Hanging in There: Let There Be Light! – Part 2

Once my new Pottery Barn light fixture arrived I couldn’t wait to get it on the wall!

The only prep I needed to do before beginning installation was deciding where exactly to install it. IMG_1443a

This was decided by a few key factors:

  • Needs to be centered over the table (even after we add a nursery and shift things around).
  • Needs to be high enough to shine light over entire the table, without being in direct conversation sight lines.
  • Cord must reach outlet underneath table. (This limits the ultimate height).
  • If possible avoid showcasing awkward wall creases.

The last one might require some explanation. For some reason our building (a 43 story high-rise) shifts in the wind and the seams between our drywall seem to bow into the room. We we first moved in, they were cracked from floor to ceiling and we had our contractors retape/mud/and paint them, but they still present themselves when the lighting is just right. (I promise to show you a picture later on).

My solution for this was to place the fixture exactly on top of one of these lines and hopefully distract the eye toward the light and away from the line.

I had a little trouble connecting the two L-shaped metal portions of the lamp. I simply needed to pull the cloth-covered electrical cord through one pipe to make them touch (A to D pictured below), but my cord seemed pretty twisted and didn’t want to close the gap. I was able to get it eventually…but you’ll see in these photos that my cord still appears pretty twisted. (This is no longer an issue as the cord gradually relaxed, but it was pretty disconcerting on installation day!).

I plugged in the light (so I didn’t get too far from the outlet) and used the template (for the plate they provided) to mark my targets. I made sure to get the marks level so that the lamp wouldn’t be hanging on a diagonal.

These were the directions (which could have been a little more clear, but they got the job done) and the drywall anchors that came with the fixture.

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You might remember that I’ve had a little trouble with drywall anchors in the past (see Here). I was determined not to repeat history with this project.

Using the knowledge I gained from my last experience I decided to start the drywall anchors by hand (a screwdriver fits right inside them) and finish them (NOT TOO TIGHTLY) with the force of the drill. Another advantage of hand starting your anchors is that you are sure to get them right on the marks you carefully mapped out and made level.

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I screwed them in by hand until about this point, and then used my screw driver bit on my drill to make the anchor flush with the wall.

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The wall seemed pretty unhappy to accept these guys, but since the decorative plate was going to cover them anyway, the weird wrinkling wasn’t a major issue.

Anchor #2:

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Then I decided to clean up the top screw…

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I saw that it was going to tear the drywall so I just left it. I could have pulled out the x-acto knife, but since I was adding the plate, I wasn’t too concerned.

The next part was definitely the most important…and the trickiest.

Screwing the drywall screws into the plate is obviously easy, but making sure that the plate was level was a headache. Even though I had precisely measured to ensure a level fixture, the plate had wiggle room to allow others who didn’t measure as carefully to make adjustments. This also meant, that I needed to wiggle my screws to the exact middle (if I’d done a perfect job earlier) to ensure proper alignment.

I used the screw tips that were inserted from the back to measure my level-ness this time (figuring that the plate was made “square” and if it was level horizontally, that it would also be in line vertically).

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Next it was time to lift the fixture and cover the silver plate with the decorate plate using the threaded decorative caps provided. It was terrifying to let go, but I knew my anchors were solid.

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The directions said that I could be finished at this point if I was happy with the way my fixture was hanging. (In the Pottery Barn Catalog they skipped this next step).

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But, unfortunately, despite all my attention to detail my little fixture wanted to lean to the left. They included this stopper just to prevent the problem I was encountering.

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I saw the difference between where my lamp was hanging and where I wanted it to hang, and I added the stopper to hold the metal end right where I wanted it.

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As you can see, this did NOT solve my problem. My lamp still wanted to lean to the left! In fact, when I left it alone to contemplate solutions, it rolled right off the stopper! Lovely.

Here was my solution: (distract distract distract…and COVER IT UP!)

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I let my little light fixture rest next to the stopper (I guess it was still effectively “stopping” the light from moving…grr). I tried coloring the screw inside the fixture with a sharpie, but I still didn’t like the way the empty stopper looked on the wall. So I decided to cover it up with artwork.

I took a piece from across the room and managed to find two nails long enough to securely hold in the wall, but still reach the frame over the stopper. As you can see (above), I did not get it right the first time. Better too low than too high – because then your holes are hidden!

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I thought about adding some of the other art from across the room, but I didn’t have quite the right balance of frames and I definitely didn’t have enough arms to make sure I liked it before I put holes all over the place.

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Maybe when we shift things around for the nursery this wall will gain a full gallery of black and white prints. Thankfully, I’m happy with just the one for now.

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Now for those awkward wall lines that I promised… (See what I mean?! Weird. At least I distracted from one of them!)

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It even looks nice in the daylight.

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I tried adding an Edison bulb the other day, but the light was oddly blinding (even with a dimmer) and yet too yellow at the same time. I think I could choose a better bulb eventually, but this is working wonders for now.

Without it, we never could have cut our gender reveal cake anywhere but the kitchen counter!!

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P.S. It’s a BOY!

One thought on “Hanging in There: Let There Be Light! – Part 2

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