IKEA Lighting Hack

Dining Table Lit by CFL Pendants (Including IKEA Ordning Lamps)

When we lived in New York City, we had these awesome cable lights with hand blown glass pendants and, in the middle in the picture left, an awesome little beaded center piece lamp over our living room table.

One goal of the remodel was to make sure that we had a place for the pendants to finally hang again after being in boxes for the past decade.

The glass pendants are hung above the bar between kitchen and living room and the bead shade was hung over the kitchen table.

But the shade was too small to hang by itself. Thus, we needed additional fixtures.

At first, I soldered a couple of stiff copper wires to the bottom of some 12v MR16 compact fluorescent lamps. Plenty of light, but obviously not terribly pleasant to look at a couple of random bare bulbs hanging about.

I have always been enamored by the cheese grater light fixtures in That 70s Show.

As we were heading to IKEA for other reasons, we decided to poke about the kitchen accessories area to see if anything Light Fixture-esque struck our fancy.

Christine found some ORDNING stainless steel cutlery caddies that seemed pretty close to ideal.

Cheap, too.

IKEA Ordning Based Lamps

So we grabbed a couple and I picked up some silver lamp cord from the local hardware store.

Assembly was trivial:

  • Solder ends of lamp cord to ends of lamp
  • Tie not in lamp cord just above lamp
  • Feed lamp cord through center bottom hole of ORDNING
  • Solder stiff copper wire to other end of lamp cord at desired height
  • Bend copper wire in a hook to hook over suspended power cables

The end result is clean, simple, and provides great light. Better yet, the interior of the ORDNING has wonderful concentric rings from the machining process.

The blue light at the top of the cabinets is from blue LED rope lights that extend across the top of all cabinets.

Deprecated: link_pages is deprecated since version 2.1.0! Use wp_link_pages() instead. in /srv/www/friday/bbum/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4713

14 Responses to “IKEA Lighting Hack”

  1. Jason Rusoff says:

    I think the MR16’s are halogen, not compact flourescents. Not nearly as efficient, but they throw a great light and can be dimmed, unllike CF. I love making lamps. It’s just too galling to spend $400 for a fixture that you can make it for $50. And it’s fun to create stuff out of found objects. You might consider drilling some holes in the top of your new fixture, to help release heat. And Ikea has some great light fixtures, as long as you are looking for very low wattage stuff.

  2. bbum says:

    They are definitely CFLs. I should take a picture of the inside of one as it is amazing how Feit Electric packed everything into such a little package.

    MR16 is the standard designation for the shape of the lamp. You can get LED, Incadescent, CFL, and Halogen MR16 lamps.

    MR16 have a pin spacing of 5.3mm and, thus, are also called GU-5.3 lamps. However, GU-5.3 refers only to the pin spacing, and not the lamp shape.

    I’m quite terribly sure of this as I have spent days hunting down a GU-5.3 LED lamp that is not in an MR16 package. I have found an E-12 based lamp (screw in, US candelabra sized, base), but not a 12v GU-5.3 base.

  3. annbb says:

    Well, they look damn good!

  4. Liz Gilbert says:

    They look great. We mess around with light all the time here. Really into LEDS & phosphorescent paint .

  5. jason rusoff says:

    Well I learned something new today. I had never seen any CFLs other than an edison screw type base. Where can I find these MR16 CFLs? I want to play with ’em. And I love reading your site. Thanks for spending the time to keep it interesting.

  6. bbum says:

    You can find ’em at Home Depot. It seems that Feit Electric is the only company making ultra-compact CFL’s in the MR16 12v or GU10 120v form factor. Cost runs around $7-$9 / lamp. Very efficient, but take 10 – 15 seconds to warm up (which I prefer, actually, as it is less harsh on my eyes to go from 0 to photonic in a bazillasecond).

    http://www.1000bulbs.com also has compact CFLs, but only with GU10 bases. They are significantly longer than the typical MR16 lamp and will likely extend beyond relatively standard GU10 based track lighting fixtures. 1000bulbs.com also has GU10 nad MR16 LED lamps, but they are super-spendy and relatively large.

    I really ought to write up an extended blog post about everything I have discovered while researching lighting. The reality of modern lighting is… unpleasant.

  7. Jesse says:

    These look great, I love making things into lamps. What did you use for that extremely bright blue effect back there? Or is it a long exposure?

  8. bbum says:

    Thanks. Blue LED rope lights…

  9. Paul says:

    You can definitely get the Feit at Home Depot, but you may not be happy with the quality. They have a long history of making products that do not stand the test of time and have poor quality.

    I know Dabmar has been successful with their MR16 CFL (emulates a 35 watt Incandescent).

    link to product : http://www.elightbulbs.com

  10. Affordable Lamps says:


    Very resourceful! Was the NY apartment small? I have a small apartment in Los Angeles and it has been almost impossible to light my small apartment because I have been using dark lamp shades. The cheese grater is such a good idea to get light going in all directions.

    There are a lot of great comments here by people who know lighting. Come check out my site: Affordable Lamps. We have some awesome modern lighting fixtures that I think would interest you bbum.


  11. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Make: Cable Light Connectors says:

    […] making my own low voltage cable light fixtures, I searched high and low for a little piece of hardware that would elegantly connect between the […]

  12. bbum says:

    These have since been updated to the fixtures to use MR-16 LEDs 3x3w CREE based lamps that emit about a 45 watt halogen equivalent. Absolutely beautiful light.

  13. Terri says:


    I’ve installed a few ikea cable light kits in my house. I decided I want to put up a new run, not using a kit this time, that will zigzag across the ceiling from one side of the room to the other at somewhere around a 45 degree angle, back to the other side of the room at 45 (or slightly greater) degrees again. I’m going to use uninsulated cable. I see a lot of expensive “rerouters” sold but I’m wondering if I can just pull the cable through an eyebolt instead. Does that seem like it would work? Would it do any harm if the eyebolts were conductive? I imagine I can find ones made from a non-conductive metal or coat them with something if necessary.

    Any advice (other than “buy my re-router”) would be more than welcome!

  14. bbum says:

    We had something similar in our apartment in New York where we had our original cable lights. When I first installed them, it didn’t work. The lights were dim or blinky. Turns out that the ceiling was built over the top of the original tin ceiling and my screws bit into the tin and shorted out the whole thing. A wooden spacer fixed that.

    As long as you are running low voltage and make sure that you aren’t accidentally shorting between the two lines, it should all work just fine. In fact, the lighting in the photo is anchored directly to the wall on either end with no attempt to insulate the end points.

Leave a Reply

Line and paragraph breaks automatic.
XHTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>