Centering a Fixture With an Off-Center J-Box
Our expert, Randall Whitehead, IALD, gives some options for making the best of an off-center situation over a dining table.
 
The center light in our dining room is not over the table because we now have a large shelving unit against the wall. What suggestions do you have regarding lighting over the table?
This is a challenge, because moving the existing junction box might be tricky. Anytime you have an electrical connection made, it needs to be housed in an accessible box, as per code. For example, if the fixture over the dining room table is 12 to 18 inches off center because of the wall unit, a cover plate would need to be installed over the old junction box when the wiring is extended to the new fixture location. This is not very attractive. In order to avoid this, an electrician would need to pull new wiring that is long enough to go from the existing switch or dimmer to the new fixture location. If the ceiling joists are going in the right way, it is pretty easy to pull new wiring with a minimum of fuss. If the joists are going in the wrong direction, the electricians can use a technique where they cut a ¾-inch-wide slot in the sheetrock and loop the Romex under the joists. They cover the slot with a narrow metal plate, which is then plastered over, meeting code. Here’s another, less-involved option. Depending how far off the new fixture location is from center, you could cover the old junction box with a large-enough plaster medallion or rosette (as in this photo). As long as the medallion is screwed in and not glued to the ceiling, it acts as overscaled junction box cover. These medallions come in all sizes and styles. An oval one might just be the ticket.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

A man cave/wine cellar? Are you planning to a lot of drinking alone? If so, then I'm in! You want to add four types of lighting here, just as you... read full story
Thank you for your very detailed question. I'm glad that you're using LED linear lighting above and below the cabinets. As I mention in many... read full story
The rule of thumb is to have the shade part (luminous section) of the fixture even with your eye level. If you stand when at the vanity, then I would... read full story
Before LEDs came along, we were all using halogen. I used to add a color-correcting filter to make the light even whiter when trying to bring out the... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by CSL, Fanimation, Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and USA LED Lighting Solutions.   Wednesday, June 10, 2-3 p.m. EDT Register for this free CEU webinar by... read full story
Sponsored by Emerson, Ferguson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting. This free CEU webinar has already taken place, but you can watch the archived presentation on-demand by... read full story
Sponsored by Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and Spotlite-USA.   This live webinar has already taken place, but you can still view the presentation on demand by clicking... read full story

RL Tweets!