I am planning to add a ceiling-mounted light in one of the corners of a bedroom. Unfortunately, the only power source I could find is from a wall outlet. I do not want to get into the trouble of installing a new raceway/conduit for this light since it is barely 10 Watts anyways.

I want to power this LED through a flexible cord run outside the ceilings and walls with cable clips to the outlet. I also intend this flexible cord to be terminated with a plug so I could remove power from the light and the whole cord as necessary.

Are there any probable code violation or any safety concerns here?

  • i've seen lamps sold like this, often with decorative brass chain and terminated with a plug. They are just lamps code-wise, if you want to clip it to the ceiling and walls to keep the cords out of the way, go for it.
    – dandavis
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


This should be OK, as long as all cords are not in walls or ceiling - i.e., you can't put in a true ceiling fixture and poke the cord up into the ceiling next to the fixture.

However, a better choice may be to use low-voltage LED lighting. You have a small power pack that plugs in to the wall and you connect one or more low-power cables between the power pack and the light fixtures.

There was a question here recently about extensions for IKEA low-voltage lighting. The included cords were, IIRC, 11' long, and extensions were available (the question was about making your own extensions, which was also an option). Low-voltage (typically < 50V) remove a lot of the safety concerns, and regulations, that regular 120V and 240V circuits have.

  • Just curious.. Are you saying the OP can clip flexible, lamp cord, to a ceiling and wall, exposed and not protected, and run it to an outlet?
    – JACK
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 11:53
  • @JACK If you have a factory assembled lamp with a cord, I see no reason you couldn't clip the cord to the wall mount the lamp on the wall or ceiling and plug it in to a receptacle. Commented May 13, 2022 at 16:48
  • Maybe if it as a factory assembled unit but this sounds like a piecemeal project. So you could install a ceiling fan the same way: a cord through the canopy, clipped to the ceiling and down the wall and plugged into an outlet. You can't even have exposed NB cable into a panel without protection. Maybe I'm missing something...
    – JACK
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 17:29
  • 1
    The difference is between permanently installed wiring and stuff you plug in. A ceiling fan, pretty much by definition, must be permanently installed. I do agree that OP's initial question implies a piecemeal project, and that is where it gets a bit messy. I really didn't address the OP's idea directly so much as provide an alternative that avoids the "how do you protect 120V wiring" problem by simply not having 120V wiring. Commented May 13, 2022 at 17:53
  • @JACK I thought the point of having flexible wires exposed is to have them easily visible in case of damage?
    – zaulundbat
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 18:43

It doesn't matter what the wattage is. What matters is the voltage and it's 120 volts. You cannot just staple or clip cord to a ceiling and/or walls. It has to be protected. You will need a cable guard run along the ceiling and down the wall to the outlet. There are numerous types at your home store similar to the one pictured below. they usually come with an adhesive backing and corner fitting.

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  • I don't think you need all this for "portable lamp"s (the kind you plug in). One might want it, but they don't need it.
    – dandavis
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 19:06
  • A problem with this approach is I couldn't think of a way of reducing the tension on the cord especially if the Wiremold used is too wide. With cable clips, it's a little simpler since you could just knot some parts of the cord near one of the clips so the tension isn't only on the terminations.
    – zaulundbat
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 19:18
  • @dandavis You're right about the old "swag chain" lights. They were UL listed and I put up a few in my younger years but the OP is talking about a piecemeal installation: a light mounted on the ceiling, some cord poked into it (no junction box) and plug put on the other end. This was my concern. A swag would be fine.
    – JACK
    Commented May 13, 2022 at 20:36

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