Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How To Swag A Pendant

Its a simple pendant, a large round clear glass sphere with a polished chrome canopy, suspended by a thick black cord - evoking a bit of a modern industrial look.   Its the globe pendant from West Elm, its super stylish and super inexpensive, what's not to love?  

Way back in January when I was just beginning to source items for Brian's Condo, I knew this would be the perfect fixture for  his place, specifically for over his small dining table in his open concept dining/living room/kitchen.  Unfortunately, hundreds of other people love the stylish good looks and low price of this fixture too because the West Elm Toronto store was completely out of stock with the next shipment not expected until mid to late March (completely sold out when it did arrive btw).   Aaaggghh.  But I was determined to get my hands on one of these globe pendants, somehow, someway, afterall there were two of them hanging in the showroom and I only needed one.  But no matter how much begging and pleading and negotiating I did (why do you need two fixtures on display??)  they wouldn't sell me one of the floor models despite how much money I spend in their store and how desperate I was to meet a looming deadline.  

With my trade account I did manage to order one of these lights from the states but it was no easy task.  Don't ever attempt to order things from West Elm online because in Canada you'll get nowhere online ordering without a US shipping address and a US credit card. No problem, I had a US shipping address I could use so next I arranged for payment thru my trade account.   Good news, the fixture was in stock and arrived at my US destination within 2 weeks.  I make regular shopping trips to Buffalo so I picked it up the next time I crossed the border,,,,unfortunately due to my crazy schedule I didn't make it to Buffalo until March but at least I knew the pendant was sitting there, waiting for me to come and get it,,,,so much for my deadline.   *EDIT Nov.2013*  West Elm now ships to Canada thru their website.

Picking up the fixture was an experience in itself, it involved an unmarked warehouse, surrounded by barbed wire and surveillence cameras, hidden amongst a quite residential side street.  I'm not even sure that it was all legit (I mean,,there wasn't a trace of paperwork) I didn't ask any questions, I just grabbed my goods and headed for the border.   It was actually a client of mine who put me on to this place and I owe her a big thank you - its an EXCELLENT service.  

Back at Brian's place he'd gotten used to not having this light fixture and he wasn't planning on hosting any dinner parties anytime soon so there was no panic for it - good thing!  Before we could have it installed I still had to pick-up a filament light bulb for it, these are perfect when you have a completely exposed light bulb and you want that vintage industrial look.  This proved a bit challenging to find as they weren't available at the usual lighting showrooms, but luckily I did find a selection of filament bulbs at Morba who always have a great stock of decorative bulbs.   *EDIT Nov.2013*  Home Depot and many retailers now carry filaments style bulbs.

Next Stop, Home Depot.  I needed to find something to use to swag the pendant over the dining table.  Normally I try to avoid having to swag any light fixture but there are many circumstances where its just unavoidable,,,,condos with concrete ceilings mean you can't relocate junction boxes and often times in houses there are ceiling joists or ductwork in the way, othertimes its just not feasible to make new holes in the ceiling so the light has to be swagged.  I've decided its better to live with the 'swag' then to not have the light fixture where you need it.   Swagging a chandelier is fairly easy, chandeliers typically hang by chains so you can simply install a hook in the ceiling (reinforced to handle the weight) and hang the chain from the hook.  I've never been able to find a good looking hook though, all you can ever find anywhere are the same ugly ceiling hooks they've been selling for 40 years.

Ugly ceiling hook.

This type of ceiling hook wasn't going to work for Brian's pendant.  Never mind the style, this type of hook just doesn't work with pendants because they're normally suspended by cable wire, or a plain electrical cord - there's no chain link to loop over the hook, a plain cord swaged over this type of hook won't hold the fixture in place.  This is a problem I've come across several times but this time I was going to find a solution that would do the job and look good!   I spent a good hour and a half scouring the hardware department at Home Depot in search of something,,,,,,,,the sales associates were not of much help, they directed me to the 'ugly ceiling hook' shown above.  Finally I came across a little device which in theory seemed like it would work so I was all set to give it a try.  My handyman was not as optomistic,  he bought the ugly ceiling hook too just in case (?!), he figured if all else failed he could just loop the cord around the hook.  Ummm,,,,,no he wouldn't I thought, not on my watch.  

This was my solution.  Sorry, the only picture I have is the empty packaging because the installer got ahead of me,,,but I found this device where they sell rope pully's and rope connectors.  I don't know if there's an official name for them, as the package states they're called wire rope clips and are available in various sizes, the 3/16" works perfectly for a pendant cord.  The package comes with 3 pieces, a bent metal loop and 2 adjustable u-shaped clamps.

Here's a photo of the pendant cord with the device attached, you can see the reason for using this is that is creates a loop out of the cord and the clips secure the looped cord in place.  The stainless steel colour of this metal happened to work well with my Globe Pendant because the cap and the canopy on the fixture were polished chrome.

The package comes with 2 of these threaded fasteners but I only wanted to use one and it worked well.  Once the washers on this clip are tightened up, you have a secure loop ready to hang.  This step took about 30 seconds.

Here's a look at the hook we used in the ceiling.  Its a simple metal cup style hook.  The ceiling is concrete and a plug was used to ensure the threads of the hook would hold securely in place, because the plug was red and there were no canopies available for this type of hook we just painted out the end of the plug with white paint and it disappeared.

And voila.  Here's a shot of the installed pendant.  You can see there are still some slight kinks in the cord but those will relax over time.  This Iphone photo actually doesn't do justice, this looked even better in person and the entire loop and hook assembly looked like it was all part of the light fixture's design.

So there you have it, this is my new favorite way to swag a pendant.  I don't suggest this type of hardware will work with all styles of pendants but I think this method works perfectly with an industrial style, or rustic type fixture.  I'm happy to say that Brian is thrilled with his newly installed dining room light,,,,,but wasn't the least bit interested in hearing about how I got done!  

All Photos:  Carol Reed


  1. so funny, I order from US all the time. Kid's stroller, furniture, fabric, shoes, etc. Since we live in Ottawa, the closest border crossing is in Ogdensburg, about 40 min drive, where they have a lovely UPS store that does the same thing, sans barbed wire. We absolutely LOVE the "convenience". Just pay taxes when crossing the border on the way home and you're good to go. I guess we're just those ppl who don't mind driving a bit for things we really want.

  2. thanks for this great idea, I have ordered all the parts online and cannot wait to see results.

  3. Thank you (And thanks to google for finding this post)! I've been wrestling with this dilemma and haven't done anything about it because I didn't want to loop the cord around the traditional swag hooks.

  4. Thank you so much! This was really helpful! The pendant light in our kitchen is way too low, and I didn't know how to fix it without calling in an electrician...this is a MUCH cheaper solution! Much appreciated!!

  5. I just swagged a pendant light above my dining room table today using this technique. Thank you so much. I got the light yesterday and my handyman came today to install it but he was recommending a chain be added to swag it, an idea I was very much against. A quick Google search led to this post and an almost equally quick run to Home Depot resulted in the parts I needed to hang it. My handyman, like yours, was skeptical and even suggested we use a twist tie to tie off the loop rather than the screw closure included, again I overrode him and love how it looks. Again, thank you for a solution that I was worried I wouldn't find.

  6. Hi Arlene - so glad this was helpful to you! Ah,,,those handyman,,,,always a bit skeptical with new methods and gotta keep an eye on them when it comes to the aesthetics,,,,but they come 'round. ; ) ~ C

  7. Hi Carol,

    Thanks for this excellent idea re: swag hook/rope clip. I'm an architect in New York and have been searching for a simple/clean solution to this problem for my own apartment renovation. What masonry hook did you choose for this? Best I could find (so far) is this hook bolt:
    I have the same ceiling condition of plaster+concrete slab, so I was assuming I would go with a typical hook bolt rather than hook + plug. Any thoughts on this?

  8. Thanks for the information. I just used this method to hang a pendant lamp. These metal loops are called cable thimbles. They are used in rigging and can be found in industrial or rigging supply places. I found mine at the bulk hardware section of my local Ace hardware store.

  9. Was it difficult to screw the hook into the ceiling? Im having a hard time with it.

  10. CarolReedInteriorDesignNovember 16, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Hi Keith! No its wasn't difficult at all - the ceilings were concrete, a pilot hole was drilled first and then the plug was gently tapped in with a hammer, and the cup hook screwed in by hand. Its been quite a long time but I remember in many other places in the condo where we had to drill into concrete (for hanging picture frames or wall shelves) we ended up cutting the plugs with a utility knife first so they weren't as long (I can't remember if we needed to do this for the pendant or not). Also I believe the specific drill bits for concrete were used. So this might help in your situation. Good luck with it! ~ C

  11. Hi. I would like to swag my pendant as well, however my condo board does not allow drilling into the concrete ceiling. Can you suggest an alternative to installing a hook in the ceiling without drilling into the ceiling? Thanks.

  12. CarolReedInteriorDesignJanuary 8, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Hi Darrin,
    You should clarify with your building super or building manager what the exactly the drilling restrictions are referring to. What you want to do is screw a hook into the ceiling, drilling a pilot hole the size of a finishing nail, so you can install a small cup hook, something easily removable at any time and fillable with a dab of nail filler. (on this job we didn't even drill in much deeper than 1/4"). Attaching a bracket or hook to a ceiling with a screw is not the same thing as "core drilling" or trenching a concrete ceiling. Core drilling is not allowed in condos, this is when a hole is bored into the concrete from one side to the other, trenching or chaneling out large sections of the concrete to accommodate conduit or plumbing pipes is not allowed either as any of these actions would compromise the slab structure. Its not uncommon to have to install drapery mounting hardware or tracks for track lighting on the ceiling of a condo, requiring you to screw(s) into the ceiling. I've personally never come across a condo bldg that restricted this (and how would they control it?) but I suppose its possible. I would clarify this with them first. ~ C

  13. bought the light and the swag solution thx!!!

  14. Also used this ingenious method to hang my dining room light. The box is about 18 inches away from the wall and totally unusable and the light I bought would look horrible with a chain. Thank you so much!

  15. Has anyone tried this on an adjustable basis? I'm looking for a way to have the pendant be lowered to full length when the dining table is in place, and be swagged to the higher level when the table is moved.

  16. Came across this recently –

  17. Thanks for sharing the Idea, that how we can swag a pendant. This idea will be very helpful for readers. Keep sharing this type of more ideas for readers.


  18. Purchase wonderful decorating light at affordable price that add your home fresh and looking unique and stylish. Decorating lights come in different designs and color, you chose best that replacing an existing Best Design of Ceiling light.


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