How to Install Easily Removable Track Lighting While Renting

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Track lighting is a simple way to drastically improve the look of your apartment. Rooms that were once flooded with standard boring lighting will be given a much more moody atmosphere. The best part is that this method doesn’t involve tapping into the electricity in the wall, so you can install it in literally any apartment. When you’re ready to move out, you patch a few nail size holes and it’s like you were never there.

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Step 1. Here’s the plan – we’re going to alter the track lighting to use a standard wall outlet or socket plug (as you often find in the closet). We can make use of this crazy As Seen On TV lightswitch to turn it on and off. You can find links to all these things at the bottom of the article. Let’s start by unpacking everything.

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Step 2. You can make use of any kind of professional track lighting, but we’re going to do this the cheap way and use the IKEA stuff. Bend it out the way you want it, and then or nail holes in the ceiling where you want the anchors to be. I recommend using wall anchors and screwing the mounts in. Once the mounts are in, hang your track.

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Step 3. Attach the lights along the track. Once the sockets are in place, pop the bulbs in. Make sure they’re screwed tightly in place.

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Step 4. Here comes the scary part. Chop the socket end of the electric cord and strip the ends to expose the wires. If you want to hang the circular unit that came with the track lighting like you’re “supposed to,” that’s the only cut you have to make. I think it’ll look better if we hide that thing in the closet, so go ahead an cut the extension cord in half and strip those ends. You should now have one piece with exposed wires on both ends, and one piece with a plug on one end and exposed wires on the other.

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Step 5. There’s a cable coming from the circular device. Cut it in half. Open the device and take note of the black and white exposed wires.

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Step 6. Attach the “plug” piece of extension cord to the black and white wires. Use electric tape to seal the wires so they’re no longer exposed. Make sure each twisted pair DOES NOT come in contact with the other.

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Step 7. Use the other piece of extension cable (with both ends exposed) to bridge cable we cut from the circular device. It’ll serve the same purpose as before we cut it, but now it’ll be much longer. This will give us some distance so that we can place the the device out of sight rather than mounting it on the ceiling. Use electric tape to seal the wires so they’re no longer exposed. Again, make sure each twisted pair DOES NOT come in contact with the other. When that’s all set, screw the top back onto the device and attach it to the track the same way you did the lights.

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Step 8. If you’re going to use a socket, screw in the adapter. Plug the HandySwitch outlet pack into the outlet and plug the track lighting into the pack.

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Step 9. Put the battery into your HandySwitch and flip it! The lights should turn out. If they don’t, retrace your steps. Is everything screwed in tightly? Are your blubs in? Is the wiring all connected properly? Once everything is working, mount that switch on the wall.

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Additional Tips

  • Read the entire article over once to make sure you know what you’re doing.
  • Measure twice, cut once. Make sure you have enough cable to go around.
  • DON’T TOUCH LIVE WIRES. Make sure nothing is plugged in while you’re messing around with the wiring.
  • Cover all the wires with electric tape. Don’t leave any exposed.
  • Don’t let the twisted pairs of wires touch eachother. This could damage your entire setup.
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