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The tiniest tweak can throw your light setup off balance. Perhaps you decided to scoot the dining table a little to the right, as designer Jaclyn Peters did. Maybe you shifted the opening of a doorframe, as did Cathy Poshusta. When you disrupt the layout of a room that was designed around an existing pendant, the only way back to symmetry is to call an electrician and re-hardwire the fixture in a new location. Right? Wrong. 

Poshusta guesses calling in an electrician to rewire her laundry room would have cost anywhere between $300 and $600. It’s understandable that she and her husband decided not to cut a giant hole in their gorgeous beadboard ceilings and, instead, swag the thing themselves for $13 (the cost of their brass ceiling hanger). Hanging a light off-center from its junction box is a good excuse to refresh your space. (Renters, take note: You can easily pull off this same relaxed approach with a plug-in version.) Poshusta breaks down the full how-to on her blog, but here are three crucial steps worth jotting down.

Step 1: Figure Out the Right Height

It’s as easy as holding up a tape measure and eyeballing how far down from the ceiling you want the fixture to hang (it’s helpful if you have another person around for this part). Poshusta and her husband found their sweet spot at 36 inches from their 10-foot ceilings, but that’s not to say you couldn’t go way lower. Lynda Gardener, the designer behind the Estate Trentham, brought an oversize industrial lantern all the way down to the sofa in a sitting room, giving herself enough slack on the rope cord to add a charming loop at the top.

Step 2: Customize Your Chain

In order for her chain to have enough give, Poshusta gave herself an extra 2 feet of wiggle room to play with, so thetotal length came to 60 inches. “It depends on how far away your junction box is and how much chain you want to drape,” she explains. If you’d rather not see the wiring wrapped around the chain, check out Diane Keaton’s first-ever lighting collection, which features both pre-hardwired chains and ropes

Step 3: Install the Hook

Pre-drill a small hole in the ceiling where you want to suspend the light. In Poshusta’s case, she was able to simply twist in the hook by hand (she was confident that the solid-wood ceilings were strong enough to support the fixture), but most likely you’ll want to secure it with a screw anchor. A+ for asymmetry. 

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