How to Install a Picture Light Without Hardwiring

Two ways to install a picture light without the need for electricity or hiring an electrician for hardwiring so you can easily display art in any room.

One of my absolute favorite things to add to a room to give it TONS of personality is art. A painting or a dynamic photograph just breathes heart and soul into a space! I’ve mentioned before where to find free antique art from online archives and where to buy inexpensive vintage art from online shops before.

But do you know the thing that makes that charming, inexpensive art look luxurious and important?

A picture light (or an art light… whatever you want to call it).

how to install a picture light without an electrician graphic

Why Hardwired Picture Lights Aren’t Always the Best Option

The problem is most picture lights require an electrician to install the hardwiring.

That’s pricey and, honestly, the long term commitment of a hardwired light isn’t ideal. (I like to change art around our house a lot because apparently that’s what a girl with ADHD likes to do, ya know? 🙃)

Over the last year though, Robert and I have found two different DIY-able ways to install a wireless picture light without any need for an electrician or complicated installation.

You can easily mount one yourself in 30 minutes or less to make any piece of art look like a masterpiece while also adding extra ambience to a room with wall lighting.

Two Ways to Install a Picture Light Without Hardwiring

Plug In Art Lighting

When we did this home office lounge area makeover a few months ago, I wanted to make the art the star of the show on this big wall while also functioning as a bedside lamp for that leather sofa that converts into a bed for guests.

office lounge leather sofa with plug in picture light above art

Sources | Home Office Setup Quick Tips to Improve Your Workspace + Office Reveal!


Step 1 – Mount Art First

Hang the art where you want it on the wall before installing the picture light so you know exact the placement you need. (It’s usually best to hang art 60 inches from the center of the art to the floor.)

installing a picture light above a piece of art and wrapping cord in cord covers

Step 2 – Screw Plug In Picture Light Above Art

Place the plug in picture light so that it’s centered on your art and mark its placement on the wall with a pencil.

Remove the art from the wall. Use the screw kit that comes with the art lamp to hang it to the wall where you marked. Use a level, if necessary.

Step 3 – Wrap the Cord With a Cord Cover

Decide what outlet you will use to plug in the picture light.

Wrap the light cord with a cord cover, pull the backing away from the adhesive strip on the back of the cord cover. And press the cord cover to the wall, making sure it is perpendicular with your art.

Use a level, if necessary, to check that the cord cover is placed correctly.

installing a picture light above a piece of art and wrapping cord in cord covers

Step 4 – Paint the Cord Cover

To help disguise the cord cover, use an angled sash brush to paint it the same color as the wall so that it will blend into the wall.

art light above art with cord stuck to wall below

That’s it! No electrician necessary to add a cozy ambience.

We used additional cord covers under the TV above this home office’s coffee bar area. (We’ve used cord covers in our own house too as one of our little tricks to hide the “ugly stuff”.)

art with picture light above a home office lounge sofa with coffee bar table and TV

Wireless Picture Light

If you don’t have access to an outlet though, the other way to install a picture light without hardwiring is by using this battery powered remote control picture light.

It’s one of my favorite wireless lighting finds from Amazon that you can use basically anywhere.

You can even use the remote to set a daily timer, choose your brightness, and select daylight or soft light. (I like adding Rub n Buff to the plastic casing on the light so that it looks more vintage.)

setting timer with a remote on a wireless picture light

Step 1 – Follow the Enclosed Guide to Screw Wireless Picture Light to the Wall

Okay, this method really doesn’t need “steps”, but this wireless picture light comes with an easy to install template so that you can just place screws exactly where you need to on the wall above your art.

Step 2 – Set the Timer and Remote Settings

Decide how long and at what brightness level you want the picture light to be on each day. I prefer the soft light setting with a slightly yellow hue so our room feels warm and inviting. How long you choose to have the picture light on each day will determine how often you need to change the batteries.

I usually have ours on in the evenings from 6:00pm – 9:00pm, and the batteries have to be changed around once a month. (Use rechargeable batteries.)

gold wireless picture light above framed art prints in a hallway

Favorite Plug In and Wireless Picture Lights

Besides the ones we used, these are a few other art lights I’d recommend that don’t require hardwiring.

picture lights with no need for hardwiring graphic

(Click any image in the gallery below to shop.)

Have you ever used picture lights before? They really do add so much for so little. And art deserves time in the spotlight anyway.

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  1. I think this is a fantastic idea. What a nice way to spotlight a dark picture/space. Thanks for this wonderful idea.

  2. Hi Lauren,
    What an amazing idea! I ordered the light, but would love to know what color rub’n buff you used?

  3. Thanks for the tutorial and the confidence to move forward with this project. I have a darker print that I’d like to brighten and make a focal point. Question- should I match the finish of the lamp/light to the frame of the picture or does that really matter? It looks like you did that on the one in the study room. Just making sure bf I proceed. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Shelly. My lights do match the frames. However, I think it is all based on preference. I think they help enhance the fluidity of the look for them to match.

  4. Hi Lauren

    I love your blog and all of your ideas.
    I wanted to ask a question about art
    Prints. I currently have a set of 15 vintage art prints. I would like to replace the blue prints with prints in black or brown tones.
    Have you ever taken colored prints and had them printed in a single color ?
    Also do I have to have the prints on a digital format if I want to print them as 11×14 vs 8×10?


    Holly Bullard

  5. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a remote controlled art light! I have a den that I don’t use often, but walk past constantly. A light on a timer would be perfect to make it look a little more cheerful.