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Ask a Professional: I Need a New Ceiling Lamp!

Hi Casa,

I'm in desperate need of help. I'm redecorating my living room and need to find a cool ceiling lamp fixture. There is one annoying condition: the lamp has to have a pull cord because the fixture is not attached to a light switch. I'm really loving the French/modern look right now. Any recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated.


For this question, I consulted Jeff Smith, who owns and operates EarthFirst Electric, an environmentally conscious electrical company in San Francisco. To see his answer,


Hi Chi,

Yes, there is an option for you! There are wireless switches that can control your fixture. It would be to your advantage to choose a fixture that has a fair amount of canopy space — i.e. the part of the fixture that covers the ceiling. Ideally, it works well if you have enough space that you could fit a deck of cards between the fixture canopy and the wire junction box in the ceiling (the box that holds the wires for the fixture). The box in the ceiling receives a radio frequency signal from the wireless switch, eliminating the need for the pull cord. Wireless switches range in price from 50-200 dollars. The more expensive ones allow for dimming capacity.

If you're based in the SF Bay Area, you can contact me for more information.

Good luck,


Thanks for the information, Jeff! To add my two cents, Chi, I've found some pretty pendant lamps and ceiling fixtures that might just work for your style, and here's one of those wireless fixtures that Jeff mentioned. I hope these help. I chose some fixtures that were in the French/modern category, and others that would be the easiest, and most practical, to implement if you follow Jeff's smart advice. There are other pendants that would need some rewiring in order to accommodate them, but luckily you have an electrician who already knows your issue, and who's on the job!


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