How To Shorten A Light Cord Without Cutting It


Long light cords can be inconveniences, requiring you to find a way to shorten a light cord without cutting it. Fortunately, we have you covered with a multitude of ways to shorten a light cord without ever having to cut it.

How do you shorten a light cord without cutting it? You can shorten a light cord many ways,  including these eight great ideas:

  1. Zip Ties
  2. Hook and Loop Straps
  3. Command™ Clips
  4. Staples
  5. Hiding Cords In Baskets
  6. Removing Links On A Chandelier 
  7. Using Shelf Brackets To Hang Lamps
  8. By Buying Shorter Downrods 

To find the best Light Cords, click here.

Each of these methods for shortening intrusive light cords will be discussed in further detail here. Included is a DIY method for making a hanging lamp that can be hung directly over your desk or bed without showing a bunch of intrusive light cord.

1. Zip Ties

If you have a light cord that is always getting in the way and presents a hazard, a quick fix to manage the cord is to use zip ties.

Using zip ties to shorten light cords is preferable to cutting the cord because it requires minimal craftsmanship and allows you to neatly loop excess cord without having to bunch the excess cord up, which can lead to damage.

This is also a good way to manage multiple cables if your light cord is among many other cables on your floor, such as the cable for a TV and the cable for a gaming console. 

You can find a 100 pack of Multi-Purpose Zip Ties here. These zip ties can come in handy for a multitude of purposes other than light cord management.

Single Cord Management 

In order to use zip ties to reel in some of your excess light cord:

  • Start off by forming a loop in the light power cord by using the over-under technique described in this video over properly wrapping audio cords.
    • Wrap as much extra cord as you wish to shorten the trip hazard
  • There are several different ways you can use the zip tie to handle the loop you just formed.
    • You can place the zip tie around the center of the loop you just formed and lay the loop on a surface next to the power cord
    • You can form a loop and then zip tie it to a leg on a table or desk

Multiple Cord Management 

If you are using zip ties to manage multiple power cords and cables, you can use the following technique:

  • You will start with an open zip tie and wrap it around the cables and cords you have
  • Take one (1) zip tie and wrap it around all of the cables. Only pull it until the first click.
  • Then separate each different cord by pacing a zip tie between each cord, only pulling zip ties until they are close to tight, but not so tight that you can’t move the first loop you made
    • These zip ties will be looped around the first zip tie you used (the one looped around all the cables)
  • Once you are done making the separator loops, you can pull the main loop tight and then clip the tails off the zip ties
  • Repeat this process as often as you wish for the entire length of the cords
  • To shorten the length of the cords, you may consider forming loops at the ends like is described above in the single cord management technique.

2. Hook and Loop Straps

The hook and loop type straps are easily adjustable. Any alterations you make can be adjusted with minimal effort on your part.

You can find various different kinds of hook and loop type straps available:

Hook and loop type straps can be utilized in the same fashion you would use zip ties to shorten an excessively long light cord.

You can loop the excess cord and keep the loop together using one of these hook and loop straps. The advantage of the hook and loop straps is that they are reusable and easy to adjust.

The only potential downside with these straps is that they might lose some of their adhesive power over time.

3. Command Clips

You may also consider shortening light cords by running the cord through Clear Command™ clips

You can adhere the clips to a variety of smooth surfaces, including the back of furniture or walls behind furniture. It is recommended by the manufacturer that you prep the wall with isopropyl alcohol before hanging the command clips.

To shorten the light cord, you can form small loops such as the ones seen in this article. This will also help the light cord be a snugger fit within the clips.

The benefit of the plastic clips method for shortening your light cord is that it doesn’t require too much work, and it is always easy to adjust.

The clips also keep the cord off the floor, where it can become a tripping hazard.

4. Staples

If you have a desk lamp, you may also consider the option of shortening and concealing a lamp cord by stapling it to your desk.

This is also a very affordable DIY project since a stapler is an item that you likely already have lying around your office or home.

You can shorten the light cord by forming loops along the way. Just be careful not to puncture the cord while you are stapling away.

5. Hide Light Cords In A Stylish Woven Basket

You can hide your excessively-long light cords in a stylish woven basket such as this Honey-Can-Do Double Woven Storage Chest.

This method is most useful if you have multiple cords for different fixtures and a wireless router that you would like to hide.

A woven basket can be a nice addition to your living room, especially if it helps you hide unsightly cords and wires. 

You probably won’t have to make modifications to your woven basket in order for this to work, as is shown in this Country Living article. 

Start by feeding in some of the light cord through the back of the woven box lid.

You may consider keeping cords organized by making a loop of some of the cord and tying it together using either a zip tie or hook and loop straps mentioned earlier in this article. You can also hide a wireless router within the woven basket.

This method works well for lamps on nightstands or lamps on tables that are against the wall. You can conceal the wires coming out of the back of the basket lid by keeping the woven basket against the wall.

6. Remove Links in The Chain of a Hanging Lamp or Chandelier

You can shorten a light cord by removing one or more of the links in the chain if the cord is a light-gauge chain link, according to Popular Mechanics.

If you don’t know what a light-gauge chain looks like, this 11-gauge light chain would be easier to operate on than a thicker gauge chain such as a 9-gauge light chain. If the chain is of a heavier gauge, you may need to use a bolt cutter to cut links in the chain cord.

If the chain is of a lighter gauge, though, you should be able to pry open the links in the light chain.

How to Remove Links From The Chain of a Hanging Lamp or Chandelier 

If you have a chandelier or a hanging lamp, changing the length of the chain holding the light from the ceiling is easier than you may think.

The tools you will need for this project include:

  • Two (2) pliers, which can be either needle-nose pliers such as this one or channel-lock pliers such as this one
  • A screwdriver 

Changing the length of the chain involves the following steps:

  • Begin by turning off the power to the light fixture at the breaker box
  • Set up two ladders near the light fixture
    • It is recommended that you enlist the help of an assistant to hold the light fixture while you work, particularly if the fixture is on the heavy side
  • Locate the splits in one of the links you are removing.
    • Each link in the chain has a split in the middle where the two sides of the loop come together
  • Grab one side of the split with one pair of pliers and the other side of the split with the other pair of pliers
  • Twist the pliers in opposite directions until the link has been opened
  • Maneuver the opened link off the chain
  • Repeat this process with as many links as you wish to remove
  • When you are finished removing links, connect the chain together by using the pliers to connect the separated links
  • Now you will have an excess length of power cord dangling
  • To take of the slack out of the power cord, carefully unscrew the canopy from the ceiling using a screwdriver 
  • Neatly wrap the excess cord inside the canopy rather than stuffing it inside the space
  • Screw the canopy back into place

It is important to keep the power cord longer than the chain hanging from the ceiling in the case of a chandelier or other hanging light fixture. This is because you want the light chain to bear more of the weight than the light cord.

Still, this is a quick and easy method for shortening a light cord on a chandelier without having to cut the cord.

7. Using Shelf Brackets To Shorten Hanging Lamp Cords

You may have to be creative to shorten the cords for hanging lamps. 

Fortunately, others have had similar experiences with hanging lamps and have come up with unique ways to conceal and shorten the sometimes unsightly cords associated with hanging or pendant lamps.

One way that you can add a little character to your bedroom while shortening unsightly hanging lamp cords is to hang the lamp from a shelf bracket, as is recommended by Bob Vila.

This setup works excellently for someone who is looking for a quality reading lamp. You can hang the lamp directly over your bed or over your desk within your home office. You can find a multitude of shelf brackets online, including this Rustic State Palma Wood Bracket. 

A wood bracket has a nice rustic look. You can complement the rustic look of the shelf bracket by using a vintage style pendant light such as this one. You can even make your own shelf bracket, as is shown in this video for making a DIY shelf bracket light.

The materials you will need include:

  • A compatible light bulb and light cord setup such as this Vintage Bulb Cord pendant light
  • Nails
  • A circular saw
  • A hammer
  • A long piece of wood that is ½ inch x 1.5 inches
  • A level

The steps you will take to make the light will include:

  • Use a pencil to mark out the following lengths of wood pieces: 10 inches, 11 inches, and 8.5 inches
  • Using a saw, cut out the 8.5 inch and 11-inch pieces by making a straight cut
  • The 10-inch cut will be the support beam in the bracket. Cut this out with the saw by making a 45-degree angle cuts on both sides of the piece of wood
  • You may consider adding a stain to the wood using a product such as RUST-OLEUM Danish Oil.
  • The 11-inch section will be the vertical arm against the wall, the 8.5-inch section will be the horizontal arm, and the 10-inch section will be the support beam
  • Use a hammer to nail the sections together to form a shelf bracket
  • Using a sharp knife, form inserts on the front and back of the arms for the light cord to be fed through
  • Line the shelf bracket up on the wall, using a level to make sure that it is straight
  • Hammer the shelf bracket into place against the wall
  • Next, feed the cord and lamp through the inserts on the shelf bracket

Rather than making your own shelf bracket, you can go through a similar set of steps where you drill holes in a shelf bracket that you can then feed the light cord through before attaching the pendant cord at the end.

Either way, this unique idea for using a hanging lamp will give you limitless options when it comes to designing your reading or office space.

You can also shorten and help support the light cord by looping the light cord around some kind of a clip that you have installed against the wall underneath the shelf bracket holding the light.

8. Buy A Shorter Downrod

If the entire light fixture hangs down too low for comfort, you can always change out the downrod that is holding the light fixture.

The downrod in a light fixture or ceiling fan fixture is a metal pipe of some sorts connecting the light or light and fan motor to the mounting hardware keeping the fixture attached to the ceiling.

The purpose of the downrod is to stabilize the fixture and prevent excessive wobbling from taking place. There is a good chance that the manufacturer of your light fixture makes shorter downrods.

Retailers of ceiling fans, such as Del-Mar Fans & Lighting, report standard downrod sizes ranging from 2 inches to 10 inches in length. These are suitable for standard-sized rooms with a ceiling height ranging from 8-9 feet.

You can find differently-sized downrods for your light fixture online, including pendant kits like this one if your fixture happens to be a pendant lighting fixture.

The kit provides you with a variety of choices for altering the height of the pendant light model it is designed for. You can adjust the height of your fixture to 6, 12 or 18 inches below the ceiling.

It is recommended that you always check to see that any downrods you buy are compatible with the specific model of light fixture that you are looking to make the alteration on.

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