricity

The spray painting is really not necessary -- I thought we'd be able to see it in there but you can't at all. You'll need to figure out how long you want to cut your dowel, this will depend on your light fixture. 

I glued the parts together with Gorilla Glue, and it's held up awesome! Once it's cured it's SUPER strong. I also used it to attach the bottom of the puck to my little contraption: 
easy way to screw puck lights into fixture

As you can see, I drilled a hole through the wood to run wire through (stay tuned for that in a minute), just for added security. It is not needed though, so if you choose this option you can forego the wire. 

This option makes it super easy to screw in and out, just like a light bulb!:
sconce with puck lights

It has worked so well -- I'm planning on making this change to the sconces in my office. You can see how I first attached them with wire below...

If you don't want to use glue or the adapters, all you'll need is this 24 gauge wire:
How to use puck lights instead of bulbs

The sconces have a part inside that has a small hole. I ran the wire through that: 
Light a sconce without wiring electricity

The back of the puck light has two holes -- you'll need to run the wire through those, then tighten as much as you can:
Hack for lighting without electricity

When it's secure, twist the puck light (with batteries) back on: 
Using puck lights instead of bulb in light fixtures

And that's it! I use the bracket that comes with the light to hang -- just screw it into the wall and hang your light: 
Library bookcase lights without electricity

They look GREAT! I wanted something simple that I could aim toward the shelves, and these work perfectly. 

As you can see here, I angled them so you can't see the light unless you're right under them. The scones have adjustable arms: 
Deep green vintage vogue bookcases using kitchen cabinets

Check out this post to see the steps of the DIY bookcases to this point!

I almost forgot to mention, that little remote in the photo above allows you to operate these without touching them. It has a timer and dimmer option which is great. The timer is key because when I've used puck lighting in the past, we would turn them on and ALWAYS forget to turn them off. The battery ran out quickly because of that. I purchased another puck light remote for this room. 

There are pros and cons to these little puck lights: 

  • Using this hack is MUCH cheaper than running electrical. 
  • You can use them anywhere so it opens up so many possibilities.
  • The puck lights give off a decent amount of light. 
  • You can do this with regular light fixtures (where the lights are enclosed) as well -- not just sconces! 
  • The light is not as bright as normal bulbs. I'd compare it to somewhere between at 25-40 watt bulb.
  • The remote isn't quite as convenient as a light switch.
  • The puck lights aren't as attractive as a bulb. 
For me, the convenience far outweighs the cons. If I have an outlet below (to run wiring) and a good spot for a light switch nearby, I'll still opt for having it wired. But this is a great option for bigger projects like this that would cost more to have an electrician add. 

The items I used for this lighting hack: 

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  1. Great idea! I have some antique sconces that I can’t commit to putting anywhere because of the wiring ~ this makes them practically portable! Thanks.

  2. How difficult it is to change the batteries when the puck light is wired into place? Any of the puck lights I have seen require access to the back of the light

  3. I love how a simple light fixture changes the entire look of the room. Great post! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  4. I used this idea but instead of wiring I used velcro.I purchased a cheap puck light at HD to see if I liked how it looked before purchasing the lights you recommended.I also spray painted the puck light black so it blends in with my sconce.Well I love it!It is a nice accent light and when we lose power in the winter it will come in very handy.

  5. This is such a cheap and pretty alternative when the lights only need to be on occasionally. Timers are good things. Good job!

  6. This is absolutely brilliant. Your creativity amazes me 👍 Love it and going to do it in my home. Thank for the great hack. ♥

  7. This is so smart! Thanks for the idea!!

  8. After I read your previous post about adding light anywhere, I ran out and bought several packages of the puck lights. I have an antique oil lamp chandelier in my dining room that could never be "lit" with oil (smoked like crazy and discolored ceilings). The lights sit nicely on top of the wick channels. Thanks for the idea - so happy we can use our family heirloom again!

  9. Great idea! You are very creative. One question though - how often do you need to replace batteries for the plucks?


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