Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 6: Non-electrical lighting updates

I don't want to spend time and money updating a landlord's house.  I do want to like my home though, so working with what is here, these simple projects changed my perspective on my dated lighting.

Updating 35-year-old light fixtures can be done without a big budget or electrician, and even without asking your landlord.  Only one of the updates is permanent (painting the chandelier), and all were fun and easy.  

Layer up with a new shade.
$4:  This old metal desk lampshade sits imperfectly on the glass bell-shaped sconce.

Update with vintage glass.
$2:  Pineapple-shaped globes add charm to the hallway.

Be intentional. 
$1:  Combine the utilitarian garage-style light with utilitarian accents like chicken wire.

Decorate the ceiling.  
Free:  Inspired by ceiling medallions, simple handwritten recipes lend some whimsy.

Take advantage of cool-to-the-touch fluorescent with paper decor.
The cost of 20 sheets of copypaper:  Hang paper over the light.
My kids and I had so much fun with post-Christmas winter decorating.
(Other ideas ... DIY wax paper/faux capiz shell chandelier,
recipes, book pages, pennant buntings, doilies ...)

 Splurge on an Edison bulb.
$8:  Like candlelight, the warm light sets a festive mood.

Cover the ugly light.
$3:  Hang a shade using cup hooks screwed into the ceiling.

Paint it black.
Free:  The center spindle was a dark stained wood, but matches the wrought iron now.  
(Some landlords might care if you paint their 35-year-old chandelier spindle;
I wouldn't paint a chandelier a bright color or totally change its look without asking.)

It helps to take some ownership of a house even if its a temporary address.  For less than $20, these updates have given me a brighter outlook on my house because being creative naturally means being positive and productive.  

Working With What You Have link up at
Emily A Clark


  1. luv all those tips.
    Through the years in homes we've rented, my husband (who was in the electrical field for a time), would switch out old light fixtures for ones I either thrifted or bought used. When we would move, he would wire the old ones back and we'd take ours with us. It was a nice way for us to have some lighting that was ours:)

    1. So nice!!! I'm sure I won't pass up a great thrifted light fixture in the future and we'll swap it out too. I just wonder if in the exhaustion of moving, if I'd just look at it and sigh that it stays, rather than re-doing the old light.

      We changed out one light here (the kitchen pendant) and it took us so long. My husband has done a few light fixtures before, but this one was such a pain (he scraped his knuckles getting everything in, and I sat in the sink with the pendant on my head), that I just wanted things I could do easily.

      But, every rental situation is different and in a different house, I'd probably do what you've done too.

  2. Hello I am visiting via the Nester's 31 days series. Your series is so inspirational and provides great solutions.
    I too am participating in the series. My topic is "Decor To Adore~ finding your style". I would like to invite you to stop by anytime.

    Have a beautiful day and a wonderful fall season.

  3. Thanks Laura! Your topic sounds very fun ... I'm heading over there to read right now. :)