DIY: How To Make Your Own Hanging Decorative Lighting

Whenever I daydream or go on (one of my main sources of inspiration), I like to think that I’m an interior designer in another life. Without having much going on at the moment, I’ve been profusely gathering as much inspiration as I could for my DIY summer projects, but I still didn’t have the motivation to kickstart one.

Recently, an old friend of mine from high school, Derick Ong, asked if we could meet up when I’m back in Brunei. So I went to see him a few days ago at his photo shoot session for a client in Kiarong which I was spontaneously involved in. I had some spare time to myself before the meet-up, so I decided to go to Hokko and lurk around for fabrics (Hint: Teepee) and I ended up finding lanterns that come in different colours. I got a couple of white lanterns and then suddenly an idea popped in my head, “Why don’t I just use the lantern as a hanging lighting?” After all, I was in dire need of some warm, soft and edgeless lighting in my room and if you knew me well, you’d know how much I hate bright white light.

Don’t get me wrong, I love natural light and it always makes my pictures a lot better, but not the kind of light that comes off harsh from the bulb, and I unfortunately have white down lights installed in my room.

All right then, shall we begin?

Things you need for 1 lantern:

  1. A screw hook. (Note: I bought a bunch of hook screws for BND at Hua Ho Manggis Mall.)
  2. A medium-sized lantern. (Note: It’s about 11.5 inches in diameter. I bought mine at a price of BND3.00 at Hokko Kiarong)
  3. A light bulb. (Note: I used Phillips 25W E27 at a price of BND1.20 at Hua Ho Manggis Mall.)
  4. A light bulb socket. (Note: Make sure that it’s compatible with the light bulb you’re using. I bought an E27 light bulb socket at a price of BND0.80 at Hua Ho Manggis Mall.)
  5. A 5-metre electric outlet cord. (Note: It depends on how low or how high you want the lantern to hang from above the floor and you also need to consider where exactly you want to install the lighting. For example, if you want to install at an area that’s far away from the electrical socket, you might want to get a longer electrical cord. I bought an 8-metre of the cord at a price of BND0.60 per metre at Hua Ho.)
  6. A three-pin plug. (Note: A two-pin plug is fine as well. It’s all up to your preferences. I bought mine at a price of BND1.28 after 20% discount at Hua Ho Manggis Mall.)
  7. A good electric hand drill.

Before you start, check whether or not there is a joist above the ceiling area where you want to install your lighting. You can do this by knocking on the ceiling. If the knocks echo through, you’ll know that the space above the ceiling is hollow and it doesn’t have any joist. If it does have a joist, the knocks will sound firmer. You can try knocking on your whole ceiling but it would be a waste of time especially if you have already set your mind on installing your decorative lighting at the area where there isn’t any joist. Besides there is a way to do that. I’ll share the link at Step 4.

Step 1: Assemble #3 to #6 together. To assemble the items from #3 to #6 together, you can ask the electrician working at whichever hardware store that you pop in to do that for you. Usually they would do it for free if you bought all of the items at their store. I got mine done at Hua Ho and the electrician was nice enough to give me an extra meter of the electrical cord. If you felt like doing everything yourself, that would be great and there are tons of tutorials that can teach you how to install an electrical cord to a light bulb socket on one end and a plug on the other end. Once everything is assembled, put on the light bulb onto the socket. I personally think that using E27 is perfect for a medium-sized lantern because it’s not too huge but not too small either and it gives off the right amount of intensity for the bedroom.

Step 2: Expand the lantern. If you got a lantern from Hokko, it is flattened in the packaging but don’t worry, the packaging contains an instruction sheet and a metal wire to hold the inside of the lantern, so you shouldn’t find any problem expanding the lantern and making it look sturdy.

Step 3: Pass the electrical cord from the top of the lantern expander through the C section of the metal wire. With the light bulb attached to the light bulb socket connected to the electrical cord, pass the electrical cord through the C section. You might want to squeeze it through the top of the lantern so that you can hook the C section of the metal wire onto the electrical cord. Then put your newly assembled decorative lighting aside for later perusal.

Step 4: Install a hook screw on the ceiling. Be sure to make a mark with a pencil on the ceiling so that you know exactly where to drill. There are two methods to do this depending on whether there is a joist above the ceiling or not. Read here to learn how to do this.

Step 5: Place the electrical cord of the lantern and adjust the length of the cord over the hook on the ceiling until the lantern is at a desired length from the ceiling. Remember to be careful when doing this because you don’t want to pull the cord over the hook too hard or else you’d pull out the hook screw from the ceiling.

And there you have it, your very own decorative lighting!

Processed with VSCOcam with j2 preset

With very few steps, you’ll see that the possibilities are endless. The lighting is also good as a single source of light without the lantern itself, which you can also use in pairs, rows or even in clusters. This would add a very modern Scandinavian feel to your room.

If you ever attempted to do the project or perhaps made an improvisation of this, please feel free to e-mail me your pictures at or tag me on Instagram at @therustictrove. I would love to look how it turns out for you! I might even re-post your picture on my Instagram and even have it featured on this blog!

So I hope this was a good read for you all and this inspires you to make your own hanging decorative lighting. Nothing feels more fulfilling than to see that you can create something so aesthetically pleasing by yourself without having to pay a lot for it.

P.S. Oh Wonder just released this month’s single, ‘Landslide’, and I am absolutely in love with it!!

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