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A Step-by-Step Designer's Guide on How to Hang a Swag Light

Looking to add a touch of sophistication to your interior decor? Installing a swag light can be the perfect way to create structural, ambient lighting for any room. With these simple steps, you'll have your own stylish swag light hanging in no time!

When to Use a Swag Light: Regular Light Fixture Versus A Swag Light

First, let's tackle the question, "what is a swag light?" This type of lighting has a cord, typically decorated with a chain that hangs from a mounted hook attached to the ceiling. Some swag lights plug into the wall and others are like pendant lighting that can "swag" over in placement.

A regular light fixture is suitable for rooms where a single source of diffused light is desired, such as the kitchen or bedroom. In comparison, a swag light is often the ideal choice for larger rooms with higher ceilings or in a space that has a light hook up that's off center from the furnishings. Its design allows it to be hung lower, making it easier to control shadows in the room. Swag lights also create a more dynamic look that can add character and flair to any space.

Find the Perfect Location: Consider lighting placement and height.

When hanging a swag light, the location is key! Select a place in your room where the light will best illuminate the desired area. Often for clients, we will utilize a swag light to shift lighting over a dining table or in a breakfast nook. Consider practical matters such as height and placement – you don’t want your light directly above seating, as this can be too bright and potentially cause a bumping hazard for taller guests. Typically, you'll want to hang the swag light around 6ft from the floor for optimal lighting distribution. For added flexibility, you may also want to install a dimmer switch for adjustable lighting options.

Find the Right Hook: Not All Hooks Are Created Equal

Since all swag lights need to be mounted from a hook - we need to talk about how to source the right kind of hook for your light. First thing that needs to be assessed is whether or not your light has a chain or is just a wire. Many lights have a chain which means that most hooks will work for mounting. You can find options from your local hardware store or on Amazon. Some hooks are much more decorative and ornate but make sure that it can manage the weight of your light. Do NOT use a hook that just screws into the ceiling as they cannot bear much weight. A proper, heavy-duty hook is recommended to ensure your swag light has adequate support and will keep things safe for your room!

For a swag light that only has a wire, this design typically means that the light is lighter in nature. The electrical source can not only supply the power but can hold the weight of the light. These types of lights can actually use a lower profile hook that has a much more modern look.

Another consideration when selecting your hook is the finish. I advise either matching the ceiling color or the light fixture finish. If you opt for a larger hook, it may look most natural to match the ceiling paint as it won't compete with the swag light design.

Hang Your Swag Light: Securely attach fixture chain to mounting hook, then hang your light!

Before placing your hook, verify that the chain will adequately reach from the power source to the light placement. If you want your chain to have some slack so it hangs gracefully, you also need to factor that length before mounting your hook. Some manufacturers are able to send extra chain if you need more allowance for your light placement, so reach out to the retailer if your light needs some extra distance. For lights with just a wire, it often looks best to have the wire tacked with two hooks that will keep the wire adjacent to the wall/ceiling.

After mounting the hook in the proper location, hang your swag light by carefully feeding the chain ends through the eye screws and securing the tension on both sides. For extra precaution, you can use a leveler tool to precisely tune your ceiling mount.


A swag light is a non-traditional way to up your lighting game and now you should feel equipped to hang your own! Have other lighting questions? Let us know in the comments how we can help.




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