Inexpensive light fixture

I was building my home office in my basement when I encountered a problem. I wanted a lamp to light my desk, but I also wanted to keep it off my desk and mount it to the wall or ceiling. I wanted an industrial, utilitarian look, which was hard to come across while I was looking through the various hardware stores in my area. The lights I did like were hundreds of dollars, and since I was just starting this new company and quitting my nice, stable job, I couldn't justify the purchase. Instead, I chose to build my own. The result is exactly what I wanted and cost right around $20 (which didn't include the Romex, wire nuts, and various fittings most home owners should have lying around).

Above you'll see the finished product. You can see its fairly basic. A bit of 1/2" conduit attaches to a 90 degree corner, which then attaches to a utility box.

The lights themselves are the world's most basic work lamps. They initially had large metal clips on them for clipping onto various surfaces, but I stripped those off. The plug was cut off, and the wire run through the 90 degree corner to attach to the Romex as well as the other light's cord. I bought the lights from the clearance bin at Lowe's. They were just over $1 a piece.

This is the outlet that the whole assembly plugs into. The plugs on the right are obviously standard electrical outlets, and the dimmer switch on the left controls the output of the work lights above. Dimmer switches can be expensive (I got a nicer one than I probably needed), but you can find them for less than $10 easily. Obviously you don't even need a dimmer switch if you don't want one. A standard switch works just as well. You also don't need the outlets on the left, but they are really, really handy.

You can see the whole desk here with the light on. Obviously the monitor is in the way in this photo, but rest assured that when I'm sitting down working, the dimmer switch is close enough that it can easily be controlled from a seated position. The power outlets are also nice to have so close. The conduit on the bottom of the unit goes down to even more outlets below the desk.

Here's a better show of how the unit fits on my desk. The desk is an old-school architect's desk that came with the house. It's huge, old, worn-down, and beautiful. I love this desk.

I hope that this brief tutorial helps someone else out there in need of some lighting, but who doesn't want to spend hundreds on a simple wall-mounted light.

Please note: All images are linked to larger versions of the same image.