Monday, January 7, 2013

How To Install a Motion-Activated Ceiling Light (With No Wires!)

I have a problem in my condo in that the "bedroom" area has no lighting. There is only the one track lighting fixture in the kitchen and it does a decent job of lighting the kitchen and living room areas, but it just doesn't quite light up the bedroom. Plus, because of an angled wall, my armoire faces away from the light.

This isn't a huge deal in the summer, but in the winter I am rising before the sun and I cannot see into my closet to get my clothes! I definitely needed some lighting over there! Before I painted I had a light kit (a lightbulb on a string) that was hung from the soffit, but that was hardly a classy solution. For a long time I considered hanging something from the ceiling over the bed, but the ceiling is cement and is terrible to drill into.

I had an inspiration the other day though! I was trolling around on Amazon looking for a light that maybe worked by remote and I found this motion activated spotlight called the Mr. Beams MB 980.
Now, clearly this light is far from sexy. But what if I could install a shade over it? Maybe something like the Alang ceiling lamp from Ikea! See, there is space under the soffit for a light shade like that, especially since it is only 6 inches deep, unlike most drum shades. And it had a bottom that would conceal my ugly light!

So I ordered the light from Amazon and it came in 2 days (sweet!). Then this past weekend I went to Ikea and picked up the Alang shade too. I was really really hoping this would work! I actually attached everything to the ceiling with Command Picture Hanging Strips (they work like Velcro). The shade was a bit harder because it only has 3 small tabs that I could connect the strips to. However the shade weighs less than a pound so it was quite secure (the light itself was about a pound or two. The strips were for up to 9 lbs).


However, as you can see in the second photo, I did have to cut a hole in the bottom of the shade because the sensor could not see through the bottom (I actually tested this on the bathroom floor first before installing!). The hole is not noticeable from far away, but it is kind of silly up close, which is why I installed the bottom half way down the shade instead of the bottom.

I then had another idea (it was a weekend of genius for me) and I cut up my old curtain and made a quick cover for the bottom. It disguises the hole quite well and the sensor can still see me!

So basically, every time I walk under the light, it turns on! And it only stays on for 30 seconds if I move away, so it won't drain the batteries and won't stay on long if I get up from bed to use the bathroom or kick out at imaginary monsters at night. Also, the bottom of the shade easily comes out and the light twists off in a second to replace the batteries.

I even made a movie to show you how it works! I am thinking of entering this movie into TIFF, because it of its awesome quality and script

How were your weekends? Besides rigging up this baby, I went to a great dinner party with friends on Friday and on Sunday I went to a bridal show in the city with my bestie! It was nice to spend a full weekend in the city and I think I am finally getting control over this terrible cold I had.


  1. Wow, I'm so impressed with your creativity in installing this light and making it look awesome! Go Casey!

    1. Thanks Jennie! even I was pretty impressed with me on this one. :P

  2. Well you are quite a creative and resourceful little minx. Your light looks great!

    And I love your condo! I am also in the city as you know, and I went back to renting after I sold my house in Whitby in June. My apartment is really not much bigger than your condo, but your condo is about a million times cuter!

    1. Whoops, did not mean to comment under the blogger profile that I didn't even know I had...

    2. I dont even know how to do that? Where in the city did you end up in? Good move on leaving Whitby for Toronto!! haha

  3. That is a very cool light, and thanks for the idea since I'm basically helpless at all things home maintenance :) I clicked over here from blog!


Pin It button on image hover