I recently moved into a new place. The master bedroom has a unused junction box in the ceiling and a wall switch that is definitely hooked up to one wall outlet (both top and bottom). I figured, a ceiling fixture would be best overall for the room, so I bought and installed a basic ceiling light fixture.

I was assuming the switch was also connected to the ceiling. Do I have any possible ways to remedy the situation (while still using a ceiling fixture)?

  • Can you post photos of the insides of the various boxes involved? Also, is the ceiling junction box simply always hot, or is it switched as well? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 13 '16 at 0:13
  • The ceiling is always hot. I won't be able to post pics until tomorrow night. Really the ceiling and the wall switch are the only things in question – Shatnerz Dec 13 '16 at 0:21
  • Went to get some photos of the switch. The wires seems way too short. There is practically nothing to work with. I suppose I'll just throw in the towel and plug a damn lamp into the switched outlet. What an odd way to wire a bedroom – Shatnerz Dec 13 '16 at 5:14
  • Are you saying you can't get the switch out of the box to begin with because the wires are that short? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 13 '16 at 5:22
  • They are much shorter and stiffer than I would expect. I could probably pull it out, just not easily – Shatnerz Dec 13 '16 at 5:44

If it's a rental, some places will not install overhead fixtures in the bedrooms. There's a couple of ways to play this

  1. Add a surface mount box extender from the existing ceiling box and surface mount wire conduit. Run this to a surface mount switch on the wall and you're set.
  2. Buy some lamp cord, an outlet, and electrical staples that fit said cord. This is not code, but I've taken the cord, run it to where I need to mount the fixture (in my case, into the ceiling), wired it up, stapled it to the wall to keep it out of the way and plugged it into the switched outlet. Because you have both a plug and switch, it's not terribly unsafe (I had a ceiling fan I put in an apartment this way). It's not kosher without a box, tho.
  • May I ask why someone would have a ceiling box with no switches. It just seems odd to me? Does code require a box in the ceiling and is it cheaper to just not wire it to a switch? – Shatnerz Dec 13 '16 at 4:27
  • In my case, I lived in an apartment with no overhead fixtures. My bedroom was upstairs and lack of air movement was a problem. By using a lamp wire, I was able to mount a ceiling fan to the joist and plug it into the wall. Installing a box would have made the fan too low for the ceiling (and looked silly). Instead, I just nutted the wires to the lamp cord inside the housing. With the staples holding the cord in place, it worked great for nearly 2 years. – Machavity Dec 13 '16 at 13:27
  • Another option would be to install a swag lamp which is cord connected lamp hung from the ceiling on a chain with the cord ran through a hook hung chain. This is permitted by code. Except in closets or above a bathtub. – Dan D. Jan 13 '17 at 16:39
  • @Shatnerz because someone wanted a ceiling fan after the wall and electrical was done? Typically a fan comes with a pull trigger, so it's OK to hardwire it. You don't need to open walls and drill holes in wall headers. – Igor Katkov Apr 21 '17 at 23:26
  • The ceiling box may be switched. I asked for a picture of the ceiling box wiring. Also pictures of the switched outlet, but OP stated it would be difficult to put the outlet out. Plus we don't know how OP wired the light fixture in the ceiling, nor how many set of wires are in that box. – Programmer66 Apr 9 '20 at 17:26

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