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My house is quite old and I'm having trouble installing ceiling lights. Due to the age of the building, proper light fittings (e.g. where I can screw in a light bracket) were never installed. Instead, many rooms have the wire sticking out of the plaster and some kind of metal tube which allows you to hook things on. This works for lights like chandeliers which have hooks, but many lights on the market don't.

My questions are:

  • Are hook-based lights common? Can they be retro-fitted to fit onto a hook?
  • Looking at the photos below, is there an easy way to install a fixture which would allow screw-based ceiling lights to be installed?

I know there must be studs either side of each light, but since this is a rented property, I don't want to be drilling holes to find out. Plus, as you can see, even if I were to find a stud and drill in, I'd need some kind of light fitting that's big enough to fit over the metal pole. Any tips or advice?

pic 1

pic 2

  • Joists, not studs. You can find plenty of "old work" electrical boxes that solve your problem, but you'll need to carefully cut them in and mount them to framing. – isherwood May 25 '17 at 14:59
  • Since it's a rental, I'd ask your landlord. S/he may know more about the construction, and may be willing to do it / have it done for you. Or not, in which case you're stuck with the fixtures you've got :) – mmathis May 25 '17 at 15:59
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Are hook-based lights common?

Not where I live, but Ikea sell them.

Can they be retro-fitted to fit onto a hook?

There's no easy way to adapt light fittings that are prevalent in my part of the world and which are designed to screw into the ceiling.

Of course, typical pendant lamps that hang from an electrical cord or chain would work well with the hook if you remove any ceiling fitting supplied with them. You'd retain that existing connector widget and its covering dome.

is there an easy way to install a fixture which would allow screw-based ceiling lights to be installed?

Not easily, especially in rented property.

If you speak to the property owner, you might be able to arrange a professionally installed solution.

That tube obviously supports sufficient weight for a modest lamp. I can imagine it should be possible to create an adapter - perhaps a wooden disk with a hole that fits over the pipe and is held in place by that bolt (which presumably attaches the hook). You might then be able to screw a normal light fitting to the wooden disk. I've never seen a ready made adapter (but then I've never looked for one).

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